Friday, March 27, 2009

27 Mar 09 - Another day

Good afternoon all,
Another warm and sunny day here in Iraq. The days are still blending together my dream now is to move south to my new home. I have been in a holding pattern for several days now waiting for the Air Force to move me and the rest of the guys. Hopefully next time I blog you it will be from southern Iraq. My time here is spent working from about 8:00 AM to about 8:30-9:00 PM most days. After that its a shower Odyssey. What I mean is the water temperature can change in a flush. You never know when your voice will change from Tenor to soprano. As far as where I'm located now it still amazes me what wealth and power will do.

There are man made lakes here, streets, houses on the water, palm trees, as well as guest houses and palaces. There is a palace for him, his son, and his mistresses (Called the perfume Palace). Rumor has it the lakes would be drained periodically and at one time there was a dolphin? Did I mention the lift bridge, and the house boats. The house boats are huge and look like a small scaled palace. Around the lakes there are piers to tie the boats up. All this power and wealth to create this oasis? If only the man had taken care of his people better. It's hard to understand the locals hating us when you see the personal corruption up front. It's even harder to understand when you look outside the walls and see the poverty. Although there are some that will say it's one thing to take down the Saddam government, it's another to replicate it with the U.S. government. The hatred towards us will be there for sometime but snapshots of this place will live with me forever. Just like the holocaust, the horrors that were committed here can never be forgotten. (Hopefully my new base Will have a way for me to download pictures to share)

My thoughts and prayers are with a soldier serving here with me and his family in Fargo. Two days ago his wife reported that she could see the recently created dyke through her window. The dyke then was for the 42 foot crest. Recent new stories here have the river cresting at 43 feet. His wife reported last night that all the elderly, and those requiring medical treatment were moved out of the neighborhood as a precaution. His high school daughter is filling sand bags during the day. Internet news in our office is locked down so he has to go to the dining halls (fancy word for Mess Hall) to catch news updates. The other option for him is here at the MWR. I can only imagine the thoughts going through his mind right now. So far from home, nothing you can do, and yet your family needs you.

On a personal note not sure what day it is now for me but I'm still not drinking my beloved Mountain Dew (since 2 Feb). I said it last time and I will say it again my glass is still half full. When I look at Cory and his family, or Jimmy and his cancer my problems are quite minor.

I want to thank all of you for keeping the armed forces and their families in your prayers. Knowing that you are all there for me, my family, and my soldiers gives me great comfort.

That is all,


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

25 Mar 09 - It could be worse

Afternoon from Iraq,
The other day I was feeling sorry for myself when a friend of mine shared a message from home, the message said:
Benefit for a Soldier from 1/194. A 24 year old Iraq War Veteran from Pillager SPC Jimmy Pint, was diagnosed with mixed Oligoastrocytoma (incurable) Brain Cancer. He has two children one is 2 and the other was born on Mar 3, 2009. His mother just found out that she also has cancer.

If your interested in helping out donations may be sent to:

James Pint Benefit
Mid Minnesota Credit Unit
P.O. Box 2907
Baxter, MN 56425

Acct 63099

I don't normally promote this kind of thing but for most of us deployed this type of thing hits to close to home. Hearing about this my problems were quite minor compared to what this kid and his family is going through. He was operated on in January, they were not able to remove all of the cancer. Please keep him, his family, and all the soldiers and thier families in your thoughts and prayers.

It just goes to show that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. When I'm done playing in the sand box I'll be going back home. Jimmys life will be forever changed and his outcome is unknown.

Hopefully the next time I post I will be in my new digs at Basra, Iraq. I'm really going to miss my tent and my 29 roommates.

That is all,


Friday, March 20, 2009

20 Mar 09 - My mistake

Afternoon everyone,
Another day in paradise. What a day it's been so far I was able to talk to my family this morning. Or should I say I talked to them at 9:30PM their time yesterday. You gotta love this time zone thing, and the daylight savings time. I talked to my wife today only it was yesterday for her? My son Josh is going to MORP (Prom spelt backwards) with his girlfriend. I wanted to be there for him, you know the fatherly advise thing. More than likely though I would have given him a good natured hard time. Instead I told him to have a great time and to get his date home on time. Susan is going to be there for pictures so I can at least see how well Josh cleans up.

The reason why I'm posting two days in a role is simple I need mail. Several days ago I posted the wrong address. It was right the day I posted it but today it's different(yes Patricia you were right). Just recently Basrah got it's very own APO address. APO is much like the zip code back home. The correct address in case your interested is:

SGM David Crotteau
10th Mtn/ ATTN: 34th ID (101)
Camp Basrah Iraq
APO, AE 09374

I hope that all is well back home. Did I mention it's about 80 hear and partly cloudy?

That is all for now,


P.S. Josh informed me I forgot a few bases. They were Camp Victory Iraq, Camp Liberty Iraq, and Camp Bondsteel Kosovo.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

19 Mar 09 - It happened again

I'm hoping today is 19 Mar 09. This morning when I woke up I wasn't quite sure. I did know another day had passed and I was one more day closer to coming home. The days of the week are blending together already and not because I'm old and somewhat forgetful (be careful Susan). Yesterday at about 2:00 PM (8:00 AM Minnesota time) I talked to my wife on her way to work. We agreed I would call her back this morning at 6:00 AM my time, which was last night (10:00 PM her time). It didn't work that way because I was up bringing soldiers home from the airport until after 1130PM. On top of that all 29 of us guys had to move out of our tent to a different one. So when I finally got back to the tent it was hit and miss trying to get my area set up and not wake the guy next to you. Did I mention the harder you try to be quiet the more noise you make? Needless to say when my alarm went off at 5:AM my time the alarm made some noise as it fell to the floor.

It's not that I didn't want to talk to her. It was more than likely the fact that I had to shave, put my uniform on and drive to a phone 1/2 mile away. However because of the guys I picked up, I had to escort them to breakfast and then have them report in for duty.

So like I said in my title "it happened again". My job found a way of coming between us. Was it avoidable, more than likely. Will it happen again, probably. Does it mean I love her less, hell no. What it means is we (Susan and Myself) just have to work harder to make it work. Looking back I am a little embarrassed that my butt was stuck in the infant position on my too small cot. I wanted to talk to her, listen to her voice, and picture her smile. Her voice smooths me, if I had a blood pressure cup on to monitor my blood pressure it would prove that she calms me. She makes this deployment go away for a short time and makes my sadness go away. Talking to her makes time stand still. I want to take her in my arms and tell her I'm sorry I missed our call, but she already knows that, She knows I'm doing the best I can with the time I have available. She also knows that her ability to understand my situation is another of many of why I love her.

Enough of the soft side of Dave. This morning in my office (Bathroom) I was thinking of my life, my love, and my home so far away. Since we have been married and before, I have been to the following Army bases for one thing or another in my almost 30 years:

Ft Leonard Wood, MO
Ft Jackson, SC
Ft Lee, VA
Ft Hood, TX
Ft Bliss, TX
Ft Chaffe, AR
Ft McCoy, WI
Ft Campbell, KY
Ft Irwin, Ca
Ft Sill, OK
PEC Little Rock, AR
Camp Shelby, MI
Not to mention hundreds of time to Camp Ripley, MN

Just name a few. Not to mention that I have worn 3 different uniforms, and several pairs of combat boots. Days like today I feel old and historical. But I know that what I do makes a difference. Whether it's the gate guard, cook, food server, bus driver, janitor or the soldier I make a difference. However the saying goes sometimes I bring joy when I enter the room other time it's when I leave. I guess it's up to tomorrows generation to use me know while they can, for tomorrow I may not be there. 30 years of wearing the uniform has me dreaming of a life a little closer to home with my wife by my side.

Tonight I ask that you say a prayer for the men and women serving in the Armed forces.

That is all,


Monday, March 16, 2009

16 Mar 09 - Liberty Base Iraq

Good afternoon all,
I'm finally in Iraq after a short stay in Kuwait (7 days). It's warm here already highs in the mid 70's to mid 80's. I'm not complaining yet but I will when it warms up. While in Kuwait I experienced a sandstorm (Equivalent to MN Blizzard) except sand gets in all the openings. Then there was a thunderstorm where it rained mud. Keep in mind after the sandstorm the air was filled with dirt when the rain came it turned to Mud. What a mess, and talk about slick roads.

On our way here we were also lucky enough to see camels in the dessert that were wild. But the real question is why were they fighting over this barren sand covered country? I know I wasn't the only one thinking those thoughts on our journey here.

Where I'm stationed currently (Bagdad) I'm living with 28 guys in a tent meant for 30. With me being a light sleeper I was worried at first. Lucky for me though there is a generator outside my tent as well as the air conditioner unit that never shuts off. The constant hum seems to drown out the people that snore or the occasional passing of bad air. I'm adapting well and can hardly wait to move south to our new home. The differences in temperature between here and there appear to be about 10-15 degrees warmer.

For those of you that are interested my new address after 30 Mar 09 will be:

SGM David Crotteau
10th Mtn G4/ ATTN 34th ID (101)
Camp Basrah
APO, AE 09375

For the record I'm dealing better with leaving my life behind. There are still some days like Aubreys 2nd birthday party that I wish I was there. But I'm going to be OK, and I will deal with what ever life deals me until I get home again. My wife Susan is my biggest supporter as well as my best friend. With out her support I would not be able to deal with this as well as I have. With that being said I also need to thank all of my family and friends that are checking in on my family during my absence. Neighbor Bob I wanted to thank you especially for snowplowing during the recent storms. Last but not least without all of you and your continuing support I would be lost.

The good news is another day gone and I'm one day closer to coming home.

That is all for now,


Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday March 13

Just wanted to let everyone know, that I heard from Dave this morning. He is doing great. He is now in Iraq at Camp Victory.

He is excited to get to work. That is where the unit they are replacing is at. As soon as their base in Basra is ready they will be moving there.

I expect to hear from him Saturday night. He wants to call and wish our granddaughter a happy 2nd birthday. Its hard to believe she is two already. I think that's the hardest for Dave is being away from her. She has figured out tho that to see grandpa she needs to go to the puter as she says. She loves talking to Dave and Jacki on Skype. Well that's all for now. Will post as I hear.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12 Update on Dave

I just thought I would update on Dave. I talked to him Wednesday morning, and he thought they would be moving to their next location. He wasn't positive, but thought it was a good chance. They will be at this new location until the base is set up in Basra. (I'm sure I spelt that wrong but oh well.) He sounded good but bored. He is anxious to get started doing the job he is sent there to do. Kuwait was just a transitional spot. He did say he experienced his first sand storm. I said well we're having a snow storm here. He thought that sounded better. I'm hoping to hear from him tonight. We'll see. It depends on where he is in his travels.

Thankyou to everyone following our blog. Your comments make Daves day. Keep them coming. It makes him feel so much more connected.

I'll post when I hear from him. Untill then take care.


Monday, March 9, 2009

9 Mar 09 - Marley and Me

Good Afternoon from Kuwait,
I'm here, and I am experiencing the heat. Today's temperature are expected to reach 85. Needless to say its hot during the day and about 55 at night. I'm sure those of you back home are saying that's not so bad. Your probally right with the combat boots on and my uniform it seems to be a comfy 90 at least. Were walking everywhere and loving it (not really).

Currently we are in a holding pattern waiting for a flight up to bagdad. We will spend some time there before we move down south. Right now we are living out of our duffle bags inside our lovely tent. When time permits I will update you with photos.

Yesterday we went to a movie called Marley and Me. Its about a family that gets a pup with personality. The dog is raised as well as raising the family who owns her. The dog helps the family raise the kids. Needless to say it ends with them putting the dog down. A real moral booster for my group. Not to mention it was danger close to being a chick flick. My family went through the same emotional issues when we put our dog Casey down last year. Marley and my dog Casey were both labs and shared some of the same personalitys.

More to follow my time on the computer is up! The USO allows you 15 minutes on the computer. It took me almost all of the 15 to log on and to type the message above. The reality is maybe its not me they are calling. There might actually be someone here name SGM Crewdeo! I doubt it though. Be good and be safe talk to you more later!

That is all!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday, March 8

Well I thought I would post and fill you in on what I've been up to. I have been keeping very busy, and spend a lot of time on the computer waiting to read Dave and Jacki's posts. That really is a highlight for me.

On the other hand what is not a highlight is Bella (our Labradoodle) came into womanhood if you get my drift. Do you know it last for 21 days?? We are on about day 14. Let me just say there is nothing like seeing a dog wear your granddaughters new training pants, with a hole cut for the tail. Needless to say I don't think Aubrey was impressed to give them up to Bella. Well just 7 more days to go.

On Saturday morning my mom arrived at our cabin to tell me Dave would be calling her house in 30 minutes. It was 8:00am and I was still in my PJ's. I was so excited I was ready to run out the door. I decided that maybe I should get dressed and put my jacket on. It was so good to talk to him. He was very tired and quite emotional. I know he will be fine, but it is very helpless on my end. All I can do is listen, but I can't fix, and that is very hard for me. I know that sleep deprivation does not help ones emotional status either. I am so happy he has the good friends he has there. I know everyone is going thru it, and its nice to know they are there for each other. On the upside text messaging has been very big for us. Its been a way for Dave and the kids to keep contact. Well Joshua figured out a way for us to send text to Dave's e-mail, and Dave to text us from his e-mail so I can still look forward to my little messages from Dave.

The kids are all doing great and are the best kids I could ask for. Joshua and I have been enjoying our time together and its really been great with him. He is really excited about Basic Training this summer. My mom and I are planning to go out and see him graduate. We are also planning to go to Arizona to see Jack graduate from her school. Thats in May, and I am hoping to make a couple trips to Chicago to see Darcie. So with everything I have planned hopfully the time will fly and Dave will be home. I hope the time goes as fast for him and all the soldiers on this deployment.

Well gotta go hopefully I will see or talk to some of you soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

7 Mar 09 - Day after Tommorrow

Good Afternoon from Kuwait,
Well we finally made it here after 26 hours of being in the plane. We left Ft Lewis on Thursday at 6:00 PM (8:00 PM Minnesota) after stopping in Kansas, Bangcr Maine, and Germany we arrived here on or about 1230 PM (3:30 AM Minnesota)Saturday morning. Did I mention it was hot herer? It is and after putting on sun screne I can honestly say I'm burnt already. I beleive the temperature here is about 85-90.

As far as the flight over goes it was a flashback for me. When I went to Kosovo I felt lonely, afraid and guilty all at the same time. On Thursday I again felt very alone, afraid, and guilty. I feal guilty because I'm leaving my family, my life, and my freinds behind. I know it's beyond my control but sometimes you can't control the emotions that you go through on a deployment. I miss my wife, my life, my family and my friends. The life I had at home is now officially on hold until my return next year. Every waking moment belongs to uncle Sam now, actually he owns the night too but hopefully I can sneak in a dream or two.

I know my message today might have some self pity in it. I'm sorry for that I'm sure it will get better from here. Each day I wake up brings me one day closer to coming home.

Last but not least my wife sent me a text that said I was lucky I got to marry my best friend. Susan I feel the same way, I thank my lucky stars that you said yes. You are my light at the end of the tunnel.

Until I get picture posted close your eyes and picture a sand box, add a tent and some trailers and thats where I'm living now.

That is all for now. The computer cops said my time is up.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

4 Mar 09 - Last Supper

Morning today is my last day at Ft Lewis. Sometime tomorrow I will be heading for greener pastures (Let me reword that to the sand box). Before I head across the ocean I wanted to share some pictures with you.

This picture is of the multi purpose Army Latrine in my office building. The reason why it's multi purpose is that Men and women both use the bathroom. Because of deployment rule 38 us guys do not have to put the seats down when we are done. Meaning we will have to be retrained when we get home. We have a two sided sign on the door that we flip over if it's occupied by males or females.

This picture is of the Logistics office suite (Suite sounds better cubicle farm). You can tell that the office doubles as a museum to house the outdated furniture that we have. Although talk on the street is that the furniture is original from when this building was built many, many years ago. Again we are thankful we are not in tents.

This is a picture of our "Red Bull Chapel". The church is a meeting place, and is used for all religious services. Of course there are other churches on base. This one is used primarily for the 34th ID chaplains. The last few nights activities there have been everything from Suicide prevention, meetings, financial counseling, letter writing classes, and church services.

This picture is from the second floor of our office building looking towards our barracks and mess hall area. The black fence is used during the exercise to replicate soldiers going on and off the FOB (Forward Operating Base). If the exercise was under way you would go through a check point to get on and off the base. To include personnel searches and vehicle inspections.

This is a picture of Mt Rainier in the distance. Because of the weather here you can only see the mountain on certain days. By road it's at least an hour to an hour and a half to get there. Keep in mind Mt Rainier is an active volcano. Tour guides will tell you it will blow any time in the next two weeks to 200 years. For some unknown reason I sleep well knowing that.

The next picture is one of me in one of my proudest moments so far. Unfortunately it may be the first of many for me. Last night the guys leaving on Friday were given an opportunity to go out for supper. By out for supper I mean to go to town. For all of us it was our first time off since the units arrival on the 13 Feb 09. We (Dave Crotteau, Chuck Madden, Cory Walock, Dennis Thoma, Dale Towle, Cheryl Townsend) went for pizza. Afterwards we went to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. Talk about party animals! Our time off went quickly, we were off base by 1830 (6:30 PM) and returned to the office by 2130 (9:30 PM). It was our last opportunity to go out and enjoy our freedom.

While out we went to Home Depot and bought some stress releases (Foam Pipe covers 4 feet long). The stress reducers are used to release tension by squaring off with the guy who you have an issue with. It's all done in the name of fun and it really works. Its our version of jousting. Anyway I hauled off and whupped one of my guys who was challenging me. Half way through my swing my feet came out from under me and down I went in the mud. Most of the guys who witnessed my sudden fall were doubled over laughing. In fact one or two of them might have even snorted? Lucky for me Chief Townsend had her camera ready when I walked in. I'm sure it was due to legal actions if I had been hurt.

I also wanted to provide a little language lesson for you in case you ever half to ask someone from Iraq the following questions:

What direction? ib-ay iteejaah?
Stop! ogaf!
Drop your weapon! Thib slaaHak!
Do you need medical attention? treed musaa'ada Tibeeya?

These are just a few of the phrase we had to learn. Trust me it's not as easy as it looks. I will resume postings when I get to the desert. Until then keep me, my soldiers, and their families in your prayers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3 Mar 09 - Happy Birthday Susan

Morning from Dave's World,
I just wanted to say Happy Birthday Susan! In 1987 we were married, and in 1988 we celebrated your birthday for the first time as man and wife. It's hard to believe how much we (me especially) have changed together through the years.

I would have loved to bring you flowers today, or drop a birthday card in your vehicle for you to find. Instead I had to rely on others to bring you flowers, and the good old fashioned mail man to bring you a card. Its part of the being together that translates into working with the resources that you have. I can't be there for you today, or tomorrow but if you look in side your heart you will find me there with you. I'm with you everyday, your the first thing I think of when I get up and the last thing I think of before I go to bed. In between there is always the hope of a dream.

I love you Susan, I hope you have a great birthday! Just remeber I love you more today than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow.

Love you,


Monday, March 2, 2009

2 Mar 09 - Noah's Ark

Good evening from Dave's world,

Tonight I wanted to bring you up to date on whats going on in my world. In order to leave here in the next few days there are numerous training events that needs to take place. As you can imagine those of us going out first are the guinea pigs. All of our T's need to be slashed and our i's dotted. I spent most of yesterday on the Internet doing on line training. Tonight I have to pack my bags, wash my laundry, and try to get a little me time (reading) before I go to bed. So far I have been without my beloved Mountain Dew for 28 days and there are no serious side effects. So far I have been without my beloved Mountain Dew for 28 days and there are no serious side effects. I have not watched TV or a movie since I got here. My day goes from wake up at 0440 (in order to get hot water) to lights out at 2300 (11:00 PM). Time spent during the day is filled with training, setup for the upcoming war exercise, and numerous meetings.

I found time for church on Sunday and enjoyed the mass. The mass was dedicated to the soldiers that were deploying from the base to include those of us from Minnesota. Soldiers and their families were in attendance and all of us in uniform were asked to stand. Some of the Minnesota soldiers were in the service as well, from the gift givers, to readings, to giving out Communion. The homily was about the story of Noah's Ark as it relates to soldiers. Noah's Ark took a little of everything to help preserve the world. Much like the modern day soldiers who are coming together from all walks of life. Like the Ark our soldiers are facing rough waters right now. Many soldiers are along for the ride with no idea of the boat that's carrying them. Our faith is in Noah (Division Commander) to bring us across the ocean and back home again.

After the mass there was a luncheon for the soldiers and their families. I can't speak for the others but I felt the congregation welcomed us with open arms. In fact members of the congregation (non uniform) gave us handkerchiefs, rosaries, and a St Christopher medal. Afterwards while outside an old Korean war vet talked to me for several minutes. He shook our hands and thanked us all for our service. As he was walking away he turned back and asked me if I had a copy of how to pray the rosary. When I said no he reached into his pocket and gave me his some what worn copy and gave it to me. It's a by far better place here for my soldiers than my experience while at Ft Stewart in 2003-04.

Did I mention that so far I have been without my beloved Mountain Dew for 28 days and there are no serious side effects

Due to the op tempo here there was no cribbage last night.

That is All!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

1 Mar 09 - One month gone

Good morning from Dave's world,
Today marks the passing of my first month from home. Time is passing fast for me, and the days seem to blend together. In four to five days I will be leaving the good old USA until next year. The thought of leaving home was tough but I have adapted here. Routines were established and the time was passing by.

Going across the pond brings me one step closer to coming home. The flip side of it is that I give up the luxury of text messaging my wife, family and friends. I won't be afforded the luxury of sending a text message of encouragement by electronic media. Not to mention that my wife and kids will not be able to get a hold of me when they need me. We are all going to have to rely on E Mail to communicate and set up times to call. The reality is that my family and friends are with me in my heart and soul no matter where I go.

With my glass being half full I know today marks month one, with hopefully eleven more to go. Nothing in this world is guaranteed and it's up to you to decide if your going to have a good day or a great day.

I know your curious about the cribbage tournament I can say last nights game with a different partner had the same results. My team won and the other team was taught that life goes on. Those of you back in Minnesota need to keep proficient in the game, you need to continue to train. There will be no excuses such as "I haven't played since you left", or my favorite "Can we play Texas hold em instead".

My guys here need me, and I as well need them. Regardless of our rank, we are morally responsible to get each other through this deployment. Keep all of us in your prayers as well as our families, and the friends that are standing by ready to help.

That is all,