These trucks are hardcore armored. Contractors drive them and they pull supplies from base to base and from out of country to in country - anything tan is probably at least 1/2" thick iron. Kudos to the guys that drive these, else we'd miss out on some seriously needed supplies.
While I was in Iraq, I didn't have much of a combat related job most of the time, so I worked in a building doing stuff. This is the smoke deck outside the building, and this is a friend of mine after we got off work. We worked 12 hour shifts every day plus about 1 1/2 hours of turnover, making for a workweek of around 90 hours or so. Once a week we got a half day of 6 hours, I'd usually take this time to go to the internet center and check my email and drool over a new Canon 30D.
These are HESCO barriers. They're about 6 ft wide, (just under 2m) and they're basically a wire frame around a cloth sack that's filled with dirt. Simple, easy walls. They come in different sizes, but the down and dirty is that you could park a car with a bomb in it on the other side and blow it up and these would save a dozen lives. Still, once you live in a HESCO maze for 6 months, the last thing you want to see is another jersey barrier or HESCO wall.
MEDEVAC, quick in, quick out. Shortly after taking this photo, I walked back towards my can (living quarters) and saw surgeons sprinting towards the helo.
Probably off to save another life or lives. This was a constant job that the corpsmen took on, despite my long hours, nothing compares to the stress of the job those guys had.
Everyone needs a guardian angel, right?
I threw a tea bag in this bottle of water and put it up on my A/C unit before work, I had the chance to go see it midday as the sun was getting warm. Sunbrewed tea doesn't actually taste that good, it just looks cool.
Another break from the tedium of working. Sometimes being in Iraq actually gets boring and really becomes like groundhogs day, its easy to lose sight of what you're doing over there.
Knowing where the hospitals are on base is important, because sometimes HMMVWs come screaming in through the gates with critically wounded Marines in the back and there's no time to find directions. Every once in a while one of these flies by you as you walk to or from somewhere and its a constant reminder of what we're doing over there.
Another cool sticker. Unique combat humor.
Since we woke up around dawn and got off well after it got dark, a lantern came in handy for some leisure time to play cards and hang out. Nowadays, even Wal-Mart.com delivers to Iraq! Life there isn't so bad.
Gearing up for a day in the HMMVWs doing a little Iraqi terrain familiarization. For those of you that don't understand that, it's offroading for about 6 hours a day. This week was like a vacation in the middle of the deployment.
Seeing things like this so close to the holy land makes a swarm of locusts seem so much more devastating, I've never seen a grasshopper as big as my hand in America, that's for sure!
Another 03 (Infantry) heading out again. The funny suit hes wearing is a flight suit, Nomex material that can be exposed to flame for up to 9 seconds without burning or melting. These were a lifesaver in IED (Improvised Explosive Device) detonations that included lots of flame.
Testing the HMMVWs capabilities in its new environment. These are MAK HMMVWs, with a special armor package, anti-IED technology, upgraded turrets, stronger engines, and superchargers. Despite this, the extra 2000 or so lbs of armor made them a little sluggish and the dust and heat tore away at their service lives. Still, a blast to drive one.
A peek into the Vehicle Commanders seat. Plastic bags over the seats keep them from getting soggy when its wet out, and all the technology in there helps coordinate battlespace maneuvers.
Dust, dust, dust. All the time. The tires here mark the course that was set up to train the Iraqi Army, but we run through the obstacles all the time for fun and to keep up our offroading skills.
The Iraqis thought this was Khat, a drug that's prevalent in this area of the world. We explained it was just tobacco leaves and molasses, but they still tasted it and enjoyed some. This guy seemed a little crazy to me, he was always the first to try new things or talk to us.
Out in the parking lot, waiting for more Iraqis to visit the base.
Filled magazines. One with all tracers for night, the other ones with three tracers in the bottom and one every four after that. I got some hollowpoint rounds in Iraq but never had the chance to use them. And no, they're not against the Geneva Convention.
Iraq 176, 177