Letters From Iraq: Army Maj. Michael Mundell

In the spring of 2006, Army Maj. Michael Mundell prepared to head off for training before his deployment to Iraq, where he helped train an Iraqi Army battalion. The following are unedited excerpts from his e-mails to family and friends from the last year of his life.

Heading Out for Training
03/25/06 11:06 AM
Hi everyone! I am leaving Ft. Bragg (thank goodness) on Tuesday or Wednesday and heading to, of all places, Ft. Knox. I will stay there for a week or less, doing some "Cultural Awareness Training" and then some digital battlefield software training. After this, I am headed for Ft. Hood, Texas, to draw equipment and weapons. I have been assigned to a "Mobile Transition Team", meaning I will be living with and training an Iraqi Army Battalion, along with three other Americans. After a few days at Ft. Hood, I will be sent to Kuwait to do some more training ... and then to Tadji, Iraq. From Tadji, we will be dispersed to various units across the country. I dont know where exactly I will be. I am happy with the assignment—it sounds like a lot of fun and excitement.
Mike

Getting Back Into Shape
05/03/06 8:07 AM
Dear friends and family,
I finally met my team on Monday and they seem to be really great guys. ... All together, there are three majors, three captains, and three sergeants on the team. Hopefully, we will come home with all nine of us.
I finally got some specifics as to my assignment. We will be advising (not training, there is a difference) the 3d Battalion of the 1st Brigade, of the 1st Division, Iraqi Army. They are stationed in Fallujah and operate in the area between Fallujah and Ramadi (east, towards Baghdad). Should be very interesting, as this is right smack in the middle of the "Sunni Triangle" area. I am not sure what that means, other than we will be busy boys. I just cant wait—I have had ENOUGH training—time to get to business.
I am well and continue to get this old, old body back in shape—PT three times a week will do that.
Love to all, Mike

'Banshee Battalion'
5/20/06 11:00 AM
Hello to all from sunny and HOT Ft Hood!
The team I am on consists of 11 men (no women). ... We are short two men, an NCO [Non-Commissioned Officer] to help me and another major to oversee maintenance. They will be here this week, I am told. Good men, all of them and I feel confident going with them. We work hard together and are developing a team spirit. Our brigade nickname is the "Lobo Brigade", which none of us like. We have decided to call ourselves the "Banshee Battalion" and my son Zach, the artist, is creating a logo for us to paint on the sides of our HUMVEEs and so on.
All is well at home—except that [my wife] Audrey is slowing going crazy, I suspect. Knowing my kids, I can understand why. She is doing a great job taking care of business and it is a great comfort to me knowing that my kids are in the best of hands with their mom. She is one tough lady!
I hope to hear from everyone and hope that everyone is well!
Mike

John Wayne and Fudge
5/23/06 8:33 AM
Hi to All!
One of the captains in 2d Battalion is an IRR [Individual Ready Reserve] call up like me. He was within a month of the date when he could resign his commission and to top it all off, his wife is two months pregnant with their first. Needless to say, he is not the happiest of campers. ...
This morning, I ended up next to him as we were shaving. He was still downcast and unhappy, almost morose. Understand that it was around 5:30 in the morning and our faces were both lathered with shaving cream:

ME: Josh, am I gonna have to take you out behind the barracks and adjust your attitude?
JW: Sir, I dont think you can do it. And besides, I dont think it would work.
ME: Well, dammit, it worked for John Wayne in the Sands of Iwo Jima, didnt it? Straightened Forrest Tucker out. And yeah, I could. I am bigger than you.
JW: My parents often said that old people have strange thoughts.

Not the greatest of humor, I assure you, but he laughed, and I laughed and another day had begun.

Aunt Shirley mailed me some fudge yesterday, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I forgot THE cardinal rule of food shipments and the barracks—one should NEVER let anyone know he has it. Especially fudge. Homemade fudge. I felt as if I were in the swirling center of a shark feeding frenzy. As people returned from training, the word went out—"hey, Major Mundell has fudge, from HOME!". Aahhh... I have about half of what she sent remaining, which I locked in my wall locker and steadfastly refuse to admit that it exists. Especially the peanut butter stuff. This is, of course, a blatant hint to all my other relatives who would like to become famous in the barracks and in emails.

Some other random thoughts:

* Although the battle armor will keep my hind end safe, I HATE it. It is heavy (35 lbs- we weighed it), uncomfortable as hell and HOT. Add to that weight a helmet, a rifle (8 lbs and awkward), another 4 lbs for a pistol, 15 lbs or so of water and another 20 lbs of "other stuff" (1st aid kit, ammo, etc) and I end up feeling like a damm mule. Add onto all of that heat into the mid to high 90's and the unpleasantness is manifest to all. Watching guys trying to run in this reminds me of the turtle that raced Bugs Bunny in the cartoons. It will, of course, only suck worse over there. Something to look forward to, I suppose.

* I still like machine guns. Yeah, I know that's a little weird, but they are neat. Lots of bullets and shoot real fast.

* Firing tracers at night has a beauty all it's own... little fireflies that zip and spin and bounce, red flashes against the dark night. I took pictures, by the way.

* My son Ryan wants me to mail him "things" from Iraq—helmets, equipment, etc. He even asked me to mail him a weapon. All of that caused two thoughts—why does he want a rifle from there and how long before he asks me to send him a real Iraqi person?

I hope everyone is well and that all my beloved aunts, sisters, friend's wives, etc. got the whole fudge hint. Mess hall food is ... adequate, but exceedingly boring. Kinda like eating in the school cafeteria three times a day, every day ... all week ... get it? Anyone out there feeling sorry for me yet? My address is available.

Mike

'Things Are a Bit Black'
6/06/06 8:29 AM
We are very close to going [to Iraq], very. Our wheels up is 8:35 PM, 18 June. I want to get this done and over with.

I am constantly tired, and out of energy. It's not so much the training, but the ... wait, the mental drain. I am responsible for 10 other guys and trying to get them ready and myself just wears.

I remember when I was preparing to go to school—I couldnt wait either. Perhaps he will learn some new and valuable lessons, perhaps not- all that remains to be seen. As does the future for all of us.

I told you the other night, I forsee very rough times ahead and shortly ahead. Given all of the intelligence we are getting, both classified and open source, plus the situation reports the guys we are replacing are sending, all signs point to an urban offensive sometime in the very near future (1-2 months). Ramadi is a city of 500,000. gonna be a tough go, particularly given that [Abu Mussab Zarqawi] has made it public that he will stand and fight there.

Things are a bit black now, as we all feel the pressure and it feeds off of one another. Oh, the joking and laughing continue, but they are of a bit darker nature—"If you get killed, can I have your laptop?", that kind of thing. I guess we will see what happens. Sometimes, I feel like a sacrificial lamb that the Army is tossing out to the wolves, sometimes I really believe in this mission, what it represents and what good we may accomplish.

Love
m

Farewell
6/14/06 2:14 PM
Hello to all family, friends and assorted loved ones.
And, perhaps, goodbye. It is Wednesday, the somethingth of June. Our plane, as noted earlier, leaves on Sunday at 2035 hours, give or take a few minutes. ... I will have limited or no capability to get to the internet once I arrive in Kuwait and no address. I will be able to send letters, but not recieve them. And, my cell phone will not work. This is the Army at it's best. And worst. Once I arrive at FOB Ghost, my home away from home for the next year, those issues will be solved to some extent.

Our team, of 11 stalwart soldiers, has been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2d Brigade, 1st Iraqi Infantry Division. They are, as noted above, based out of FOB Ghost, which is SOMEWHERE along highway 10, between the oasis of Fallujah and the soon-to-be-rubble of Ramadi. I say soon to be, as all signs point to an offensive to re-take (so to speak) that volatile city. An offensive, according to published US reports, that will be wholly Iraqi, with support (air, artillery) provided by us. This does not bode well for yours truly or the remaining 10 stalwarts. City fighting just plain SUCKS. No one likes it, but that is what it is going to be. One of the reasons we all hate it is that it soaks up troops like a sponge. Warning to all news watchers—should (when) this little tiff breaks out, watch CNN—you may see me or some of the other Banshees on TV. We will be, in the current parlance, up to our asses in a street fight. Which, as I have already said, sucks about as bad as it can.

We call ourselves the Banshee Battalion, a name selected and ram-rodded thru by me. The ground swell of discontent is growing, with a contending nickname of the "Fighting Squirrels". The symbol, drawn by our own Cpt Warren Snook, shows an angry squirrel, holding a spear, and guarding two really large acorns. I leave it to your imagination as to what the acorns represent. The motto is "These we will defend". Also perhaps best left to the imagination. The guys have taken to shouting "Crouching Banshee, Hidden Squirrel!" at odd moments. The pressure, I suspect, effects us all in different ways. A bunch of my guys watched the movie "Jarhead", which has the memorable phrase "Yes. It sucks. But EMBRACE the suck!".

At the risk of sounding maudlin and exceedingly melodramatic, this may indeed be the last time I speak to some of you. Make no mistake, we are going into (pardon the language) a "shitstorm" in and around Ramadi. The guys we are replacing are down 30-40% and one team is down to 50% of its original numbers. If I wanted to go to jail, I could quote exact numbers of IEDs and car bombs and ambushes that are occurring daily in the Anbar province (for some reason, it's secret, even though the bad guys already KNOW). It is evident that the death of Zarqawi has spurred action, rather than quieting it. Our job is to make the [Iraqi Army] an effective fighting force. The bad guys want the opposite and thus we are becoming choice sniper targets, or so we are being told. All in all, the mood is downcast, yet determined. What will be, will be. There has been a raft of late night "pacts"—if this happens, do this for me and so on. Sometimes I feel like I am in a really bad movie about WWII. Nevertheless, we are 11; they are in legion, unseen and unknown and more slither across the Syrian and Iranian border every day. I have been staring at this last line for about ten minutes, as I seem to have run out of words. Good luck, Godspeed and love to all. I cant think of anything else to write. I will see you all on the far shore, what ever that holds for all of us.
Mike

Arrival in Kuwait
6/23/06 5:01 PM
Hi to all friends and family,
Yes, I have arrived safely, more or less, in the lovely country of Kuwait. Anyone not detecting the sarcasm there, have your detector checked—immediately. ...The camp is, to put it nicely, in the middle of NO WHERE. We are packed into metal framed plastic tents, 60 to a tent. They are air conditioned, but when the heat comes up, they struggle and sputter ... it's good when it is only 90 or so inside. We sleep on cots, VERY close to each other. So close, in fact, that I had to warn my battle buddy, CPT Warren Snook, to stay off my side. Nevertheless, it isnt too bad. For 3-5 at the county pen, anyway.

Other goods and bads. Mess hall= Good. Actually, great! No lines (it's big), plenty of good food, juice, fruit, ice cream and even FRESH donuts. Amazing. Nothing too fancy, just good and lots of variety. And ESPN on the TV. Showers= semi OK ... we get to take combat showers, which is get wet, turn off the water, lather up, then turn it back on and rinse and you are done. 15 gallons a man per day. Bathrooms= BAD and worse. Portajohns. In the desert ... hot, smelly, 'nuff said. Dont get downwind. Just some friendly advice.

Now, to the heat thing. It is 120-130 EVERY DAY. To feel this, turn on a blow dryer, point it at yourself and stand there. And stand there. And stand there. Throw some dust from the vacuum in the air everyonce in a while. Viola! You are experiencing Kuwait. It is with out a doubt the MOST oppressive thing I have ever felt in my life.

All else is well. I cant talk much about training, or when we leave for Iraq (soon). They are quite hostile about the bad guys reading our email and so on. Apparently, they spy on this place all the time. Oh well. At any rate, I am healthy and reasonably happy. I would call home, but the wait is worse than the wait for this. I hope everyone is healthy and happy. I will email as soon as I can, whenever THAT is.

Mike

Boredom in Baghdad
7/08/06 1:00 AM
Dear Family, friends and assorted other loved ones,
We have been here at Camp Striker, in Baghdad, for two days now, with one more to go ... nothing to do, boring, boring. We have to wait here until the Phoenix Academy in Tadji has room for us in the training pipeline. Only One More Training Thing, and we can actually start to do our jobs. I am utterly sick of training. Utterly and completely.

Anyone who fools around in the stock market, here is a tip. Invest in Kellogg, Brown and Root-KBR [a division of Halliburton]. These guys own EVERYTHING here. Mess hall? Run by KBR... bus services between FOBs [Forward Operating Bases]? KBR... hiring and firing of personnel who work around here (mostly Phillipinos and Pakistanis)? - KBR. For goodness sake, I went into the porta-potty and guess who provides THAT? KBR. Buy their stock, immediately.

I say you would think this place is boring, except for one thing—we get the war by remote control. The first night we were here, there was a huge firefight—machine guns, RPGs, etc. Yesterday, there was a big big boom, followed by a vast plume of smoke. The helos buzzed all over that thing and the Apaches looked as if they were firing rockets (hard to tell). Last night, we heard the distinctive giant "zipper" sound of an A10 minigun, interspersed with lots of small arms and RPGs. Someone in Baghdad is obviously upset. Yes, Virginia, there really IS a war.

I am well, but frustrated. I wanna get where I am going and do what I gotta do. This being in limbo sucks. Everyone likes time off, but this is ridiculous. My big event for the day? Re-packing my dufflebag and cleaning around my cot and washing some socks and underware. Goodness, the excitement never stops.

Mike

Meeting Hadji
7/14/06 11:14 PM
Dear Loved ones, friends and family,
I have met Hadji (which is how we refer to the locals). I was walking to the gym one night and came across a bunch of Iraqis (mess hall workers, gate guards, etc) playing soccer. They invited me to play and viola! Now I play every night, as the "pet American footballer". They are as good as you might suspect, much as if you had a pick up game of baseball at home. I am able to stay with them, for the most part, though there are a few who are really good. It's fun and good exercise. My team comes out of the barracks to watch, so that they can abuse me later when I mess up, which they do. After the first night, SFC Fulford decided that I was probably going to need a walker in the morning. HAHAHA. I told him I would get him later.

Still here at Taji, getting trained at the Phoenix Academy. So far, I gotta say that I have learned little of use—a lot of it is Generals coming to tell us how great things are. Of course, we have been mortared every night (not close) and there have been random sniper attacks almost every day (again, not close). Yeah, things are going just SPIFFY. I did find out that as of 1 August, we all belong to the 1st Infantry Division, which means I can take this stupid Iraqi Assistance Group patch off (it looks like an arrow with a wreath) and wear the "Big Red One". Yeah, childish, but it's those little things that get you going. Sorry, Uncle Brud, but no 2d Armored Division stuff here!

We are eating Iraqi food a lot in the mess hall, which is ... interesting. We eat a BUNCH of rice, which caused several people to state that "there will be NO rice served at home when I get back", or words to that effect. I rather like it. I ate what I thought was apple pie, only to find out later it was dates. It was still good and I still eat it. It tastes kind of apple-peachy and is very sweet. Great with ice cream, when we have it.

All else is well, though the stress is beginning to show. This walking around armed with loaded weapons and KNOWING we are close to the end of training (which seemed ENDLESS) ... guys are getting touchy. However, we truely are trying to take care of each other and help over the rough spots. As team "Mom" (the XO), I spend a lot of time outside the barracks, listening. Also as team "mom", I deliver out a few spankings when needed as well. Nothing like giving a good butt chewing to release some tension.

Cecil....I have not seen ONE scimitar since I have been here! Now, that just stinks, dont you think? I would like to bring one home! Seen lots of AKs, but I am not allowed to "souvenir" one of them, darn the luck.

Keep those emails coming! I read every single one, but cant often answer, because of time. Once we get to Ghost, we will arrange satellite internet (negotiations with a US firm are ongoing, thanks to CPT Stewart) and I will be able to answer everything then.

Love
Mike

On to Fallujah
7/17/06 6:22 AM
Dear Audrey,

2d Letter on the way

we are moving to Fallujah via ground convoy...at nite. This is NOT good. Not at all. Last two convoys were hit and hit badly. Oh well, I am not making the decisions. Will write when I get there.

Love
mike

Not a Virgin Anymore
7/24/06 7:57 AM
Dear Friends, family and loved ones,

Sorry for the gap in writing, but we have zero internet and have to wait until we travel the 15 miles to camp Fallujah, which is east of the city. Yes, I have finally arrived here and yes, it is STILL hot, and yes, it is interesting. So far.

Ok, to get yet another thing out of the way. Yes, we have been under fire, several times, hence the reference to the "not a virgin any more". Two days ago, we were preparing for a movement. All of the sudden "BOOM!....BOOM! BOOM!" and our radios were filled with shouts of "incoming!". We took three mortars in close. The guy I am replacing called me and said "we need to go to the IA [Iraqi Army] HQ". Which is next door. Out in the open. So, we run over there and see if there is any damage, then walk outside to do crater analysis. You can actually tell what direction it came from and how big by looking at the hole. Rob and I are out there looking at the holes (it's our/my job ... no one but an idiot goes out when mortars are falling are have recently if they don't have to) and "CRACK" ... one sniper round. It kicked up dirt 20 or 30 meters away. He looked at me and:

Rob: You know, we ARE exposed out here (there are houses all around us)
Me: Really? Ya think? Thanks for bringing that up.

We only took that one round though.

The IA staff are pretty nice, though my counterpart is a fat, arrogant pain in the rear. I was invited to dinner with Lt Mactimit at Number 3 company and had a good time. They were watching, of all things, WWF. One of his fellow Lt's leaned over and asked me.. "this wrestling...it is real?" I couldnt help the laughter. Try explaining THAT one. Our wonderful, great country and what do we export? WWF.

We have numerous missions coming up and so we will be out strolling the streets of Fallujah. I really dont like going into people's houses. It is.... unnerving. And you feel sort of ashamed. However, one old man shook my hand and said "Americans good... keep Fallujah safe, safe for children." That was pretty cool. And the kids like us. We have candy, soccer balls and BEANIE BABIES to give out on occasion. Bribery works with kids. Some little old lady gave me the meanest look I have EVER seen. Of course, we WERE arresting her son for having an AK47 in his house (it is illegal to have weapons in Fallujah) so maybe that explains it.

It's busy. We had a midnite and later mission that I cant talk about last nite and I am always doing something. I have to admit, I LIKE this... not as if I were at home with my family, but this is the most intense, most REAL thing I have ever done in my life. The Jundees (IA privates) look to us as if we were heroes come to save them and most of the officers are so pathetically grateful for anything we do to help (except MY counterpart, who is more interested in how many wives I have than learning tactics). They really want to do right and I think this year will be worth all of the pain it is causing me to be away from all of you.

I miss all of you. And no, Mark, Joe and all the rest of you perverts, I did NOT pee my pants under fire. Not yet, anyway.

Getting Tired
8/03/06 2:13 AM
Dear loved ones, family and friends,
This will be short, as time is short on here. A short guide to what is going on for me:

I get up at 5 or so and we usually have some sort of combat op with the IA ... almost every day, sometimes twice a day. For those of you who heard me say that it would be fun to be in combat, well, I lied. I am getting rather tired of it. I have constant planning and briefing sessions with the IA, plus getting woken with alerts throughout the night from "Celtic'" (the Marines near us) and "Alamo" (my brigade). All in all folks, I am tired physically and frankly tired mentally—I am getting shot at daily (yesterday was one mortar round, landed way short—a cause for celebration) and the fun has worn off. Intell says Sheik Abdullah somebody is planning to hit one of our three bases, so we are prepping the walls. Sorry I am not being too funny today—there is relatively little to be funny about.

Mike

Still Tired
8/27/06 9:25 AM
Dear Everyone
This will be short, as time is very short, as usual.

The happenings of late: we continue to get mortared, with an occasional RPG shot at us thrown in for fun. The last one was funny, as not only did they miss the gun tower, they missed the whole base.

A little girl was killed yesterday in a cross fire between our Iraqis, the Marines and the bad guys. Sad.

Folks, I am very tired. We seem to be doing little, the city is mostly trash, rubble ... and frankly I am tired of being a walking bullseye for anyone with an AK and nothing better to do, which includes most of the populace, apparently. We have found three IEDs before they could explode under our trucks. Sorry this isn't funny or upbeat—there is nothing very funny or upbeat to talk about right now. People are dying like flies here and I am sick of it.

Mike

Recruiting and Hamburgers
8/31/06 4:46 AM
Hi to all and sundry,
Things here in Fallujah still suck, just so you know.

We had recruiting here in town for IA soldiers. We got an entire 35 volunteers. It seems that the Imams said that we Americans are not nice and working for us is working for the devil. Hmmmm. The recruiting sucked, as we had constant rifle fire by the Iraqi Police, who were running the traffic points outside the base where we were. They shoot at everything. On the way there yesterday, we saw that they had killed a water tanker. No kidding ... it was sitting on the side of the road, leaking water from about twenty holes in the side. It's pretty bad when that is the funniest thing you see all day.

All else is as well as it could be. They have cut us off from drawing frozen hamburgers and lunch meat and so on. It seems that none of us is a trained food handler. Funny, we can make decisions about shooting people every day, but we arent big enough boys to decide if meat is bad or not. One of our guys wrote his congressman. Maybe I will too. Worse, the people that make those decisions get to eat in the mess hall everyday, the bastards. All I want is a burger now and then. Is that hard?

Stay well, everyone
Mike

West of Awful
9/19/06 1:58 PM
Dear Everyone,

These past few weeks have been somewhere west of awful. We have had the usual round of unexplained firing, and all of that—that's normal. Bullets whizz around here and no one knows where they come from or who in particular they are aimed at.

My friend, Maj Brian Hoffman, has lost nine marines WIA [wounded in action] in the past week to IEDs. He is not happy at all.

The worst was Thursday. The bad guys set off an IED next to a crowded soccer field. Eight dead, five wounded, including several children. It was awful in the worst possible way awful can be.

We are running cordon and searches every other day, in between the big operations. We are all getting very tired. We have a patrol this afternoon and a search tomorrow morning.

Film from the aftermath of the soccer IED was on Al-Jazeera (Arab CNN) the very next day. We raided a house that was a possible filming site. Of course, no one knew anything, saw anything, heard anything.

I am well, just mortally tired. And my armor stinks of sweat to high heaven, but there is no time to take it apart and wash it, so I just smell.

Mike

Ramadan Starts With a Bang
9/26/06 9:17 AM
Dear Everyone,

Ramadan has started and started with a bang. We lost an IA the other morning when his truck hit an IED right outside the gate. He lost both hands and a leg. Later, we took some random sniper fire, which wasnt close.

Yesterday was apparently the big day for all the Muj[ahadeen]. We went out early in the morning, then right after we got back, three mortar rounds into the compound, followed by an RPG that missed everything (including, I presume, the earth) and some machine gun fire. This is curious, as we noticed that we have been attacked twice at the end of every month. We were missing our last end of month of attack and were worried that someone didn't love us any more. Todd and I were going to call 1-800-Terrorist and DEMAND our attack. After all, they did OWE us one.

We have some operations coming up, no details as of yet. I am sure they will be fun. That, in case anyone didn't notice, was sarcasm at its best. As long as the Iraqi Police know, the bad guys will know. And we will waste our time on some big operation, and find nothing.

Everything else is the same as it always is here. We patrol daily, looking for them, sometimes we find them, mostly they find us. We kill one or two, the shoot a few of our guys. Someone, I assume, will run out of men sooner or later. They ship theirs in from Syria, Jordan and other places. We get ours from ... well, I dont exactly know.

I am collecting some stuff for Audrey and the kids—Arabic jewelry, clothes, candy, etc. I hope to have that off this week. Anyone else? Just drop me a line. Our interpreters can get it cheap.

All else is as well as can be. Happy Ramadan, everyone!

Mike

It's Been Busy
10/31/06 3:16 PM
Dear Everyone, friends, family, loved ones, etc.,
It has been a while since I have been able to read mail or write. The only time I got to a computer is to order Dale's birthday present and that's it. Things have been very busy here of late. We are told that offensive action in Baghdad and Ramadi are driving the Muj here, and that they are staking a claim to the city, to drive us out and embarrass both the US and the young Iraqi governments. It's been busy.

We have lost, this month, four jundees killed in action and around 15 wounded. All the KIAs are from IEDs or suicide vehicle bombs. I SAW one IED strike, not 75 meters from the front gate. The driver was killed instantly, all three other passengers wounded.

An incident of note, among many. We have started shutting down the city, meaning that we close all of the entry control points (you cant get in to the city without going through one). After they are closed, every military unit of note rushes out and does snap Traffic control points. In English, this means we set up at a busy intersection, stop all traffic and search EVERYONE. We were out on one and the Marines got into a firefight to our south, big enough that they had close air support flying in low and dropping flares. My little force of 15 men total, US and IA, was called in to reinforce. We went south, way south and got there as things were at their crescendo. After we linked with the Marines, we were told to withdraw, as we didnt have enough combat power to do what they wanted us to. As we were leaving, my truck came under sniper fire and we took a hit in the windshield, eye-high, on my side. Thank God for Lexan [a bullet-proof glass].

We have been mortared three times in the past week, one bomb not exploding. We had to call EOD to come blow it up. The highlight of this was when my brigade called and asked "how did the mortar round get there?" I told them that Santa Claus brought it. Jeeeeeeeez, some people really ARE that stupid.

Finally, I was interviewed by CBS news today, some female radio correspondent. ... She did everything she could to get me say that the war was wrong, the IAs suck and that Bush is a stinker. It didnt work out well for her. I believe my comment was that "Since I am here and will be here for a while, the politics of it all are rather irrelevant, dont you think?" and "the Jundees will fight, I have been with them doing it, have you?" It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

I am sorry this isnt very funny, there just hasnt been a whole helluva lot fun going on here. With so many missions, we are tired and tired people make mistakes. People who make mistakes here die. I have to constantly nag and bug and harass to keep the boys from forgetting, from getting sloppy or lazy. Fredette has started calling me the "team bitch". Oh well, if it keeps them alive, they can call me anything they want.

Mike

Letters From Iraq: Army Maj. Michael Mundell | News