This herd of sheep drifted out every morning and came back home every night. Standing in a tower watching them was an interesting event, especially since once I spent 16 hours on guard - fully from dawn to dusk & more, and you can see the entire progression of Iraqi life - waking up, cleaning, washing, caring for the livestock, prayer, children to school & back, collecting things for use later in the day (sticks, brush for burning), then the returning of the flock and family time.
This was the guard shack, looking to the east. Most of Camp Fallujah was a barren wasteland of rubble from where we smashed whatever it was before we took over. It looks depressing for the most part, Marines prior to us spraypainted numbers on the building and started making signs out of anything, as you can see here.
This sign tells us something about how long we've been in Iraq. Initial signs were marker scrawled on MRE boxes, then spraypainted on plywood, now we have the time to draw lines and paint nicely.
In this photo, men stand in a line on the left, then they're cleared for weapons and scanned through the system to check for warrants, then they stand on the right of the barbed wire before they're taken back to their trucks and allowed onto the base to deliver wares and supplies. The heavily armed tower in the forefront is supported by backup marines, a gate, and is heavily armored, making the base impenetrable from frontal attack. This is probably why insurgents prefer to stand 5km off and lob poorly aimed mortars at the base.
From note 4, this is where men stand in a queue waiting to be frisked and scanned. They're allowed only to stand on the sidewalk while Marines patrol up & down watching for foul play. Bringing a pocket knife into this line is like suicide.
After a long day at work, when the Iraqis have come & gone from base, the new shift has come, we take our Kevlar helmets off and relax while we wait for word to jump in our HMMVWs and get back to our hooches for a few hours of sleep.
Helos - helicopters - are a primary means of transportation in Iraq. I'd rather take one of them than a roadtrip back to the airbase for our flight back to the states.
The sun over Omar's home. To the right here, you can see Omar's home as the sun sets.
There's a man in the tower for 24 hours a day and I'm sure at some point one of them gets bored and writes on the worktable. This is just an example of it - three years of 24 hour guard duty, and not much to shoot at lends to an increase in creative writing.
This is a WSC, a flare that shoots up like a firework from your grenade launcher. We used them to mark areas for observation or fire at night when we saw people trying to creep up on the wire.
The Marine at Gate 12 watches an AAV (Amphibious Assault Vehicle) pass by. Patrols of these kept our routes clear of IEDs and provided some serious firepower along highways.