"Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game.
In the deed the glory."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July in Iraq

I thought I would give everyone an update on 4th of July here at LSA Anaconda. Unfortunately, there aren't any holidays here in Iraq like there are back home. We can't simply close up shop at the ECPs (Entry Control Points) and JDOC (Joint Defense Operations Center) and go shoot off bottle rockets. So, it is generally a day like any other. We had a formation in the AM which is somewhat unusual. SSG Brehm got promoted to SFC (Sergeant First Class / E7) which is well deserved. He is a great guy so it is nice to see him get recognized. After that it was business as usual. It did seem a little quieter through out the day as most people were doing their best to stay under the radar. The locals made it a little bit interesting by firing at few mortars at us, but again nothing out of the ordinary there. I actually had quite a bit of work to do so the day went by quickly and I wrapped up quite a few things. The DFAC always tries to make the holidays unique with a different menu. Basically they just combine all of the good stuff throughout the month onto one day. We had ribs, bbq chicken, tbone steaks, baked beans, corn on the cob etc for lunch. Perhaps the best part was the dessert, they had apple cobbler which I haven't seen since I've been here and it was quite good. All of the staff was dressed up in patriot outfits which was funny, I felt bad for them as they looked very uncomfortable. SFC Kerchal was kind enough to let me go about an hour early so that was nice as well.

Of course, we didn't want to let the day pass without some excitement, so SSG Johnson and I had plans of our own. The base theater had a special movie playing, Superman Returns. Whenever there is a new movie in town, the lines are always crazy to get in. We decided on a little movie time 4th of July adventure, and went to the early showing of Scary Movie 4 (not too bad, about what you would have expected) at 1700 (5:00 PM for you non-military types keeping score at home). We actually were there at 1600, which proved to be an hour too early as we could have rolled in at 1700 and been fine, but we didn't want to leave anything to chance. After watching that, we hung out at the theater for 90 minutes saving our seats. Our master plan was almost destroyed when they kicked us out to clean the theater and made us get back into line, but it wasn't too bad yet and we got our same seats back. I had brought a sandwich with me from lunch and then got some popcorn and just ate dinner there. The theater was packed by 1900, and since we were saving seats for The Hammer and Birdman (who ended up not making it), we had to fend off those that were unlucky enough to not get there early. I should say didn't plan well enough actually, there was no luck involved in knowing that on the 4th of July for a summer blockbuster you couldn't just waltz in 10 minutes early and get a seat. I actually had to use my rifle to fend off some particularly zealous people that really wanted a seat. The movie was great, Kevin Spacey is awesome as Lex Luthor and the special effects were phenomenal from the opening scene to the end. The only disappointment was that the ending wasn't as exciting as I would have liked. All in all, it was a great movie and not a bad way to spend the 4th. Better than out on a convoy or guarding a gate! We ended up being in the theater for almost 7 hours, and then I was able to call Erika and check out the festivities at home. Buddy of course freaks out and won't leave the house, but everything else sounded like it was going okay. SSG Johnson took a picture of the theater which you can find here. July looks to be a good movie month, coming up we have Silent Hill, United 93, Pirates of the Caribbean, American Dreams, Click, and MI III. We can't be picky since it is free and most others don't have this benefit so we try to go to a movie or two every week.


Anonymous said...

7 hours at the movie theatre...nice! Not a bad 4th of July. Not quite like eating fat Leon's Rib Eye steaks and drinking Blue & Crome all day long... listening Lee Greenwood and the theme from Top Gun but I guess you've got to "Make The Best of What's Around", right?
We didn't end up making it down to Battery Park to watch the fireworks over the Statue of Liberty this year like we did last year but did end up having a pretty good day. Last year watching the sky light up over Lady Liberty was incredible. Gives a real sense of American pride & freedom. Thanks to you guys, we're able to have that.
This year we went to the Greenwich beach on the Long Island Sound for a few hours then got together with a few friends for dinner and a little booze. It's crazy, you can see NYC from the beach on a clear day and they tell me that you used to be easly able to point out the World Trade Center.
The folks and family all wish you and your family the best as always. The Navy sent Brent over to Japan for a few months and Blake is doing more Prowler training down in Fallan, NV again. But, they all wanted to say hey and wish you well.

Stay Safe,

Ole' buddy B

Anonymous said...

Glad that you were able to get your head out of the sand long enough to forget where your at in the theater. By the way Silent Hill is freaky as hell, but worth the hour and a half. Take care.


Anonymous said...

You know Steve, "Ole' buddy B" just described my 4th of July to a tee... There was a big fat Leon's Rib Eye, there was Blue & Crome (almost all day long)ha ha and there was plenty of Lee Greenwood and lets not forget Toby Keith!!!

I want to thank you and all you're brothers and sisters who are brave enough to volunteer and wear the stars and stripes on their shoulder! It is solely because of people like you who serve now and those who served before that I can remember and celebrate this greatest nation... America's birthday and her history... Our FREEDOM!!!


Know you are in my prayers. I am so proud of you. I am lucky you are in my life. I thank God every day for that.

Hey Kane... No Fear!!!!


Anonymous said...

Blue and Crome. This took me a while , but now I know what it is.

Sack said...

A ribeye and a Bud Light sounds pretty good right about now. That is what 6 years after the 4th of July is all about!

Brian said...

Blue & Crome Rik. Come on... Next to Misty's seasoning it's only most necessary item while attacking one of those Leon's rib eyes on the grill. I should be thanking Dan every day for showing the importance of the tasty beer next to the grill while firing one up. I often cringe thinking of all the steaks that Steve & I would have completely ruined over the years had it not been for the lessons learned on 53rd st.

That is what 6 years after the 4th of July is all about. Nice!

When you get back Sack, we'll have to try to outdo those Graduation steaks. One where you have to take a break from, re-warm and get back into the game with. Beautiful, you gotta' love NE beef.

Ole' buddy B

mindy said...

I like Kevin Spacey too, but it's hard to imagine anyone other than Gene Hackman in that role. oh, the countless hours watching Superman when we got our cable box in Discovery... And oh the memories of you in your Superman underroos and Jeff in his Spiderman ones- or am I getting the two of you mixed up? Anyway I'm glad you enjoyed the movie and harassing innocent people with your rifle.
I went to a perfect spot on the bay- right across from Andrew's. We saw 6 or so firework shows simultaneously at points around the bay. I created a visual reference in my 4th of July letter to you. You and everyone there in Iraq were very much in our thoughts...
okay is anyone going to explain this 6 years thing? Steve? ole buddy B? Rik? a phenomenal July 4, 2000 or something like that?

Sack said...

Now that you mention it I think it is actually 7 years after the fourth of July. Back in the "dark ages" when Brian and I used to grill out we would go pick up a crappy piece of meat from Supersaver and then char the crap out of it. We thought that was the way to get it done. Dan taught us the way of the Jedi grill master: how important a fresh cut of beef from Leon's was, and the slow cook, one turn method that takes over an hour to cook, or approx 4 co' beers. I believe it was actually while I was at boot camp so I think it was '99. Dan and B did the first of many famed 24 oz ribeyes, rubbed with Mistys, and slowcooked to perfection, and a case of Bud Light for the side dish. Anyway, everytime we grilled after that, it was always, "This is what 2 months after the 4th of July is all about." 2 months turned into 6 months, then a year, and so on.

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