Friday, March 11, 2005

More on the 81st coming home...

I received an email today from Rob, a friend serving with the 81st (see my previous post on the returning Washington National Guard unit). He was letting us know that he expects to be home soon! We are looking forward to having him back after his year in Iraq, and I will have a formal flag return ceremony when he comes back to work.

You see, I've been the keeper of his flag while he has been gone - it's hung on a wall of my cubicle since Independence Day last year, when I decided it should be enjoyed and honored, instead of being hidden in storage. Reading John's post yesterday on the proper treatment of Old Glory gave me a warm glow - and the commenters, as always, educated me as well.


Here's the letter from Rob, letting us know how the process of returning home will run :

Howzit Bra?

We have finally made it to Kuwait and are scheduled to leave for home on the 16th of March, which means I should be in Washington on the 17th. We are the last battalion to come home from the 81st brigade. It is going to be nice to be home.

We finally have some downtime after training and transferring equipment and authority to our replacements of the Hawaiian National Guard (hence the greeting this time). Things are a lot quieter for them and we have built up the place for them so they should have a good year. We convoyed down on the 2nd of March and have been cleaning equipment and getting conexes through Customs.

We are in a transient camp now and things are very sparse and nasty. We are living in a tent with 71 of our closest friends and there are lines whatever limited facilities are here. We had a few sandstorms and it is currently raining, so it looks like we haven’t lost our Northwest mojo. :-)

Things are getting better up in Baghdad. We had a rise in the number of explosions around the elections and just afterwards as the insurgents were venting their frustration, but it is nowhere near the intensity when we first got here and it declined rapidly.

In our time here we were able to run an election for a city council, build a clinic, repair a sewer system and set up a myriad of other contracts for the locals to better their Village. I think our time here was worthwhile.

That being said, I am tired and am happy to be going home. There is a lot of ugliness out here and I will be happy to leave it for the good ol’ USA.

... Thank you everyone for all the support you have given me throughout the year, it has meant a lot. I look forward to seeing you all again in much better circumstances.


Good to hear from you, Rob! We are counting the days until you are back with us :-)