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Posted on May 6, 2006 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Red Bulls in Iraq – Pt. 2

By Cpt. Fernando A Franco

I saw them leaving, boarding the planes into theater. Saying goodbye to my friends, fellow soldiers, one by one, I could not stop wondering what life would be like a year from now. Who I will see and who I will not see by at the end of the deployment. During our last days before moving into theater, I had the chance to once more share a few days of camaraderie with my friends from Brigade. During the months of training, we became one big family. I have made new friends and deepened friendships with soldiers I’ve known for years in the Minnesota National Guard.

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The Brigade

I don’t know how many times during the long flight from the U.S. to the Middle East I wondered what lie ahead on our journey. Thousands of American soldiers have made the same trip, but I think everyone’s journey is an individual one. Yes, you are with your unit, your friends, and the soldiers you lead, but you also know that how this journey affects you will be a personal matter.

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One of the locals

We arrived at a transit base, and we got used to the fact that anytime you walk outside of the tent, you will be hit by the fine sand that lingers in the air and gives the sun a romantic look. You can shower all you want but you’ll still have sand on you. It is amazing at first, but as the days pass, you start longing for home, when you walked out of the house and saw trees, grass, birds, and dogs and didn’t worry about having sand in your mouth most of the day.

We weren’t hit by any major sandstorms but by very strong winds that threatened to blow over our tents. The winds were followed by rain, which caused the temperatures to drop to a chilly degree. In her infinite wisdom, my wife asked me why I was cold if the desert was supposed to be hot. Well, I was asking myself the same thing.

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