Friends of the U.S. Armed Forces,

This may be the last email that I send for some time, and by ‘some time,’ I of course mean, I have no idea when my fingers will touch a keyboard again. The last of my company is convoying out, taking with them this fine machine, whose virtues have allowed me to stay, shall we say, “in touch” with the outside world.

All I see is desert, but I wish I could say “dead people” there, instead. Alas, no tried metaphors for me. If any of you are curious as toward the fastest way to completely destroy a diesel engine on a HMWVV (better add a few more M’s and V’s in there), I would recommend the following, easy to perform, one-step procedure. Put any mixture of soap and water into the gas tank, preferably while the truck is running. Now, I, of course, was not so emboldened to try this daring maneuver; however, some of the Army’s finest mechanics decided to live life to the fullest and take care of that challenge for me. The end result, you ask? Two blissfully dead trucks. My trucks. You should see them. They sit there so peacefully in the sun, not a care in the world, oblivious to the twists that Fate has thrown them.

So instead of heading North with my comrades in arms to rush into certain danger in a country full of people who increasingly hate Americans, despite our valiant efforts to convince them that water really isn’t necessary to survive in the desert; I will be guarding my tent, until the Army sees fit to send a TET for myself and my vehicles. At that time, I will be whisked away to a land of milk and honey, or at least as close to the land of milk and honey as I have ever been.

Two keys to staying alive in the desert. One, don’t go there. Two, if you do, find air conditioning until you can get out.

I’ve had a good run of it so far, surviving sand storms, general stupidity, water rationing, camel burgers, and those nasty little black flies that burrow into your skin and try to build condominiums there. I feel almost complete. But then, I haven’t been shot at yet, so I have that waiting for me.

Habel, wish you all the luck on the road–hope that the not-replacing-3rd ID non-mission mission works out well for you. Balan, I should be back in time for that wedding. Jonathan, hope that Residence Inn doesn’t cramp your style. Craig, thinking about you–got your books and ready to chat. And for everyone else whom I don’t have time to write personal messages to, take care–especially Lt. Farrar, who I hear is suffering down at the S-1 shop at OBC.

Much love