August 18, 2005
Dear Family and Friends,
Many of you
were the recipients of my emails from Iraq... this is my first email
posting since my return and what a whirlwind it has been! It goes
without saying that it is great to be back. A few days ago I moved
back to Chicago. It is nice to be back home where I grew up. I am
living downtown and enjoying the hustle bustle of the city. I have
accepted an Attending Emergency Physician position at Advocate Christ
Medical Center. I am pretty excited about it. It is a level one
trauma center for adult and pediatric trauma and currently the busiest
trauma center in Chicago. There is also a residency program and
I will be heavily involved in teaching medical students, interns,
and residents. That is a big part of the reason I sought the position.
June 30, 2005 was my last day as an active duty Army soldier. What
a ride it has been since I joined the Army in 1995...from being
immersed in the front lines of combat in the ghettos of Baghdad,
Najaf, and Fallujah, to treating Saddam Hussein, to being promoted
to Major and thankfully returning to gain a new appreciation for
life. Now it is time to grow out my hair and enjoy the civilian
life that soldiers work so hard to preserve. From here I will be
on Inactive Ready Reserves (IRR) in the Army for two more years.
After this time I will decide whether to resign my commission and
receive an honorable discharge or to continue in the military. This
means that it is still theoretically possible for me to get deployed
again but it is much less likely. I guess it all kind of depends
on the world situation. Peace on Earth!!!
As for the book I am writing,
On Call in Iraq...it is currently editing. I hope to publish in
the next year or two. You can find details on the progress on future
postings on this website.
Yes, things have definitely turned for
the better. But returning from nearly 15 months in a combat zone
has its challenges as well. Some of these were anticipated and some
caught us off guard. We expected to be "free" once our plane landed
in the states. We hoped for an instant relief from everything after
returning to a peaceful land. But instead we found ourselves "trapped"
in the other things that engulf a soldier’s life after a prolonged
deployment. Mandatory debriefings took up the first several weeks
of our time. Then it was a matter of adjusting back to normal life.
These are a few of the challenges a soldier faces after returning
to the States:
- Everyday things seem trivial. For instance, sorting through 15 months of accumulated mail. Unlike Iraq, where survival was the only thing on our minds, here we become bogged down with errands that become a part of everyday life. Many soldiers come back to realize they are different people. It is amazing how life here remains the same despite the atrocities just a plane ride away. It is amazing how unaware some people are of it. It is amazing what people here complain about. It is amazing that these things once again become something we complain about. I guess that is a good thing.
- At times it seems that the United States is the "foreign land." Shopping malls with escalators and neon lights---weird---very weird. Talking about death, killing, or artillery is not normal dinner conversation. Loud noises are not the result of a mortar round. People are not standing on the top of bridges throwing down grenades. It is a lot more relaxing driving now, but I still find myself looking up while crossing under a bridge. Although, the nice part about Baghdad was no traffic rules! Driving through lawns and bumping vehicles out of the way definitely gets you from point A to point B faster! We were told that most soldiers get in car accidents shortly after returning. My car was totaled within 3 months (thankfully not my fault). Nonetheless, I am now a statistic. Here, we also pig out on good food and take regular showers. Good bye canteens, hello faucets! We appreciate air conditioning and heat. Sleeping bags and layering clothing can only provide so much warmth. Full uniforms, a 45 pound bullet-proof vest and kevlar helmet are not fun in 140 degree temperatures either. In addition we must meet societal norms—no more barking orders!—and reintegrate into society. For some this is no joking matter. We realize that normal infantry vocabulary is not acceptable in most public places. I had to think before speaking during my job interview after hanging out with 18 year old infantry "dudes" all year!
- Personal and relationship changes. Everyday we savor simple moments that we once took for granted. But in the back of our minds we are saddened by those we knew closely who did not make it back. We refocus our goals in life. We experience frequent mood changes for several months, some more than others. Life moves on for our loved ones here….even without us. Some soldiers have young babies who do not even know daddy. Marriages dissolve. The divorce rate amongst military officers after returning is over 70% according to some sources! The soldier may survive but unfortunately at times relationships are killed in the turmoil of a lengthy separation. We recognize the sacrifice that others in previous wars made. It’s much more than a simple sentence in a high school history book now.
I want to end my note to you all with a sincere thank you. I would
not have been able to make it through this difficult period of my
life without the outpouring of support from my family, friends,
and even strangers who have become my friends due to this deployment.
Everything - cards, emails, thoughts, prayers, photos, packaged
food - made a difference in my life. I will be forever grateful
for the support I received from all of you. I saved everything (well,
except for the food). Looking back through every scrap of paper
makes me smile that there are such caring people in the world. I
would like to keep in touch with all of you. If you are ever in
Chicago please let me know!
Peace! (and quiet!!),
My car is now making aluminum cans.
Sudip is home! - February 28, 2005
Just to let everyone know: Sudip is
indeed back home again. He flew back on February 21st and spent
a few days with family. I believe he now has a couple of weeks of
debriefing and such, but he's back from Iraq.
Going Home!!! - February 08, 2005
So now, after
nearly fifteen months in Iraq, we are getting ready to go
home. As the time draws near, the anticipation of reuniting
with loved ones becomes almost unbearable. It is hard to
imagine anything more wonderful than the first hugs from
family and friends. Over the last several months, we have
watched as our normal life passed us by. Soldiers have missed
the birth of their first child, first words, and first days
of school. They have missed birthdays, graduations, and
funerals of family members. We’ve missed good food, quiet,
a day off, showers, carpet, and mattresses. We’ve missed
everyone and everything in our lives.
combat environment to go home will definitely be an adjustment.
Our return to Fort Hood, Texas, will be followed by 14 days
of mandatory debriefings designed to help soldiers with
the adjustment process. “This is not Baghdad”, “Stop at
red lights – you will not be ambushed”, “Do not yell when
asking for something”, “You may have scary dreams.” Hmmm…
After a grueling
front-line tour through the peaks of insurgency in Baghdad,
Najaf, and Fallujah, we have seen everything ever shown
in a war movie. We have seen the hardest of men break down
and cry. We have believed in the cause and at times questioned
it. We have been told the truth. And we have been lied to.
We have watched and read about “experts” and “officials”
sitting in their air-conditioned offices, ordering us to
battle, boasting “they know how hard it is.” They will never
It is beyond
my comprehension that I served in the same battalion that
legends such as General Robert E. Lee once led. I marvel
at the fact that General George S. Patton was once a Captain
like myself in this same unit. These men seem so different
from me. I still have trouble grasping that Sudip Bose,
a regular guy with a regular upbringing, served in one of
the longest tours by a doctor since World War II for a front-line
infantry unit, was selected for promotion from Captain to
Major, and earned the Bronze Star. Since the time of General
Lee, much about combat has changed. Yet the challenges and
emotions remain the same:
up brain matter and closing the eyelids of a fellow soldier
prior to the command arriving to see his body
---The same shell shocked look in the eyes of a 35-year-old
sergeant as in a 19-year-old private
---Feeling a tingle down the spine when hearing the words
---Frantically tying a tourniquet as the patient bleeds
onto the sidewalk
---Assuring a soldier gasping from a collapsed lung and
open intestinal wounds that his friend is “okay” and promising
they will meet again
---Swearing at the radio after hearing we are receiving
twenty-four more patients after struggling with the resuscitation
of the first four
---Gaining new appreciation for life as shrapnel whizzes
---Providing care to the enemy who spits, swears, and glares
at you as you attempt to listen to his lungs. He recently
killed two fellow soldiers. He would have killed us too
if we had driven over his explosive device. He hates me.
---Receiving genuine gratefulness from Iraqi civilians,
fellow soldiers, and commanders after saving a life. They
---Jumping at the sound of harmless objects
---Hitting the ground looking for patients after an explosion
---Consoling a suicidal soldier who “just can’t take it
anymore!” while trying to keep self morale
---Riding in a vehicle with Kevlar helmet, eye protection,
flack vest, aid bag in hand, and M16 pointed out the window
---Knowing that kids are trying to kill us
---Staring the enemy in the face and realizing they are
ordinary men just like us-not monsters
---Telling a soldier’s wife and kids as a last dying request
that he fought hard
brave soldiers lost their lives here. They are the true
heroes. Their memories will live on and they will not be
forgotten. I am honored to have served with them and all
of the heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It was a
privilege to have done my duty for my country.
”The secret of contentment
is the realization that life is a gift, not a right”
ON CALL IN
This nonfiction book about our experiences in Iraq
— treating Saddam Hussein, providing medical support
while under attack, and enduring the daily hardships
in a combat zone — is currently editing. This book
will portray the situation in Baghdad, Najaf, and
Fallujah through our eyes as opposed to how it is
often portrayed by the media. Due to certain “red
tape” regulations and confidentiality issues it
will (hopefully) publish and hit bookstores near
you about one year after my release from the Army
in July 2005. Check back periodically to this website
for further details about purchasing the book. A
portion of any funds generated will go to those
we were blessed to treat but who are not fortunate
enough to read this book without assistance: the
blinded, paralyzed, and severely injured veterans
of this war.
Call in Iraq
memory of my brothers who paid the ultimate sacrifice
to my family and friends
whom this book would not be possible and for whom
I am eternally grateful Thank you for your support!
A Word from Colonel Miyamasu - December
Family and Friends,
Through the course of this deployment
we depend on the support of our family and friends. In fact,
back at Fort Hood, Texas, from where we deployed, the support
network is very elaborate. Every week our Battalion commander,
Colonel Miyamasu, updates the families back at Fort Hood.
Undoubtedly, Colonel Miyamasu will be a prominent General
in the Army one day after leading our Battalion through
rigorous battle in Baghdad, Najaf, and Fallujah. With his
permission, I share with you his last letter to our families.
I thought you may enjoy another person’s perspective
of life out here. In the letter he touches on our Thanksgiving
meal, our everyday missions in conjunction with the Marines
in Fallujah, and our living conditions. As you may have
recently heard, our Brigade has been extended and will not
likely return until the 16th month after our deployment.
The length of our Brigade’s tour is unprecedented and will
be the longest one since World War II. In his letter he
touches on the ups and downs of our morale.
The letter is more lengthy than my past emails to you,
but again, this is written for the families who want all
the details. I have added the parentheses to help decode
some of the military "lingo." Enjoy!
Hello everyone! Welcome to another edition of the TF
(Task Force) 1-5 weekly update. This week officially
starts the holiday season and we hope that you all had
a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were lucky enough to be
treated to a special "turkey day" meal ourselves. The
food was good, but not as good as home of course. but
it was hot, plenty of it..so it was good!
The next thirty days are a special time of year where
being with loved ones and friends is most important.
Although we will be separated from you this holiday
season, know that our love for you is a constant that
keeps our morale up and a goal for us to get back home
too! Also know that we are not alone out here. We are
a very close-knit group who has really taken to caring
for each other like brothers. We've been together a
long time (11 straight months) and truly do care for
one another. So think of us, but don't feel bad for
us. We're doing OK! Now YOU guys go on and have a happy
holiday season, enjoy the school break, and enjoy the
festivities that only this time of year can bring! With
that being said, I know what you came for so. LET'S
GET TO IT!
In the last ten days MNC-I (Multinational Corps-Iraq)
Forces have made tremendous progress in stabilizing
the city of Fallujah. Elements from the 1st Marine Division
have been relentless in their attack on the city. Resistance
has been reduced from large groups to only small pockets
of enemy fighters. The large number of insurgent killed
or captured during the retaking of the city has reduced
what used to be an insurgent/terrorist sanctuary to
a city that has seen war, but is relatively cleaned
out of these rogues. Recent offensive operations consisted
mostly of clearing buildings and residences on a house-to-house
basis. The phase of operations that we are currently
in, "shaping and clearing", is meant to flush out all
remaining enemy elements. Not only are we accomplishing
that, we have also uncovered several large weapons caches
consisting of IED (Improvised Explosive Device) making
material, rockets, mortars, artillery rounds, TNT and
plastic explosives, and small arms weapons. The capture
of these weapons has saved an untold number of U.S.
and MNC-I (Multinational Corps-Iraq) Soldiers' and Marines
lives. We will continue to conduct these counter insurgency
operations in Fallujah and its smaller surrounding towns
where intelligence reports show insurgents may have
Let me give you a brief overview of what happened. On
8 NOV 04, the 1st Marine Division began to employ indirect
fires and close air support to reduce known defensive
positions as well as clearing routes into Fallujah.
Two regimental combat (RCT) teams formed the attack
force into Fallujah. Both RCTs would attack from north
to south. RCT-1 was on the west and contained 2-7 CAV.
RCT-7 was in the east and they contained 2-2 IN, 1ID.
On the outer cordon was 2BCT (2nd Brigade Combat Team),
1CD (1st Cavalry Division) containing 1-5 CAV, 1-5 IN
(STRYKER, 25ID), 2 Marine Recon Battalion, and the 759th
MP Battalion. The 2BCT essentially established the cordon
around Fallujah from Baghdad to the Euphrates River
on the west. To the west of the Euphrates, 2BCT, 2ID
prevented the enemy from crossing the river, and the
3 Marine Light Armored Recon Battalion prevented crossing
of the river to the southwest. For our part, 1-5 CAV
had the north and northwestern portions of Fallujah,
1-5 IN had the northeast, 759th MP had the east and
all roads coming from the east, and 2 MAR RECON had
the southeast and south. We also had the 6th Battalion,
3rd Iraqi Army Brigade, which we employed in cordon
and search missions around our perimeter. Who best to
find a bad guy than an Iraqi, right? Within two days,
both RCT's had pushed to the mid-point of Fallujah and
began clearance operations to their rear as the numerous
tunnels and basements contained caches and insurgents.
There were three Iraqi Army Battalions that also did
clearing operations with the RCTs and from all accounts,
these units are indeed maturing into regular Army units.
The attack continued for about 6 more days when both
RCTs were able to break through the southern outskirts
of Fallujah and chase the enemy into the kill zones
of 2 MAR RECON. The RCTs are pulling some forces out
of Fallujah that have cleared their zones, but there
are still some Marine and Army units in contact with
small enemy elements. Because it's a built up urban
area, the advantage goes to the defender, which is the
enemy in this case. However, with our firepower, so
long as we can see the enemy, goes to us. They fire
an AK-47, we fire 120mm tank or 25mm Bradley cannon.
Seems fair to me.
Our mission was to secure Route MOBILE, a six-lane highway
that runs from Baghdad to Ramadi, and circumvents Fallujah
to the north. In securing this highway, the men had
to control both sides of the highway out to 2 kilometers
on each side of the highway. By keeping insurgents from
leaving, and insurgents from reinforcing the ones caught
in Fallujah, this established a cordon for the 1st Marine
Division forces entering the inner city of Fallujah.
In our zone, Commando was sealing off from the Euphrates
River to a position known as the Vehicle Control Point
1 (VCP1). Mad Dogs held the line from the VCP1 to a
bridge south along the Euphrates, and the area known
as the Joint Coordination Cell (JCC). The Bushmasters
held from the JCC to checkpoint 84. All the forces were
designed to keep civilians from crossing either out
of or into Fallujah across a major highway called Route
Mobile. Our sector at that time was 27 kilometers long,
or about 16 miles long. When 1-5 IN was called out to
move to Mosul to reattach itself to its parent Brigade,
we picked up their sector as well. However, we were
fortunate to get the Marines of Alpha Company, 2nd Light
Armored Recon (LAR) Battalion commanded by Capt John
Griffin. The "Apaches" took over defending our east
near the town of Kharma and did an exceptional job utilizing
a Marine tank platoon (the same one that fought with
us in Najaf) and a Bradley Platoon from Bushmasters.
This was a superb unit, and they did an outstanding
job. This brought our total frontage to about 60 kilometers
of area we had to cover, and the men did an outstanding
job. In fact, our cordon was so tight, the Marine Division
Commander had to order us to loosen it up so that "innocents"
could leave the area. The men were slightly upset that
we had to do that, but we took solace in the knowledge
that our cordon had done its job.
Since the last FRG (Family Readiness Group) letter we
have made some great improvements to our living conditions
here on Camp Baharia. By hiring trusted Iraqi nationals
to make the desired upgrades we were able to improve
our standard of living while gaining the trust and respect
of some of the honest and hard working people of Iraq.
When we first arrived at Camp Baharia we were shown
a barren field and instructed to make ourselves at home.
After the tents were erected and we took a look around,
we immediately started finding ways to improve our new
home. We have recently added wooden floors inside each
of the living tents so that Soldiers and their gear
are not in direct contact with the ground. We also had
an electrician install multiple light fixtures in each
tent so the Soldiers can see without the use of flashlights.
We have brought in several heaters per tent as the night
temperature is now beginning to dip into the forties.
These changes may sound very basic but believe me they
have made a vast improvement on Soldiers' opinion of
the FOB (Forward Operating Base). I should know, I am
living in the same tent with thirty other HAWG Soldiers!
This gives those Soldiers the opportunity to chill out
from the front line living conditions which are still
rough. Most guys know how the settlers lived back in
the late 1800s on the plains of the Midwest now. The
Soldiers have erected huts, lined with sandbags and
dirt, wooden floors, and makeshift showers. Aside from
naming the mice that run in and out of the shacks, the
guys are doing okay. We were able to get some portable
heaters that take some of the chill out of the night
air. Building up Baharia has helped let them take a
break, when they can, which is something they need.
We are all accustomed to eating the standard military
MRE (Meal Ready to Eat…ie. Boxed meal), but we have
arranged to receive at least one hot contracted KBR
meal a day. This meal usually comes as an early dinner
and contains a very healthy and delicious variety of
food, at least in comparison to an MRE! Our thanksgiving
meal consisted of turkey, roast beef, fried chicken,
mashed potatoes, waxed beans, macaroni and cheese, collard
greens, tomato pasta, stuffing, and gravy. We also had
over three types of deserts such as pecan pie, apple
pie, and angel layer cake. Gatorade, water, sodas, teas,
coffees, and other drinks were also available. We had
the meal served during daylight hours instead of our
usual night hours so that the food would stay warmer
on our plates. I think the men really enjoyed eating
their food. Leaders served the chow whether they were
out on the front lines or back in Baharia. It brought
a bit of civilization back to each of us, and took the
sting out of being apart from our families. We were
able to sit with a friend or brother and share in the
meal. In light of our circumstances, we still have much
to be thankful for. We have our families, our health,
and each other. Like many of the guys say now, "it could
be worse". I am thankful that I have these men to command,
and the families that support their Soldier. With CSM
(Command Sergeant Major)Steve Frennier as my battle
buddy, we have weathered many events as a unit. There
are more things in store, but I am thankful that I have
experienced these events with these men.
The improvements have all scored big hits with the Soldiers,
but the biggest improvement has to be the Army showers.
Showering facilities were not available to us for our
first few weeks here and we had to make do with whatever
means we had to include baby wipes, soap, shampoo, and
a bottle of water! Our supporting Quartermaster Company
built and runs our new shower for us. Not only are the
showers close and convenient, they are also warm, hot
even (most of the time until the generator runs out
of gas)! The Quartermaster Company that built us the
shower is from a reserve unit and has done an outstanding
job of providing support for us while we have been here.
They weren't doing anything back at Camp Fallujah, so
an enterprising NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) asked
them to come on over to our area and this unit jumped
at the chance to do their job. The opportunity to take
a hot shower has improved the morale of the men by leaps
and bounds. At least that stops us from being creative
with using deodorant. We were using it to try and suppress
our manly smells, but after awhile, even the deodorant
was losing out. We did figure out that you could put
a little under your nose at night and you didn't smell
yourself so much before you fell asleep. Heck, Einstein
invented the theory of relativity; we invented the relative
use of deodorant. I also think during reunion and reintegration
training, you all will have to remind us that there
is no water shortage in the United States, and taking
baths is a normal, everyday event for most people living
in the US of A.
Things were relatively quiet for us this week from an
operations side. Contact with any hostile elements was
almost non- existent. Companies worked in their sectors
and everything went smoothly. But we've come to expect
the unexpected as far as challenges are concerned. With
our job, you never know what situation may arise that
requires immediate attention in a moments notice. Sure
enough, when things were just about too quiet, we got
a report from a BUSHMASTER element that one of their
HMMWVs (humvee vehicle)) had rolled onto its side. It
was immediately assessed that no one was injured in
the incident. All we had to do now was deploy a recovery
asset to pull the vehicle back onto its wheels. The
catch? It had been raining for the last few days and
the ground was extremely soft. We couldn't very well
leave the vehicle on its side, so off went the ten-ton
"wrecker" to recover the vehicle.
A few hours go by, and we get another call but not the
call we expected. You guessed it; the ten-ton is now
stuck in the mud! When it was all said and done three
days had passed and three recovery vehicles, two Bradleys,
one bulldozer, one 10-ton wrecker, and one HMMWV had
to be unstuck! The upside to this episode is that no
one was injured. Some intel (intelligence) we did find
out about the canal system (some very obvious): The
canals are deep in some places (at least three guys
fell in); there are fresh water eels in the canal; the
water is very cold; the banks are very slippery; and
the canals are multi-purpose, from irrigation to drinking
to pooper mover. In any case, they guys that fell into
the canals took a shower when they were done with that
mission. The downside is that someone is surely going
to be the butt of some ribbing at the next BLACK KNIGHT
The companies have done a great job of being flexible,
as usual. They have accomplished all additional tasks
assigned to them and continually meet and overcome a
variety of challenges along the way. Recently the COMMANDOS
have been tasked to conduct a mission with a Marine
Corp element. The mission will keep MNC-I (Multinational
Corps-Iraq) forces in pursuit of insurgent leadership
into the surrounding areas of Fallujah. This is just
one of the many ways that the presence of Task Force
1-5 and other 2BCT (2nd Brigade Combat team) elements
has added to the overall flexibility and combat effectiveness
of MNC-I forces during recent combat operations in Fallujah.
All the companies have come under one form or another
of enemy contact whether it has been small arms fire
or mortar fire. In all instances, the men have done
an outstanding job of keeping their composure, and getting
their jobs completed. Your Soldiers are battle tested,
and there isn't much that they haven't seen before.
I am very proud of them.
With the heaviest fighting of Fallujah behind us, we
are subject to move to another area of operation in
support of the disruption missions assigned to the Multi-National
Corps-Iraq (MNC- I). Along with 2BCT, our TF (Task Force)
is part of the Operational Reserve force (OPRES) which
is subject to the taskings of MNC-I. Essentially, we
go to the trouble spots that units in contact are having
difficulties suppressing. There are many reasons why
units in contact could have this problem, but the 2BCT
is the Corps' answer to filling the shortfall in combat
power. There has been an unintended cost of having done
well in the past. In many discussions of future operations,
our TF comes up as one of the solutions. It has become
a badge of honor for the men. We don't necessarily like
the fact that we are subject to moving around Iraq,
but we do feel good about being known for our ability
to get the tough missions accomplished. There are several
areas that we could go to, to include moving back into
Baghdad. However, as we get sent to new places, we'll
get word back to where we are located. Currently, both
the 1st Cavalry Division and the 1st Marine Division
are trying to keep us, or get us, under their control.
We'll see how that works out, and that will determine
how much longer we stay in Fallujah, and where we go
next. Interestingly enough, the Commanding General and
Command Sergeant Major of the 1st Marine Division came
by and visited us before the big fight and talked with
some of the Soldiers. At the end, they turned to me
and CSM (Command Sergeant Major) Frennier and remarked
what a pleasure it was to meet our guys. None of them
asked for anything, and they were ready to do their
mission. They said that so many other units were asking
for so many things and stating their challenges. They
felt very confident that we would get our mission done,
and we did.
I'd like to talk about the recent redeployment news
that caught some by surprise, and frustrated many. I
can honestly say that all of us, to a man, were extremely
disappointed when the announcement was made that we
were extended till mid-March 2005. Interestingly enough,
the FRGs (Family Readiness Groups) found out about this
announcement before the leadership did through a VTC
(Video Teleconference), an attempt by the senior chain
of command to get the information into the hands of
the FRGs as soon as possible. The FRG Leaders then did
what they are designed to do, inform the FRG members,
by putting out a pretty good notice about the announcement.
I commend the FRG Leaders for getting the information
out as soon as they did since we've always been in the
position to put out the information we had, good or
bad, as soon as we had it. I in turn made a radio announcement
over the Task Force Command net to let the units and
Soldiers know what had happened. As disappointing as
the news was, what was interesting from my perspective
was the fact that the men came up to me and said they
felt this was going to happen only because they knew
going into this operation that we might be here this
long. They weren't happy, but they were ready to continue
their mission. I won't lie. Some of the men were angry,
some were sad, and three guys were happy they were getting
an extra $1000 a month (I will send them to psych eval
after we redeploy). As the CSM and I get out on the
ground with the guys, I think they've weathered the
storm of the information and are ready to move on with
whatever missions come our way. Our role in the elections
hasn't been defined for us yet, but I don't expect that
to be clear until the agency coordinating the elections
briefs their plan to the government and to our military
leaders. It could take awhile before we hear anything
on that. In the meantime, there are probably some moves
within Iraq that we will make prior to the elections
occurring. Like I mentioned before, we'll let you know
where we are once we get there.
I cannot sugarcoat the news. I tend to be a "glass is
half- full" type, but it did take my breath away for
a minute. Brenda (Colonel Miyamasu’s wife and head of
the Family Readiness Group) told me that the response
back at home ran the gamut of emotion, and interestingly
enough, some supporters rallied to help those who were
angry. I told Brenda that the men probably reflected
emotions back home for awhile, but I also know that
many of us know that the harder tasks in life are being
accomplished back at home. You see, even though it is
dangerous here, we are trained to deal with the events
that happen here. Our equipment is good, our NCOs (Non
Commissioned Officers) are the best, and the officers
are doing their best to keep us moving in a positive
direction. We don't have many distractions here in Iraq,
even less when we're on missions like Fallujah and Najaf.
We have learned to help one another to get through things,
fix things, and accomplish tasks together. But, we know
that there are a myriad of tasks that you must complete
on a day-to-day basis that challenge you and the kids,
and the distractions to your time are plentiful. I think
the knowledge that we are not able to fully assist you
in getting these things done is the foremost reason
that the men were sad. We know that you all are doing
your very best to make things work back there, and we
are so very, very proud of you. We know that it isn't
easy, and the sacrifices you are making are immeasurable.
Yet, when our deployment is over, and we can all look
back on what each of us has accomplished, all of us
will have become much better people because of it. It
is a tough price to pay to become the people we are,
but it is something that so many citizens in the United
States will be grateful for. Yes, they will be grateful
for your actions as well as ours. Only the finest families
can deal with this type of adversity, and they reside
So, I ask that all of us hang in there. I gave the men
24 hours to complain about the news. Some took 36 hours;
some took 12. I think we're all focused again on getting
the mission done, whatever the mission may be. Your
Soldiers have built a reputation on being a no- nonsense
unit, ready to fix any problems that may occur. They
don't pound their chest and brag about themselves. They
walk with a confidence that only fighters have, ones
that have seen the worst that life can throw at them,
EML (Leave to the U.S) has restarted and we're sending
60 guys home in DEC leaving 19 more that haven't taken
EML or emergency leave. These Soldiers will go back
in JAN. I have put in place a policy that prevents officers
and senior NCOs from being back on EML over the Christmas
Holidays. Those slots are going to the Soldiers. We
are looking at putting some guys who arrived to the
theater after we arrived, and those that took early
emergency leave, as possibly going on EML too. We'll
let you know what that decision is when it is approved.
In regards to the extra $1000 per month, we still don't
know how that will be paid to us whether it starts the
month that it takes affect or we have to file for this
after we redeploy. We will find out and let everyone
know as soon as we know. Finally, where we will fly
out of back to the states will probably be from Kuwait.
There are plans that allow some Soldiers to fly from
Baghdad to the states, but most of us will go out of
Kuwait. It's too early to even speculate about the redeployment
flights, but once we're in Kuwait, it'll become much
As for me, I look forward to coming home and helping
Brenda with raising the kids, maintaining the household,
and changing the oil of the cars. Yes, Brenda is trying
to set an endurance record for engine oil, so we'll
have to fix that when I get home. I also have the additional
duties of cleaning hairbrushes, picking up dog poop,
and cleaning the kitty litter. I have much to look forward
to when I get home!
Well, that concludes another wrap up of the latest actions
and activities of the TF 1-5 BLACK KNIGHTS. Thank you
for all that you are doing to keep the home fires burning,
and please be safe during this holiday season. Have
a great month leading up to Christmas!!!! We're hoping
Santa makes an appearance over here too. Hopefully he
will bring us something other than Beef Stew MREs. We
love you and are thinking of you all! See you next week.
LTC Myles Miyamasu and CSM Steve Frennier
Colonel Miyamasu briefs us prior to mission.
Colonel Miyamasu and Command Sergeant Major Frennier award
the Combat Medical Badge earned for “participating in combat
operations under enemy hostile fire to liberate Iraq.” Standing
on my right is my partner in crime, physician assistant,
Lieutenant Dean Stulz.
Be Thankful! - November 23, 2004
Family and Friends,
As Thanksgiving approaches we wish
we could be close to family and friends for the holidays.
After an especially long year, this is something we were
looking forward to. Unfortunately this will not be possible
for about 140, 000 troops who will remain in Iraq through
the holiday season. This has been an extremely challenging
year for us and many more challenges await us. However,
this year has been very enlightening as well. In spite of
the current situation, I find that this year I am probably
more thankful than ever for what I have. I would like to
share some of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving
Life. This nearby cloud of smoke from an explosion reminded
me once again that, yes, it could be worse! After a year
of avoiding mortar rounds, rocket propelled grenades, machine
gun fire, and bombs I am thankful for bad aim!
This piece of shrapnel in my left hand is from an improvised
explosive device that hit the window of our humvee. I cared
for two soldiers who were injured as a result. Thankfully,
they will recover fully. After every convoy on the harsh
streets of Baghdad, Najaf, Fallujah, or elsewhere I am thankful
for a safe trip.
I am thankful for tents. As pictured above, not every place
is equipped with them. It is hard for me to believe that
just a few months ago I was roasting in the 140 degree summers.
Now I find myself extremely thankful for a warm sleeping
bag and any sort of roof over my head as the temperatures
I am thankful for showers, hygiene, and the other daily
comforts I once took for granted.
I am thankful for good food (not pictured)-as scarce as
it may be!
It is uncertain how long I will remain here. In the next
few days we will most likely head out of Fallujah to the
next “hot spot” in Iraq. This is part of being a doctor
for a front line unit rather than for a support hospital.
You will probably find out about the same time I do by watching
the news. I have had my share of excitement for this year.
Hopefully soon enough I will return to a land of peace and
quiet. For that I will be very thankful!
From One Suburb to Another!
Family and Friends,
I have landed "safely" into Baghdad today after a brief
leave to the U.S. My leave was very nice although short.
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to contact
or see everyone I wanted to. Actually, I did not expect
to receive leave and even my parents did not know I was
coming until I knocked on their door at 11:30 PM a few days
ago! That was definitely a sight to see! After almost giving
them a stroke, I realized I probably should avoid doing
such things! After standing at the door staring with their
jaws dropped to the ground, I politely asked them "can I
come in now?"
Much of my time was spent hoarding good food, sleeping on
a mattress, and showering. Ahhhh, luxury. It's amazing how
much faster time flies by in the States than out here! After
spending a few days in suburbia, I now return to the joyful
land of Baghdad....
Lucky for me, here too I get to experience suburbia! In
a matter of hours I will fly by Blackhawk to a "suburb"
of Baghdad. I have been selected to provide forward medical
coverage for ongoing missions in the streets of Fallujah.
The fighting remains intense there. Although I will find
out more after I arrive, I am told I will be living in tents
and out of our vehicles with no showers, limited electricity,
and no internet. We will not be able to receive mail from
now either. You may not hear from me for some time possibly
so please keep in mind at this point, no news is good news!
You are in my thoughts.
The Past, The Present and the
Future - October
Family and Friends,
I write you once again with my latest update from Iraq.
As my friends, you have most likely recognized by now that
you have become the target of my outlet: writing. It has
become more so as I wrap up my book which I hope to publish.
At this point it is ready to submit to a publisher (in case
any of you have any contacts with publishers please let
me know). I never really recognized writing as an outlet
for me, but then again I never really pictured myself getting
sent to war either. By now an email from me to you about
once a month has become somewhat predictable. Life here
has been anything but…
In some ways I consider myself
extremely unlucky to have our unit quite possibly extended
for a longer tour. In other ways I feel extremely blessed.
Perhaps the greatest blessing is having the opportunity
to care for and associate with the soldiers who are the
true heroes of this war. I have been lucky in other ways
as well. After dining several times at the "Green Zone Cafe"
the cafe as destroyed by a suicide bomber THE DAY AFTER I
left the green zone! Some of my friends joke that I am not
the most punctual person at times but this timing could
not have been better!
On the 14th of October I was told to move out of my room
for the arrival of the 10th Mountain Division Army unit
as we prepare to move elsewhere. I thought I would be a
lot happier seeing this unit arrive. However, the arrival
of our "replacement" unit does not mean we are going home
anytime soon. I grumbled as I moved all my items to another
room. I find moving to be an annoying task and mumbled the
whole time as I made multiple trips lugging my belongings.
It took all day. I was in a bitter mood. This had been my
room from February until October 14th. On the 15th of October
a mortar round landed IN MY OLD ROOM! My cot I slept in
just one day earlier now lay in rubble and shattered glass.
With another example of my stellar punctuality, suddenly
my bitter mood changed!
A couple of days ago I was convoying in an armored humvee
in the streets of Baghdad returning to our post. Suddenly
we arrived to a standstill traffic jam. The streets were
crowded. All cars were stopped. Apparently, there was news
of an unexploded car bomb up ahead. Instead of turning around
and taking another route (which seemed the most logical
solution to me), we were radioed by the base and told to
"hold security" around the bomb. Yes, "hold security!" The
crowds flooded the streets. The Iraqi police sirens screamed
around us. And we stood like sitting ducks around our humvees
in the vicinity of an unexploded car bomb with our weapons
"holding security." As the doctor what I was securing I
don't exactly know, but nonetheless I was "holding security."
Don't ask-just execute! What ended up detonating was a harmless
smoke grenade. Luckily nothing exploded. Once again, I breathe
a sigh of relief. Yes, it could be worse.
Now we stare in the face of yet another challenge. Now
approaching our 11th month, we find ourselves possibly traveling
to secure yet another city in our grand tour of Iraq. A
city that you will definitely hear about as the Iraqi elections
approach. This will most likely mean living out of our vehicles
once again like we did in Najaf. We are told mail will not
be delivered to us if postmarked after the 15th of November.
Quite possibly we will have no internet. None of this is
certain yet. Like I mentioned in my last email to you our
destiny is as clear as mud. However, this appears to be
Let's shift gears from our future to our past. For a
change in pace, I thought I would write more about the history
of the unit for which I am the doctor. From what we are
told, we are the "heaviest" Brigade in Iraq at this time
in terms of armor and weaponry. The Battalion I am the sole
doctor for (1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry
Division) included greats such as Robert E. Lee and has
fought alongside General Custer and General MacArthur. It
has played critical roles in the Civil War, World War, Korean
War, Vietnam, etc. This Battalion has earned unit citations
from the President of the United States. History repeats
itself, and one day Baghdad, Najaf, and our next locations
will be added to the unit history. I was never really a
history buff, but I found the excerpt that I have attached
below interesting. Sometimes I wonder what it must have
been like to experience the other adventures encountered
by this Battalion. I wonder if their doctor felt the same
way I do. Maybe their doctor had a group of good friends
like you guys to write letters to!
5th Cavalry Regimental History
The 5th Cavalry Regiment was organized on 03 March 1855
as the 2nd United States Cavalry Regiment at Louisville,
Kentucky with officers and troopers from Alabama, Maryland,
Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia.
In September of that same year, the Regiment relocated to
Texas. Two years later, LTC Robert E. Lee took command and
the Regiment spent four years fighting 13 campaigns against
Native American tribes of the American Southwest. In March
of 1861, the Regiment moved from Texas to Carlisle, Pennsylvania
where the officers and men loyal to the South left the Regiment
to serve in the Confederacy. The Regiment was refitted with
new troopers and officers, organized under the Army of the
Potomac, and fought its first battle of the Civil War at
Bull-Run. On 10 August 1861, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment
was re-designated as the 5th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, and
went on to fight with distinction in more than 17 campaigns
at places like Gaine's Mill, Fairfax Courthouse, Falling
Waters, Martinsburg, the Wilderness, Shenandoah Valley,
and Appomattox. It was at Gaine's Mill on 27 June 1862,
that the regiment made a valiant charge and stopped the
advance of a Confederate Division commanded by General John
Bell Hood, saving the Artillery of the Army of the Potomac
In September 1868, the regiment received orders to prepare
for duty against hostile Indians in Kansas and Nebraska.
For several years the 5th Cavalry fought many skirmishes
and battles with the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Apache
Indians. After General Custer and 264 of his men of the
7th Cavalry perished at Little Big Horn, troopers of the
5th Cavalry Regiment rode after the Sioux to avenge their
deaths. In 1898, the regiment traveled from San Antonio
to the embarkation port of Tampa, Florida to enter the Spanish
American War. More than 17,000 troops, including the 5th
Cavalry, landed on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. In
1901, a bloody insurrection broke out on the distant islands
of the Philippines. Dismounted, they battled in the jungles
of the Pacific to end the Moro Insurrection. In 1913, border
threats to the United States brought the regiment back to
the deserts of the Southwest. In 1916, the regiment was
dispatched to the Mexican border to serve as part of the
Mexican Punitive Expedition. Under "BlackJack" Pershing,
the 5th Regiment crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico and
was successful in stopping the border raids conducted by
bandits of Pancho Villa and eliminating the national threat
from the Southwest.
On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked the American
fleet at Pearl Harbor. In February 1943, the 5th Cavalry
Regiment was alerted for an overseas assignment. Soldiers
of the 5th Cavalry Regiment dismounted and moved to the
Southwest Pacific Theater. Over the next year and a half,
the Regiment distinguished itself in some of the most desperate
and bloody battles of the Second World War. The 5th Cavalry
battled ashore with General Douglas MacArthur to liberate
the Philippine Islands during the invasions of Leyte and
Luzon. During the battle for Luzon, troopers from the 5th
Cavalry Regiment were among the first soldiers to enter
and free the Philippine Capital of Manila.
The Korean War began shortly before dawn on 25 June 1950
and the 5th Cavalry was among the first to deploy to the
Korean battlefield. The Regiment was thrown into the desperate
battle around the South Korean port city of Pusan. Troopers
of 5th Cav held their portions of the perimeter around Pusan
for more than 50 days against overwhelming numbers of enemy
forces. At one time they defended against more than five
North Korean Divisions. Later, during the drive north, the
5th Cavalry Regiment was the first unit to enter and occupy
the North Korean capitol of Pyongyang. On 1 July 1965, the
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was officially activated
for combat duty in the Republic of Vietnam. In the Oriental
calendar year of the "Horse", 5th Cavalry Regiment soldiers
had returned to war wearing the famous and feared patch
of the First Cavalry Division. The newly arrived Sky troopers
wasted little time in getting into action, going into battle
on 18 September 1965. Fifth Cavalry troopers found themselves
fighting against Viet Cong guerillas and determined North
Vietnamese regulars for almost 8 years and 16 campaigns.
As a result of its gallant actions, the Regiment was awarded
two presidential Unit Citations and the Valorous Unit Citation
In August 1990 the BLACK KNIGHTS were alerted for deployment
to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield.
On 24 February 1991 the ground war began and the BLACK KNIGHTS
found themselves fighting in the greatest mechanized battle
since the Second World War. The Black Knights along with
the rest of the 1st Cavalry Division conducted a successful
"feint" which froze four Iraqi divisions, allowing the VII
Corps to envelop the Iraqi forces from the west virtually
Our Future in Iraq: As Clear
as Mud - October 06, 2004
The most eventful news I write to inform you about today
is that we are staying through the Iraqi elections. Thus
the "one year" deployment will likely surpass the 365-day
mark since we left the states.
WHAT went into this decision
of probable extension of our tour? We are told this decision
wasn't made lightly, and required a significant amount of
decisions at the highest levels to keep our Brigade here
The next logical question is WHY? With increasing opposition
in Iraq now, we will become part of the Multi-National Corps
who will use us as a fire-fighting unit, with the ability
to move to risky areas and support the headquarters responsible
for that area.
The next big question that remains unanswered is WHERE?
Instead of winding down and preparing to return to the States
during this 10th month of deployment, we could end up staying
in Baghdad, or moving to any of the cities you read about
in the papers or see on the news. Uncertain.
Although publicly units are now deployed for "one year,"
a longer tour is more on the lines of what we anticipated.
The big question is this: "one year from WHEN?" That question
remains to be answered. No time soon…
The good news is that this allows for more soldiers,
if not all of us, to return to the states for 2 weeks of
leave. Wait a minute, "if not all of us?" "Then WHO?"
The other good news is that we can still receive packages
and mail through November and maybe have it stop in early
With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, politicians
continue to debate the future of Iraq. Besides "WHO?, WHAT?,
WHEN?, WHERE?, and WHY?," our future out here is pretty
clear! As far as the question "WHAT NEXT?" - My answer is
the same it has been all year - just grin and bear it! It
could be worse!
You are in my thoughts,
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words!
- September 06, 2004
Family and Friends,
I am now out of Najaf and back in
Baghdad after a 10 hour road convoy. It was a very intense
month. Still have all my fingers to type this email to you
as well as my sanity (I think???!!!). I never thought I'd
hear myself say "I can't wait until I get back to Baghdad!"
A paradise by no means, but I guess it's all relative.
We were returned here to provide security and medical
coverage for the upcoming 8-million-man holiday march. The
last holiday march resulted in bombings, uncontrollable
crowds, flames on the streets, and multiple bruises from
thrown stones. This one will hopefully be less eventful.
Many of you want to know "what is it like out there?"
I'm sure there is lots of coverage on the news. I have already
shared pictures with you of my living conditions. Here are
some more personal shots that I would like to share with
you guys. I tried not to make them too gory! Enjoy!
Patient care. Trauma, trauma, and more trauma! We
are "on call" 24 hours a day for the whole deployment…
ready for whatever whenever.
This unfortunate patient was shot in the chest and
required emergent bilateral thoracotomy (needed
his chest opened on both sides). We are performing
internal cardiac massage in this picture. This was
done in the inside of a tent in Najaf.
Patients are evacuated to the Combat Support Hospital
in Baghdad by helicopter after we stabilize them.
Eventually, if seriously injured, they return to
Germany then the States. "Have an extra seat for
Recreation. Exercising during free time. Not much
else to do! When I am bored and have time to work
out that is a good thing. When the doctor is "bored"
we are not taking casualties. Doctor boredom is
welcomed! Conveniently located mortar bunkers in
the background in case of attack! Workout routine:
Pull-ups, hear explosion, run under bunker, duck,
do more pull-ups. Joy.
This is the cemetery where much of the fighting
took place in Najaf.
Imagine a dense cemetery 3 kilometers x 2 kilometers
with countless tombstones, underground tombs, underground
stairwells, and tunnel systems. Then imagine Al-Sadr
militia fighters popping out and shooting! Boo!
1st Cavalry medic in the streets of Najaf by the
Imam Ali mosque. This mosque was occupied by Muqtadr
Al-Sadr and his militia for about one year until
last month's activities helped return it to the
people of Iraq. Al-Sadr and his militia were forced
to put down weapons and evacuate. The date is incorrect
on this picture.
Pretty self explanatory! These are the improvised
explosive devices (I.E.D s) that are randomly scattered
on the roads. Wrong place at the wrong time=game
Much of our missions are done at night. This shot
is through the night vision goggles we are issued.
They are like binoculars and that is why the picture
is circular. Yes, everything does look green viewing
Unfortunately funeral ceremonies are a reality out
here. Too many brave soldiers have lost their lives.
Soldier formation during funeral ceremony.
Meeting with 4 Star General Casey who is in charge
of the multinational forces in Iraq.
all enjoyed! You are in my thoughts and I look forward
to the day I can use my now battered, sand-filled
camera to take pictures with you all!
Thank you for your support.
Peace in the middle east (yeah right),
Deployment motto: "It could be worse!"
Think About It!
- August 09, 2004
Family and Friends:
Who Would've Thought?
Muktadr Al Sadr. He is a radical Shiite cleric in Iraq
stirring up much trouble for the coalition forces. In April
alone, he and his militia were responsible for over 100
U.S. solider deaths. He is 30 years old.
Sudip Bose. A regular guy with a fairly normal upbringing
stirring up no trouble and minding his own business! I too
am 30 years old.
We live on opposite ends of the world. We have totally
different lives. I grew up one way. He grew up another.
Under ordinary circumstances our paths would have never
crossed. Never. But now I wonder how could this man have
such an effect on my life? Many people have shaped me into
the person I am today. Parents, family, teachers, coaches,
professors, neighbors, and friends. All of you. But Muktadr
I am no longer in Baghdad. I am now heavily immersed
as front line medical support and the sole doctor in a series
of intense raids aimed at capturing Muktadr Al Sadr. The
pursuit of this man and his militia has completely altered
my life here. I am coupled with select Marine troops (who
do not have their own doctor) and elements of my Army battalion.
The fighting is extremely intense. This is not car bombs.
This is not explosive devices. This is one force (us) versus
another force (the Al Sadr militia) on the battlefield which
is a cemetery in Najaf, Iraq. In the thick of things I am
immersed. Who would've thought?
Since my last letter to you all this trip out of Baghdad
was not quite the one I had anticipated. With about 4 hours
notice I was emergently pulled from my weekly shift at the
Combat Support Hospital and instructed to pack up my items
and head "elsewhere." After several hours of convoy, now
I write you from Najaf, Iraq. I have been here for a few
days now. Who would've thought?
I roll around the streets of Najaf in a tracked vehicle.
We stop and set up the canopy. It is here we treat patients.
It is my life. I sleep in it. In the afternoon sun I roast
in it. I watch blackhawk and apache helicopters flying overhead
in it. I hear loud explosions from it. I transport in it.
I work out of it. I live in it. Hey, not all of us are lucky
enough to work out of our own home!
Life is no longer out of a building once infested
with rats. But now I long for that. Who would've
thought? No longer in Baghdad for now. Now a homeless
nomad in Najaf, Iraq. Uncertain where I will be
even two weeks from now. Uncertain if I will live
out of this vehicle and sleep in the cot pictured
on the side of it for the rest of my deployment
(March 2005?). Uncertain when and if I will have
internet access again. Uncertain if we will accomplish
the mission of capturing this man. Uncertain if
I will be able to one day look the man who placed
me in this intense battle in the face. Uncertain
why I do not feel anger or hate towards this man,
just awe that his actions can affect my life in
such a significant manner. Uncertain how and why
things end up the way they do.
I lie on the top of a tracked vehicle staring
at the stars in the desert sky. I try to motivate
for another intense mission. I ponder the above
thoughts. Think? Don't think! Just execute! This
is the life of a deployed soldier in Iraq.
Baghdad: Let's Talk Positive!
- July 11, 2004
Just wanted to say hi again. I hope everyone
had a good 4th of July weekend. Usually I celebrate
Independence Day by seeing fireworks. This year
the "fireworks" were a little different. Very
Thank you for your emails. I realize I have
been delinquent on many replies. Whenever a
soldier dies here all communication is cut off
until the family is notified. Although there
has been progress with internet cafe here I find
at times it is several days before I can make
it there and when I do the computers often do
not work or are very slow. Kind of like the
state of this country...in the process of rebuilding
but not quite there yet. Nonetheless, thank
you for your emails and support. It is so much
The Iraq situation is often portrayed negatively.
Soldiers dying. 12-15 month deployments often
without mid-tour leave (as in my case). Unbearable
climate. Many locals taking what we are trying
to give them with one hand and attempting to
kill us with the other. The media and recent
movies have pointed out the explosions, death,
and darkness. There is definitely truth in that.
But even through the harshest of combat environments
some positives do pop up here and there. I thought
I'd change the tone of this email and try to
point out some of the positives, both on a larger
level and for myself. It is the things below
that help me through these times.
The Larger Glass is Half Full:
Optimism: Iraq is "free". The local Iraqis
can hopefully shed the cloak of dependency and
assume taking more matters in their own hands.
Optimism: Bad Aim. People firing mortars
have terrible aim. Worse than a doctor with
an M16 machine gun! Their misfires make for
fewer casualties (and interesting stories!).
Optimism: Rebuilding of a nation. Millions
of dollars have been put into repairing sewer
systems, taking trash off the streets, and renovating
buildings. We live by a circular road which
troops had termed "stinky circle". It is now
a little less stinky. Even our area of Baghdad
is more livable. My building is no longer severely
rat infested. Painted, shattered windows repaired
(until they are shattered again). Plumbing fixed.
Fewer power outages. For a while there the electric
wires were crossed with showers so we were getting
shocked when touching the faucet!
Optimism: Rebuilding of local hospitals and
Optimism: More children immunized.
Optimism: School textbooks don't mention
Saddam Hussein for the first time in 30 years.
Optimism: Interacting with local physicians.
"Emergency Medicine" is not a specialty here
yet. MUCH needed.
Optimism: Reaching out to the youth who will
hopefully one day like Americans. More smiles,
waves, handshakes. Hopefully they will enjoy
the life I one day hope to return to once deployment
Optimism: Caring for 2 children with a life
threatening blood disease and trying to arrange
for their care in the United States.
The Smaller Glass is Half Full:
Optimism: I am still physically and mentally
and emotionally healthy. I wish we could all
say the same. If I make it home without any
injuries and am sane I cannot complain.
Optimism: Knowing this hell is only temporary
Optimism: Recognizing happiness does not
come from material goods or money
Optimism: An uneventful day.
Optimism: Watching DVD movies on those uneventful
days. Saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" 2 days after it
came out in the States! Interesting (and much
more relaxing) seeing the raids in Iraq on a
computer screen rather than in life. The copies
are bootlegged versions taken by someone in
the local theaters with a camcorder. You can
hear popcorn crunching, people whispering, and
often see people walk in front of the screen!
It's like being in a theater!
Optimism: A shower, laundry, and fresh change
of clothes. This does not occur for us everyday.
Most of us only brought three uniforms for the
Optimism: Powder-for those other days. (I
have more than enough and don't need anymore-thanks)
Optimism: Getting sleep.
Optimism: Not getting crazy war dreams during
Optimism: Life. Saving a life.
Optimism: Killing a nasty bug in my room.
Optimism: Trying the local food
Optimism: No diarrhea after the local food
(a.k.a. Saddam's revenge)
Optimism: Having V.I.P as a patient. (A very
famous bearded man now on trial). Now that he
is on trial I am allowed to share that I helped
take care of him. It was fascinating sitting
in the same room over six hours with this man.
Cannot say where I cared for him. Cannot say
for what. Patient confidentiality.
Optimism: Working out. Now I understand why
prisoners lift weights! Much of my free time
has been spent doing this.
Optimism: Unbelievable trauma experience.
Optimism: Having my friends reassure me I
am not "lanky" and "dorky." Thanks guys! You're
the best! This is how a recent front-page article
chose to describe me. Although, around 6'5"
infantry guys I probably do come off that way!
For the record, I did not join the military
for purely financial reasons and it was not
an "accident." Nor is Baghdad a "utopia." Definitely
an interesting read...
Optimism: Writing a book and hoping to publish
(looking for willing publisher)
Optimism: Getting to appreciate why I really
went into medicine.
Optimism: Air conditioning-when it works-to
bring the temperature down from 120 degrees
to a nice "cool" 90 degrees.
Optimism: Earning several military coins
as awards. "I went to Baghdad and all I got
was this lousy t-shirt!"
Optimism: Learning Arabic (well not really
but I know some words). "Alem" means pain. This
is the word I most commonly encounter.
Optimism: Care packages
Optimism: Support from family and friends
have been unbelievable. Even from those I have
not spoken to in years or have not even met!
Childhood, High School, Undergraduate, Med School,
Residency, and Work friends! Like a reunion
(kind of). Thank you guys!
Optimism: Support for my mom, dad, and sister
in the States (in many senses this is much harder
for them than for me). Thank you again.
Optimism: Receiving a "thank you"
Optimism: Recognizing life is short and even
one year can change the course of life forever.
Optimism: Receiving emails from animal activists
questioning why I dislike rats and spoke badly
of them on my last email. Made me chuckle. I
do not dislike rats. They have their home and
I have mine. We just need our space!
Optimism: Realizing "it's already been a
week." Although it seems to be going a lot faster
for the people who email me and say "Six months
already? Wow that was fast!" Uh huh...
Optimism: Porcelain toilets - hard to come
Yes this is miserable. But at times good
can come out of even the worst of situations.
The glass is half full not half empty. 6 months
down. I will be a happy man when I get to go
home! And that is something definitely positive
I hold on to!
"It Could be Worse"
Another "normal" day
- May 25, 2004
Dear Family and Friends,
Once again greetings
from Baghdad! Just wanted to send you all another
update to let you all know I am still doing
okay. Hope things are well for you all too.
I ponder what to write this time. Reminds
me of when I would come home from school back
in the day and my parents would ask.... "How
was your day? What happened in school today?"
I would always answer "nothing much." No matter
what happened to me the day seemed uneventful
from my perspective. Just the same old routine.
"Another normal day." I guess here too I have
fallen into the "same old routine." My life
is so different from that just 5 months ago,
yet things seem to be becoming more "normal."
Things that I would never have imagined myself
doing are becoming "normal."
-Blackhawk helicopter whizzing overhead....
-Tanks driving by constantly.... "normal."
-Providing medical support for daily and
nightly missions.... "normal"
-Buzz of army acronyms over our radios....
-Saw a porcupine trying to enter my building
(lizards, scorpions, rats and other unwanted
guests not welcome in this home).... "normal."
-Another packaged lunch.... "normal"
-Cross under a bridge while taking a quick
glance overhead that there is no one throwing
grenades from the top.... "normal."
-Another window shattered.... "normal."
-Put on my Kevlar helmet and my 40 lb bullet
proof flack vest and protective eyewear to venture
out on a convoy.... "normal." I cannot imagine
going anywhere without this gear on me. I wonder
if I would recognize myself in my old clothes
and longer hair anymore!
-Sweat.... "normal." It is getting extremely
warm out here. July/August reaches 125 degrees
in the shade from what I am told! Temperatures
as high as 150's last summer! That's okay though
since it's a "dry" heat!!!
Getting into the groove of things and realizing
the luxuries of home which I missed so much
earlier are becoming less and less of a craving.
Life out here is becoming "normal."
As June 30th approaches (the date for "turnover"
of Iraq) my schedule seems to remain the same.
Unfortunately this upcoming date does not mean
a plane trip home anytime soon. I hope this
deployment will be one year total (end in January
2005??!!), however I am expecting anything since
recent units have been extended. Who knows,
maybe one day I will become a permanent Baghdad
citizen! (No thanks). From a personal standpoint,
my job will be the exact same on June 29th as
it will be on July 1st. So will most of ours.
If anything, it may become busier for us as
more uprisings are anticipated.
From a medical standpoint, things have been
steady. My patients encompass a broad spectrum
mostly consisting of U.S. troops in Baghdad.
With my physician assistant on mid-tour leave,
I am pretty much the only front-line provider
on this north side of the city. At the Combat
Support Hospital I see most of the trauma cases
in Baghdad as well as occasional trauma patients
from Najaf, Fallujah, and other nearby towns
(Army, Marines, etc). I regularly care for Iraqi
prisoners of war (treated nobly may I add....sorry
to disappoint but won't see pictures of me with
abused prisoners on TVJ), Iraqi civilians, U.S.
contractors, and occasional V.I.P. patients...maybe
one day I will be allowed to reveal who. Just
as thought provoking is taking care of detainees
as they glare, spit, and curse at us. Many have
routine complaints. However, daily trauma care
too is becoming "normal."
The other day I saw a patient with a shoulder
injury. "How did you injure your shoulder?"
I asked. This soldier fell asleep on his cot
in an awkward position. His left arm fell asleep.
In the middle of the night his left arm lay
across his chest, heavy without sensation. In
a state of grogginess he awakens to feel "a
heavy arm" lying across his chest. Frantically
he reaches for his knife to stab the arm which
he mistakens to be someone else's limb. Perhaps
the enemy's arm reaching for his weapon? Luckily
there is no knife in proximity. He pulls his
left arm violently with his right arm and nearly
dislocates his own left shoulder! Nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory medications. Tylenol. Rest,
ice. Call me in the morning. "Normal" combat
Another soldier comes to me and hands me
his M16 weapon. "You must take this from me
doctor, or else I am afraid I will do something
I will regret." His wife had recently informed
him she was going to leave him for another man.
Many marriages and relationships suffer the
rigors of a 15 month deployment. Unfortunately
another "normal" patient.
I pronounced Sergeant XXX dead at 0130 in
the morning on the concrete. His intestines
protruding from his abdomen he lie lifeless
after an attack from a rocket propelled grenade
to his vehicle. My trembling medic informs me
"I was supposed to be in that vehicle!" His
mission had been recently changed due to unforeseen
circumstances. This was fortunate for the medic
or he may have met the same fate. He could barely
hold his composure. It is not usually the soldier
with the bullet holes that suffers from the
combat stress. It is his friend or acquaintance
who nearly missed becoming a casualty. A "normal"
I guess overall not very fun out here...
but unlike several others I have seen I still
have my arms, legs, and vision. No new holes
in me. Hopefully, it will stay this way. Fortunately
this is temporary and will end. I cannot complain.
One day I will look back at these "normal" days
as an abnormal memory.
Take care, thank you for hearing my stories
and for your support! As always you are in my
Deployment Motto: "It could be worse"
Proposed Solution for the Iraq
- April 21, 2004
Family and Friends,
3 AM Baghdad time.....
Thought I'd share my uniquely proposed "Bose's
Exit Plan From Iraq before June 30th" with you
all today.....I understand the Bush administration
and nations are debating the future of this
country.....below is my humble solution based
on a very eventful day:
The day began caring for an entire bus full
of Iraqi civilians who were open fired upon.
Yes... a bus full of patients with gunshot wounds!!!
THEN....the day REALLY started....
A prison filled with criminals was mortared
in Baghdad today and all of a sudden... "Bose,
we are receiving up to 50 patients." Absolute
chaos. Some dead and never even arrived to me.
Several others near-fatally injured.
Now here is the irony. This was a prison filled
with Iraqis suspected of anticoalition activities....the
ones who were firing mortars at us trying to
kill Americans but somehow got captured and
put in prison. Now the same people who they
were working with fired mortars at them! Firing
at their own "teammates!" Not only are these
select crazy people trying to kill us but now
they are succeeding at killing themselves! Insane!
Then it hit me! A brilliant idea! These people
are killing everyone! They are even killing
themselves now! If they continue to do this
maybe all the "bad guys" will take each other
out and there will be none left. The other good
Iraqis can live happily ever after and we can
smoothly exit the country....
At the rate things are going this may all even
occur before the proposed June 30th deadline!
Just a thought.....
You are in my thoughts......
Update from Baghdad - April
Family and Friends,
Thought I'd send out a hello to update everyone
about life in Baghdad. 2 months 20 some days
into deployment so far. Feels like an eternity
yet not even 3 months. The novelty is gone as
we settle into our "routines." Troops struggle
to keep morale up. Now we look ahead only to
see and endless tunnel of time. Maybe 10 more
months (hopefully), maybe 15 more months. Nobody
knows. Time just keeps ticking. And ticking.
And ticking. And ticking.
Days here seem to just turn like the pages
of a book exposed to an unpredictable wind.
On one page I take care of several marines.
They have been getting hit pretty hard as well.
On another page we prepare for missions attempting
to arrest an Anti-American leader here who is
stirring up much of our troubles. Another page
caring for ambushed civilians or prisoners of
war and children. Other pages are about preparing
for possible convoys into nearby town Fallujah
for upcoming operations due to recent events.
This morning I ate breakfast and saw a new friend
of mine. We exchanged hellos. This evening I
pronounced him dead and saw the contents of
his breakfast in his ruptured intestines. This
book gets uglier and uglier...and the ending
does not seem happy.
No new bruises for me thankfully. No more
getting pelted with stones. Unfortunately cannot
say the same for everyone else. Plenty of injuries.
The enemy is faceless and cowardly. They set
up explosive devices or fire rocket propelled
grenades from a distance and are often never
to be found again. Only to leave someone blinded,
paralyzed, permanently disabled, or lifeless.
Things have been exploding left and right here.
Bombs in hotels. Bombs in cars. Bombs in trucks.
Bombs in soda cans. Bombs in dead animals. Bombs
in tree branches. Bombs in potholes. Bombs in
people. Anti-American protests everywhere. Some
Iraqis are pro-American. Some are not. Probably
more eventful here than the news ever portrays....then
again I do not regularly get the news here...
Recently we (the 1st Cavalry) participated
in a series of intense raids called Operation
Iron Promise aimed at catching people firing
mortar rounds at us and seizing their weapons.
Raids happen daily and nightly here. Often I
accompany. Often I stay back on the street corner
in my vehicle waiting for patients. Often I
wait in my aid station and patients are evacuated
to me. Often I am at the 31st Combat Support
Hospital in the Green Zone of Baghdad. All I
know is that I am keeping busy...Often....
Few weeks ago we moved into a new building
about 1 block away from our last building. It
is located about a block west of the Tigris
River. This river has a lot of history behind
it and was supposedly once one of the origins
of human civilization. Our building looks like
it has been there since then! It was in a state
of shambles. Several days spent sweeping, mopping,
cleaning, trying to fix plumbing and electricity,
putting hinges on doors, and painting (actually
a nice break from seeing patients). The buildings
are filled with rats and these are no ordinary
rats. These are Darwinian rats... "survival
of the fittest" rats. They are nearly a foot
long with long tails and they pop out of nowhere!
We place mousetraps with peanut butter on them
and they lick the peanut butter and walk right
over the traps! They climb walls and gnaw through
food containers. They can be heard running above
our heads on the other side of the ceiling panel
and sometimes they fall through and land on
our beds. We have been getting used to being
attacked by mortar rounds and bombings here
in Baghdad....but frankly at times I think the
rats freak us out more! In the states you see
the movies where people jump on the couch and
scream when they see mice. Here the rats jump
up there with you. Thrilling....
Experience here is truly enlightening. There
are several things I miss....things that I often
took for granted.
1) Peace. I cannot imagine life in Israel/
Palestine/ other places in the world where people
constantly live in fear of death/explosions/terrorism.
For me it is only temporary and the memories
will last for life. From personal experience,
it is terrifying to be sitting in a room and
have the window explode from a mortar round
that landed few feet away...especially when
I just decided to stick around in the building
a few minutes longer and could have been outside
right where it landed! Also terrifying examining
the bullet holes through our ambulance door
by the seat that I was going to sit in but decided
not to (the person sitting there was not so
lucky). Going to the grocery store or to our
jobs without losing a limb is not something
to take for granted. I pray that the world does
not crumble to terrorism or other evil forces
where this is taken away from us. We had a taste
of this on September 11, 2001. Some people live
it everyday. It is truly miserable.
2) Fast food. I never thought I would crave
Pizza Hut and Taco Bell like I do. I think the
first month I return will be a dedicated "fast
food" month. The local food here is risky at
times...several diarrhea cases...we have nicknamed
the syndrome "Saddam's revenge"
3) Porcelain toilets (see Saddam's revenge
4) Showers. Warm showers. Clean showers.
5) Family and Friends...and thus I write
this letter to you all. Thank you so much for
On the other hand, there are actually certain
things I do not miss so much....
1) The daily "rat race." Things that I used
to find "annoying" are not an issue here. For
example, paying bills, filling up the gas tank,
sorting through junk mail (all mail is good
here), deadlines, routines, commitments, exams,
errands around the home, etc... In a weird sense
this is an interesting getaway with a whole
different set of stresses. Puts an interesting
perspective to prior stresses. Instead of worrying
about the "rat race" I worry about rats....
2) Not having to prepare my food or figure
out what to eat. There is one choice...the chow
hall...take it or leave it. Like it or not.
If it's moldy just don't eat it! Kind of like
a college cafeteria (except you are getting
Everyday we try to find something positive,
no matter how small, and try to hang on to it
until bedtime. Sometimes it is the grilled steak
night at the chow hall (rare) and other times
it is the nice email or letter. We savor those
moments and use them to drive on?..
Keep in touch (and sorry if I cannot do so
very well)! You guys are still in my thoughts.
What a day!
- March 02, 2004
Hello from Baghdad.....Joy....another mass email
from me (sorry for the mass email....internet
still fairly limited here:)
What a day today! So I awoke zero-early A.M.
in typical Army fashion. In a semi- comatose
state managed to down some breakfast (not very
tasty).... feeling a little under the weather.
Around 10 AM there was a bombing/Rocket propelled
grenade (who knows???) at a mosque in the Kadamiya
area of Baghdad about 1/2 mile from where I
spent the night. Absolute chaos! Our unit (1-5
Cav of 1st Cavalry Division) rolled out to the
site. I was in an armored humvee. The streets
were packed with thousands and thousands of
people.....celebrating the holiday of Ashovara.
This is a holiday in honor of Imam Hussein the
grandson prophet of Muhammed. The Shiite Muslims
feel he died in vain so mark this holiday by
slaying themselves (cutting etc...) as a means
of sacrifice. From our perspective this means
more suicide bombings....
As we rushed to
the site of the bombing the crowds began hurling
rocks at us. I was in a humvee with M16 pointed
out the window. The women in burkas spit at
our vehicles. Hoards pounded on the windows.
All there was was glass (windows halfway rolled
down so I could have my machine gun out the
window) between myself and thousands of angry
mobs.....somehow they were under the impression
that the bombing was the Americans' fault??!!?!
Security was posted (somewhat) and I exited
the vehicle to treat patients (hundreds of patients
some severely injured and some mildly). I was
the sole doctor with a few medics. Rocks bounced
off my kevlar (helmet). I don't know where the
heck all these rocks came from.....as if they
brought a dump truck filled with stones!!!???
I didn't think there were that many rocks in
the whole city! AK47 gunfire was heard in the
background. Save lives??? I couldn't even save
my own if my life counted on it!!!! It was absolutely
So several rock bruises and a slight limp later
I write this email to all of you.....extremely
thankful that these bruises were my only injuries
(although it was painful).....Sticks and stones
can break your bones!!! (Saliva, Arabic swear
words, and gunfire overhead is not too pleasant
We turned around and sought shelter behind the
walls of the compound before I really had a
chance to treat any patients. 6 ft high flames
were set around us and people attempted to climb
the walls and we warded them off with our weapons.....Needless
to say, I really earned my Combat Medical Badge
today for providing care in the direct line
of fire (and saliva, and rocks, and cussing)....My
life would have been just fine without it but
hey........ Absolutely nuts!!!!
I hope this goes down as my most terrifying
day in Baghdad and these go down as my only
injuries. I will consider myself extremely lucky.
For the most part the Iraqi people are very
friendly. There are a small percent who are
extremely anti-American. Today the whole mob
turned anti-American. It absolutely baffles
me how some of the most holy people in the world
(praying over 10 times a day) attempt to kill
us and injure us out of the same mosques they
pray in......with the same hands they pray with.....
I guess, then again, every group of people has
So not everyday has been like this. On the usually
calmer (yet still very eventful) days my time
is split between shifts at the Combat Support
Hospital in Baghdad and providing medical coverage
on patrols. Unfortunately still lots of trauma.....everyday.
On a brighter note, I was personally able to
meet with the Secretary of Health from George
Bush's Cabinet (Tommy Thompson) when he made
his visit to Baghdad. I was also able to converse
with Dr. Sanjay Gupta who provides the medical
coverage on CNN television. Just conversation....no
TV coverage.....no thanks.....not for me.....
Hope this email finds you all well. You are
all in my thoughts and thank you for reading
through my stories. Thank you for your support.
Take care my friends (and family),
CPT Sudip Bose
HHC 1-5 CAV, 1st Cavalry Division
Operation Iraqi Freedom
APO AE 09379
Home Sweet Baghdad
- February 08, 2004
Wow! I cannot even begin to put in one email
what I have experienced here in Baghdad since
I arrived on the 1st of February.
Anyways....the convoy went decently well....as
well as can be expected. Flat tire on one vehicle
from an explosive device. Gunfire in the distance....
who knows what they were aiming at. Some Iraqis
shoot in the air for celebration so it's hard
to distinguish. One of our medics shot an Iraqi
man on a rooftop who was aiming a weapon at
an Army vehicle while the tire was being changed.
Luckily no major injuries....Probably the most
heartbreaking thing was the little 3 year old
children in the villages waving to us on the
way and begging for food. We were ordered not
to give anything because then the kids run in
front of the military vehicles and injure themselves.
Really hard to say no and tell them to go away...
However, on the way, many camels, sheep and
desert miles later... we passed through the
quaint villages with villagers in traditional
attire....holding a can of Pringles potato chips
and Swimsuit Issue of Sports illustrated......truly
the Americans had arrived.......kind of humorous.
Then I arrived to BIAP (another happy army acronym
for Baghdad international Airport). We then
convoyed to the main camp/area we would be staying
in. There is absolutely nothing there. No phones,
internet, etc... It is a brand new prior unoccupied
area. The one good thing is the rooms are trailers
with heat (which is an upgrade from the tents
we were in prior that I sent a picture of)....or
is it an upgrade???? It poured the first night
and my room completely flooded! My clothes stayed
completely dry the whole trip up from the States
and got soaked in my room in Baghdad! Go figure.
Wore around wet stuff all day.
Kuwait was freezing. Baghdad is wet. Pick your
Then came the idea that they want me to stay
off the main base area in case of an attack
there. In that case I would be the treating
doctor. So I have been pretty mobile. Almost
everyone else stayed on the main base. I moved
out of my trailer and have been in different
areas. I have been treating patients in the
most random places. I saw a patient with a fracture
that I treated in the butcher shop of Odai's
(Saddam Hussein's dead son) palace. Once used
to chop chickens and now used to manipulate
human bones! I'm sure he would be proud. He
has a nice swimming pool where he had all his
parties but unfortunately no swimming for me
Now I am located just off the Tigris River.
Myself and a select few were supposed to stay
near the Iraqi Intelligence building (like their
C.I.A.). There is an nice building that was
once the General's home. Would be a nice place
to stay but slight problem...the Americans blew
a big hole in it with a missle when the war
first began! So I stayed in a room in some building
with no electricity, heat, open windows without
glass, human excement on the walls, and rats
running around. Glad I did this higher education
for the finer things in life! Talk about dollar
motels.....this was like the ten cent room!!!!
So now I write from a different area. Nice to
have internet for the first time. Our area gets
hit with mortar round around 8-9 times a day
but they dont seem to hit anything since they
are aiming from across the Tigris River. But
I do get to go on the joyous missions when we
attempt to catch the bozos doing this. I basically
sit about 1000 meters back waiting for casualties.
It is pretty neat to see the home raids though.
Sometimes I have to go into the homes with them....M16
machine gun in hand! Absolutely insane! Never
pictured myself doing this....Talk about uninvited
Today I went to the orphanage and tuberculosis
clinic and the university hospital. One of the
things our unit is attempting to do is to help
these facilities pick up on their own feet again.
This involves traveling the streets to get to
these areas. The streets remind me very much
of India or Mexico City. Similar feel. Similar
overcrowdedness. Similar ambience....except
for the fact that there are military helicopters
constantly flying overhead and people running
around in camoflauge with weapons. Sometimes
I feel like a sitting duck on the streets. But
then again I think I could die in my backyard
from a rattlesnake bite or at a busy intersection
in the States. How's that for rationalization?
I pray I am not at the wrong place at the wrong
time....wherever that may be.
Shortly I will begin shifts at the Combat Support
Hospital. They are staffed by a different unit
but they overlooked the fact that they are short
of emergency room doctors and have mostly family
practice doctors. This is the sole trauma center
in Baghdad and is located in the heart of downtown.
They want me to pull a couple of shifts there
a week in addition to the other excitement.
As you can see, the butcher shop and these broken
down buildings are not the opportune place for
internet access. The homes we raid may have
internet but I'm pretty sure I'm not invited
to use it:) Please do not get worried if you
do not hear from me for a while here and there.
I will be out of contact for certain periods
of time but will do my best to keep in touch.
I do know that I do receive mail....about 3
weeks for letters and 8 weeks for packages.
It will go to the main base and from there they
will track me down whereever I may be:
Captain Sudip Bose
HHC 1-5 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Operation Iraqi Freedom
People have been receiving mail at this address.
All mail needs U.S. postage rate on it (This
is an U.S. address) ....from there it gets shipped
to me. I think the packages are xrayed before
I receive them. I have plenty of food (and shipment
takes a while so food may not last) but I could
always use soap, toilet paper, old magazines,
newspaper clippings etc... ( I have no access
to the news as of now) I don't care....send
me a wad of chewed gum in an envelope and I'll
be happy :) You are in my thoughts!
Kuwait update - January 17, 2004
Still in Kuwait. Sorry I have not had a chance
to respond to emails....13,000 people at this camp
now with about 15 computers. Very limited access.
Access should be better from Baghdad. Around end
of this month we will convoy into Baghdad. We are
very anxiously anticipating this convoy as it will
almost inevitably result in the first casualties
from our unit. Supposedly a very dangerous hostile
convoy due to IED's (improvised explosive devices)
and gunfire. I will be the one doctor for about
150-200 vehicles on the convoy. I will have 2 physician
assistants and medics to help me.
On the first day of arrival the outside perimeter
of our camp was attacked and exchange of gunfire
occurred! A very warm welcome indeed! Since then
we have been dressed in full battle gear....a new
look for me....some of you may not recognize it
Also enclosed is
a picture of our luxurious tent. Home sweet Kuwait!
Now we have a water shortage as well. Thus showers
are rationed. If our weapons do not kill the enemy....our
body odor definitely will!!!
Otherwise been busy preparing/training the medics.
The assigned trauma surgeon for this camp had to
go on emergency leave so I am also carrying the
trauma pager for 13,000 people here. Also qualifying
on my M16. The other day we went to the firing range
but had to cancel because all the camel got in the
way. Kind of comical.
Take care everyone!
Will send more pictures from Baghdad....
Greetings from Kuwait!
- January 09, 2004
I arrived safely to Kuwait around 7AM on
1/9/04 Kuwait time (9 hours ahead of Central
Standard Time). It has been a crazy past 72
hours! Received my 48 hour (less than 48 hour)
notice on Monday of my Wednesday departure.
Somehow managed to move out my household goods
and tie up loose ends just in nick of time!
Usually plane trips drag...even from Austin
to Chicago when I go to visit my family. It
is amazing how fast this plane trip went....go
figure. Stopped through Gander, Canada; Shannon,
Ireland; and Cyprus. Life was a lot better before
I knew where Gander was :)
So here I am in Kuwait in a secret camp with
no lights, electricity or heat. It is pretty
cold. Internet access is very sporadic here.
It is kind of far with long lines and very very
slow. We are limited in usage time so by the
time I load up my hotmail screen my time is
more or less up! However, I will try to check
email as often as possible but may not be able
to reply regularly. I will likely be here till
Jan 30th after which time we will convoy by
tank (although I hear they may fly me) into
Baghdad. I do not have an address here ( I do
not have much of anything actually). I think
my address in Baghdad will be:
CPT Bose, Sudip K.
HHC 1-5 CAV, 1st Cavalry Division
Again, this is not 100% certain and I will
notify you if mail actually arrives.
Take care guys!
- December 27, 2003
Family and Friends,
I haven't talked to many of you in a while...sorry
for the mass email. Hope you all are having
a great holiday season. I wanted to let everyone
know that I've been activated to deploy to Iraq
(for sure this time). I'll be leaving in early
January 2004, most likely for 15 months and
"possibly" up to 18 months, meaning I'll probably
be back around March 2005.
As far as what I'll be doing, I've been assigned
as a front line medical provider in downtown
Baghdad and pretty much the only U. S. doctor
on the west side of the city (close to the Red
Cross building that was recently bombed). I'm
apparently the sole doctor for about 1200 troops.
I'll be based out of a building that U.S. troops
recently ransacked. This will function as more
of an "aid station" than a hospital. This aid
station will be front line to the hospital.
Medically speaking, immediate life saving maneuvers
will be all I can perform; I won?t have xray
capabilities etc. (that will be in the hospital).
I'll be on call 24/7 for 15-18 months--and I
was complaining about residency????
A few times per week I'll be in a tank (M577)
that goes on raids to catch the 12 or so remaining
people on the "deck of cards". My tank follows
the front line tanks by about 1000 meters. If
there are any injuries the patients are brought
to my tank where I stabilize them and arrange
evacuation to the hospital. This is probably
the most dangerous part of my deployment.
I will be in the 1st Cavalry Division; we
are replacing the 1st Armored Division, which
has been occupying Baghdad since the start of
the war. In a sense my deployment will be easier
than for the initial group because I'll have
buildings with electricity, but my friends in
Baghdad tell me that now is the worst time to
go as far as safety is concerned. (Much of the
injuries like amputations, paralysis, blindness,
etc. aren't reported).
The biggest enemy out there is boredom. Moments
of sheer boredom interspersed with moments of
sheer terror when mortar rounds hit too close
for comfort. I will be confined in one building
for about 15 months. Hopefully I'll have internet
and I will be counting heavily on my friends
to keep my sanity!!!
I don't know exactly when I'm leaving; I'll
be given 48 hours advance warning of the date
of my departure. We will fly a military aircraft
into Kuwait, where I'll be for about 1Ĺ months
qualifying on my M16, practicing raids, etc.
Then we will go by tank into Baghdad. This is
supposed to be one of the most dangerous parts
since we will take constant enemy fire on the
While in Kuwait I should find out my address
in Baghdad and will send it to everyone via
internet (hopefully). I plan to take a digital
camera and will send photos of Baghdad for your
viewing pleasure. I will be thinking of you
guys daily. Please keep me updated with your
lives out here!