We officially left Fort Dix early in the morning on January 8th, arriving in Kuwait the following afternoon after a brief stop in Germany. Our unit was split into two groups for travel; the other group had a layover, with beers, in Ireland. No matter. We were in Kuwait for about a week, finishing up some training that was required to actually go to Iraq, like how to remove yourself from an MRAP if it rolled over. (We did not, however, actually ever drive in an MRAP while in Iraq). We also went out into the middle of the Kuwaiti desert and fired our weapons to make sure they worked. All this while awaiting a flight “north” into Iraq.
We departed Kuwait and flew on a C-130 into Balad. We arrived early in the morning today, and quick impression is that Iraq is not a whole lot different than any where else. Granted, it was the middle of the night, but I noticed no change. The unit we are replacing seem pretty nice, though I am sure that over the next few days we will really get to know them. Right now, it looks like they are going to be here for another three weeks or so since we arrived a bit earlier than they were expecting. I guess that will give us a little more time to learn our part of the mission before they go back home. Very interesting so far, and I have only been here for a few hours.