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Title: Doc in the Box Address: http://docinthebox.blogspot.com Author: Sean Dustman From: Mira Mesa/Miramar Blogging since: 2003 Post Date: April 3, 2006

Post Title: The Other Jungle We've bent over backwards trying to get basic services back on, and the bad guys take it out. Don't they know that they're hurting their own people? Summer's coming soon and this place is going to be boiling. These jokers are trying to make everyone cranky and blaming it all on us. We're too stubborn and just keep going back and fixing the problem. The whole place is a tinderbox and it's hard putting out all the fires. This is no longer an offensive war for us; it's turned into a defensive war. The regular Iraqi on the ground is getting closer to the snapping point and we're trying to keep the good guys calm while getting rid of the bad guys. The bad guys out here must love chaos. As usual, there's no easy answer. Welcome to Baghdad; at night there's hardly a flight where there's not someone shooting at you. They can't see the aircraft (hopefully), but as soon as they hear one coming, they come out and shoot into the air. Mainly, they're hoping to get a lucky shot in. A tracer flies by a window and we're banking and rolling, which is kinda like gambling; they can't see us, but we can't see them either -- a great game of battleship in the sky. Wish sometimes the bet wasn't my life.

Post Date: May 30, 2006

Post Title: Memorial Day Was Just Another Day Being in the military, one of our defense mechanisms for dealing with death is not to think about it until it strikes. It's human nature for people to suppress bad emotions unless they strike close to home. Most of us rarely think about the meaning behind national holidays, including this one; it's just cool to have the extra time off and be someplace where we can enjoy it. Out here, we work 24/7 with a day off a couple times during the trip; there is no real down time. One dusty day after another of following a schedule that shows little change. Sleep, shower, eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep and start over again. Maybe today you went to a brief service to pass a token gesture to those who have fallen before you; then it's back to the schedule. If you're lucky, that's all you did on Memorial Day.

If you were not lucky, you know a buddy who died in the prime of his or her life, sometimes right next to you. That person has given this holiday great meaning for you, and you're probably not going to forget them for the rest of your life. You don't need a holiday to remind you.

Sometimes we forget the meaning behind this holiday, but maybe we're just lucky that we don't have someone to remind us.

Post Date: July 1, 2006

Post Title: Tito, RIP I've had a camel spider we named Tito secreted away in our back room, living in a terrarium, for the past month. For a month, he's eaten everything that the night-crew guys threw in there: scorpions, lizards, other camel spiders. There are spider legs and scorpion tails littering the entire bottom of the cage. But there were also lean times; sometimes he wouldn't be fed for four or five days in a row. Earlier this week, I tried an experiment with dental floss and chicken. I would tie a small piece of chicken to the floss and bop him in the head, and he would lift his mouth and gobble it up. But with all good things come a price: a couple of days of me fattening him up, and his body was getting too big for his legs to let him run like he used to. But he would happily eat what I offered him.

I came in this morning to find this written on the white board on my wall: "Tito was murdered in cold blood!!! The proper training wasn't done for a fight of that magnitude and had just came off of a hard-fought victory. This is a sad day in the world of fighting. Is there no justice??!!!" -- Chaves (co-owner/trainer/manager and friend).

They killed Tito! I ran into the back room, and there was Tito lying in the cold embrace of death -- and his murderer cowering in the corner. A black scorpion a third of his size -- sigh. I know how that teary-eyed guy in Jarhead felt when his scorpion was killed.

Post Date: October 19, 2006

Post Title: Kuwaiting Take 6 And as for being sent to a war, I didn't have it bad at all. My weapon was never discharged; I never had a set of crosshairs pointed at me; all of my people made it back with all of their fingers and toes. I've talked to people whose whole life is doing patrols and convoys; that fear of getting blown up daily builds up like lead poisoning. Everybody has their limit as to how much they can hold, and I'm sure the images and actions that they've experienced are going to carry over to their return. I've been blessed with a loving wife who wrote me an actual letter each day, who has never been too tired to answer the phone, and who was always sending surprising care packages filled with stuff that I'm sure no one else out here ever received. Not too many husbands say that they never want to be away from their wives, but I do. You can't buy the support and love that she has given me. Thanks, hun.

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