My brother sent an e-mail from Iraq the other day. Then he called Christmas morning. It sure was neat talking to him. He seems to be safe, which is hard to believe. He caught a very bad cold. The insurgents lob missiles into the base at night while they are asleep. They land wherever. If they hit you, then it was just your day. That is their greatest fear. The soldiers then go on a seek and destroy mission. Some of the locals will try to tell them where they are coming from. Once in a while, snipers get close to the base and try to shoot personnel, so that is also a danger. In the meantime, they must get up during the deluge of missiles and dress in full gear for protection. This disrupts their sleep patterns and probably is what the insurgents are trying to do if they can't do anything else. The food is good, he says, the billets (beds) are hard and not very comfortable. Otherwise things are OK so far. He works at least 12 hours a day.
On his way to Iraq, there is a funnel on the plane where you pee. It is open for all to see. Not really a cheap thrill, since they all know where they are headed. The women arrive dehydrated. They don't drink any water so they don't have to go. In order to do so, they must expose a lot more of themselves than the men. There are a lot more men than women aboard. And it is a pretty long flight.
I worry about his safety every day, but it is reassuring when I get an e-mail and get to talk to him. His wife is a little less apprehensive now, too. God be with them all.