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A soldier’s story
Back in the heat and sand

Click here to see a complete listing of our soldier's adventures in Iraq.

Editor’s Note: These are the thoughts of a gay soldier — a North Carolina native — who has been deployed to Iraq. Because of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, he must remain anonymous.


I’ve been back in Iraq for a week now. It’s so hot the Devil himself won’t come outside to play. Coming back was hard but not as tough as leaving the first time. One of the reassuring aspects about coming back was knowing where I would be located, what I would be doing and where I would be sleeping, eating etc.

Getting here was dreadful: long flight, no sleep, dead tired and exhausted from a vacation that was a roller coaster ride all over the Southeast United States. It was a hell of a trip — but a great one full of laughs, friends, loved ones and many great memories.
The flight took me from Charlotte to Atlanta, then on a military charter through Shannon, Ireland, for a short stop. We then flew to Kuwait to Ali Al Saleem Air Force Base. The next morning I took a flight to Baghdad International Airport on a C-130. We were packed onto the plane like sardines and again — it was so hot.

From there, late that night I left out on a helicopter back to my camp. I flew directly into Abu Gharab prison as one of my stops. That made me a bit nervous, but it was interesting to see all the prisoners in their prison whites, the tents and to know I was at an infamous place in military history.

Back at work things changed temporarily, which has been a bit stressful, but I’m making it through. I realize now that the days are blurring together. It seems the morning comes and goes and suddenly it’s bedtime.

Staying outside for long periods of time is really hard here — and getting accustomed to the climate is going to take some time. Electrical service is sporadic so that makes the temperature inside my room climb even higher. I’m eating decent and I’m getting a daily shower — sometimes it’s cold water — but who cares at this point?

I never seem to adapt to the time difference. It’s weird — I’m going to bed and I call my partner and it’s the middle of the afternoon.

No major events of danger recently, a mortar hit 500 yards away — huge blast and I saw the fire and smoke — but there was no danger. The concussion was amazing.

One of the most exciting developments of late is the solidarity of the Iraqi government. It seems as though they’ve come together as one, so I’m hoping and praying that they can start making inroads to bringing the country together and ridding Iraq of the insurgent activity and the sectarian violence.

— Reporting from Iraq,,
your friend and soldier from Charlotte.

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