Thursday, October 13, 2005

His back against a portable flood light generator, Specialist David Wilson of Carey keeps a watchful eye out near a polling site in Kirkuk.

And as Baghdad has erupted in numerous bombings and increased threat levels, we plan to take zero chances here in Kirkuk. Additional personnel are being brought to our patrol base to help with force protection (a.k.a. guard duty), freeing more of us to further increase our patrols.

More all-night missions are planned to add rolls of concertina wire and 'hedgehog' anti-vehicle barricades to the polling places. Soon our company will have patrols out 24 hours per day, doing everything we can to ensure that the Iraqi people will have the chance to vote in peace. And as election day comes closer, each patrol is sure to last a little longer until we have more and more troops guarding the city each hour.

"It's just like the rest of the deployment: we just have to do what we have to do," noted Corporal Christian Litzsinger of Boise. "We're not on the plane [home] yet. We've still got a lot of work to do here, including of course one very big election."

As we roll out the gates each day, the calendars, the countdown, and thoughts of our families and home are momentarily put aside. We focus on the mission, scanning still for roadside mines, car bombs, and suspicious characters.

When our vehicle checkpoints are packed up, the homes of suspects cleared, and the patrol is finally over, only then do numbers like '27' return immediately to our heads. Then we're thankful that more time has passed, another day is brought closer to conclusion, and we're another step closer to coming home. Posted by Picasa
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