Sean travelled to Kuwait in mid-October 2005 and arrived at Camp Buerhring.
While in Kuwait, Sean lived with 55 men in 50-man tents. No heat or air. Uncomfortable cots. On base was a tent that housed a gym where they would play volleyball for 2 hours a day and workout. A movie tent ran 24 hours a day as did the internet cafe. Uncomfortable cots, nervousness and anxiety, and missing their families made it difficult for many to sleep, so many soldiers would spend time in the movie tent and internet cafe.
Before the unit could move forward to Iraq, they had to complete a rigorous training routine. The unit participated in had PLS (palletized load system) truck training, forklift training, moving concrete barriers, and pallates of water bottles. They held “Forklift Rodeos” to hone their skills. They loaded vehicles desinated as “excess” to be shipped back to the states. They took a camping trip to weapons ranges to drill on combat ambushes, checkpoints, and close quarter combat training. They slept in large tents and it got brutally cold at night. They encountered their first camel herd on this trip.
The phones were a 20 minute walk from Sean’s tent with a 15 minute wait to make a call. Sean called every three to four days. I counted myself very fortunate that my husband would find time to contact me at the end of his busy days. Some wives only heard from their husbands every couple of weeks! Others got messages or phone calls every day. My grandmother told me after seeing a news bit about emailing troops stationed overseas, “When your granpa left for WW II, I didn’t get to talk to him for three years!” She thought we were very lucky and very spoiled.
Email was spotty at first, but improved during his stay (in Iraq). Sean would walk 30 minutes to the internet cafe tent on base, wait up to 1 1/2 hours and email me every few days. Internet service was slow and unreliable. There was not always time to read or send messages once he had computer access. Here is a sampling of emails I received from Kuwait.
94 degrees today. . . very bright out. . . needed my sunglasses all day. . . you can relax for a little bit as I am safe for the moment.
There’s not anything here but sand and tents. . .
It is warm here during the day 110 or higher.
I am extremely proud of you for taking on the kids at this difficult time in their lives. . . thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I really need to focus because I want to come home safe and I need to bring everyone else home safe.
It has cooled down a bit to high 80s and at night it gets down to 50 or 60 and can be cold. . . I already sent my sleeping bag to our final destination. . .
The food is not bad here and there is a big selection.
I go to bed a 11:00 and get up at 3:30 every morning because I can’t sleep. . . it’s cold. . . the cot is not comfortable.