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