Via WPRO, John Loughlin Checks In From Iraq

John Loughlin, currently serving in Iraq, sent a letter to WPRO (was this via snail mail?), mainly describing his duties and schedule but also touching on living conditions. Below is an excerpt; inexplicably, WPRO did not put up the entire letter. I found his description of the living quarters especially enlightening. Keep in mind that Loughlin is an officer so presumably, the conditions for enlisted personnel are even more … luxurious.

I live in basically a shipping container called a Containerized Housing Unit or “CHU.” It’s basically 8’ x 12’, has a wall locker, a bed and a small refrigerator. A typical work day begins at about 0500.
We are on a seven-day per week schedule, about 10 hours per day. I do get four hours off each Sunday, but that time is consumed doing my laundry and cleaning out the CHU.
I have about a 20 minute walk to my office which is located in the former Baath Party headquarters on Forward Operating Base or FOB Union III. We are a team of about 15 advisors who advise on everything from training to tactics. We have a tag-up to compare notes and then journey to Phoenix base to meet with the Iraqis. That’s a short journey via up-armored SUV, wearing what we call “full battle rattle.”
Full battle rattle consist of (gotta love the acronyms) IOTV, ACH with 9mil. Translated that’s the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, kind of like the flack vest of old, the Army Combat Helmet and the ever-present sidearm.
We typically spend three hours or so per day working directly with the Iraqi’s. I have found them to be extremely hospitable. They always break out the tea, and unlike US offices, there is no prohibition on smoking at ones desk – so the second hand smoke is thick.
We return to the FOB after these meetings, which the Army calls Key Leader Engagements to, reduce the data, compare notes and work on providing the benefit of our experience to the fledgling force.
The week is broken up by the reporting we have to make to higher headquarters. Last Friday, I briefed the three-star general on helicopter maintenance issues. I spent probably ten hours or so making sure my briefing was ready to go. This included rehearsals with my colleagues asking every conceivable question to make sure I was ready to brief and could field any question that might come up. Not unlike political prep for the Dan Yorke show. The three-star’s reaction was three words, (one for each star) “Thanks, good brief”.

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Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

“Unlike a stateside assignment it’s never far from our mind that we could be, and have been, rocketed at any time,” Loughlin wrote. “Since I got here, what the military calls BOG (boots on the ground,) we’ve been rocketed about 30 times, some close, some not so close.”
Thanks to pols that have gone before him, every time I hear this stuff I think, “Really? Here we go again.”

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

Stay safe, Colonel Loughlin, thank you for your service to our state and our country, wishing you all best.
Sammy

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

But I do respectfully wonder how Colonel Laughlin felt about the
GOP presidential candidates who stayed silent when the right-wing-nut audience members at the GOP Presidential debate loudly booed, a soldier who was serving in Iraq, and also putting his life on the line, asked a question about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
It seems to me that Colonel Laughlin is the only “adult in the room” as far as the RI GOP is conserned…with crazy folks like Doreen Costa, Dan Gordon, the coke snorting and pot smoking, twice DUI Bob Watson, puting all folks
on our highways at risk !

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Sammy – Do you ever aspire to be anything more than a Democratic troll? Dream big, my friend, there is a whole world out there beyond slinging one’s own feces through the bars at anything with an R next to its name.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Take it easy on sammy-he doesn’t throw ALL his feces through the bars-he saves some for a snack.
I actually dealt with people like that.BARF!!

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Without doubt, Sammy sees himslef as prescient, and cutting to the vitals. How about wondering at the idea that a serving officer is free to communicate what information he desires (I am sure there is some censorship, as there must be), I prefer this to “embedded journalists”. I am always amazed that those journalists as shocked when one of their number is maimed or killed. What is it they expect? Perhaps CNN could put up a wall of stars for those who have “made the supreme sacrifice” for jounralism.
Good luck Col. Loughlin. Get small when the rockets come in.

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

So funny story folks. A few months back, Tony Simon (Sen. Whitehouse’s state guy) asked me to sit in on the Tea Party rally to see what they were up to.
Now I have nothing against this… Sen. Whitehouse is a pretty good guy, as far as people born rich generally go, and Tony is a nice guy, and they weren’t asking me to do anything unethical, so sure.
While there I met Mr. Loughlin, who was actually by far, the more personable of the two candidates in the room that night… the other will be running (and losing) against Sen. Whitehouse.
The funny thing was, Mr. Loughlin *proudly* told me that he was ASKING to be reactivated to Iraq so that he can serve this country. And that’s when I knew how completely full of himself and how little concern for the American taxpayer this man actually has.
He wants MY tax dollars to subsidize his ‘glory tour’, where he gets to strut his military credentials before going after D-1 (or maybe D-2, given the military, eh?) — it’s garbage. We’re paying for him to score political points and probably have a 10-man personal guard, while young men and women continue to die in a war zone.
Yeah, sorry Mr. Loughlin, I’m not buying.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

jparis-there are easier duty stations than Iraq for sure,so why be so negative about Mr.Loughlin’s motives?
He can’t fly helicopters in a combat zone in his 50’s,but he has a lot of experience as a pilot and I’m sure he is making himself useful.
Michelle Obama hasn’t got much concern for the taxpayer spending obscene amounts of money on vacations.
BTW Sheldon Whitehouse sucks.
He was US Attorney during my last two years as a federal agent here and no one had any respect for him-he was even more incompetent as Attorney General.
He reminds me of John Laroquette’s character,Capt.Stillman,in “Stripes”.
A fop strutting around with his nose in the air making pronouncements laden with stupidity.

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

Joe, you’ll notice I didn’t attack Mr. Loughlin persnally… I question his motives, I question his current buy-in into the corporate-political system… but that he fought and put his life on the line for this country?
Give me a break Joe, this isn’t the 1960’s, and not all Liberals hate soldiers.
He needs Iraq because it pumps up his credentials, as I said. Is he accomplishing anything over there? What is he actually doing other than strutting around “inspecting” things. I wish we could get the straight dope from his unit.
Whatever Michelle Obama does or doesn’t do doesn’t effing matter to me, nor should it to you. You and I didn’t even attempt to vote for her.
Hey, do you even know which GOP Presidential candidates have wives and what their spending habits are? lol.
Joe, please chill out — or drive away anyone who agrees with you anything less than 100%.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

I don’t expect anyone here or in my personal life to agree with me 100%-they’d be a robot and pretty dull.
RE:Michelle Obama-I think in times like we have now ostentatious spending by public officials and/or their families sends the wrong message.
I was around for the natred directed at those of us who served in the Vietnam War in the 60’s-I don’t know how old you are,but I’d prefer to hang out with someone who served on the other side than a backstabber from this country-at least the first one was doing exactly what I was for his side.
Anyway,you kind of had to be there to understand what the country was like then-same as my parents told me about the Great Depression.
I believe Loughlin is advising a military unit on helicopter ops.he certainly has the knowledge and experience.
He mentioned something to that effect.
I’ll have plenty of time to chill out after I’m dead-LOL.

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

@Joe: You are right about one thing with Mrs. Obama — if she is spending a lot of money pulicly, it sends the wrong signal when people can’t put food on their kids’ tables. That said, as long as she isn’t stealing from the Treasury, she isn’t doing anything “wrong”.
As for Vietnam, you’re right, I wasn’t there. I can’t do anything about what the kids and leftist protesters did to veterans back then… all I can do is help make sure we don’t repeat that mistake by forcing the left to consider ones’ life options and service to ones country.
@Monique: To imply that politicians don’t use war credentials in elections (even if it was done it a hilarious way), is a little silly in and of itself, no?
Do I think he is actually dodging rockets? No, not at all.
I think they probably have someplace as safe as you can get in Iraq. Yes folks, I get it, not as safe as Rhode Island.
Bur not only is Iraq NOT Afghanistan, it’s not even Egypt. I’m sure he’s quite safe with his personal escort that we pay for with our tax dollars.
I have 2 problems here:
1) A politician gets called up to serve in some capacity the year before an election.
2) That politician is getting paid, in part, to pad their resume as a soldier when (and correct me if I’m wrong), they DO NOT receive the same treatment as soldiers of equal ran operating in that theatre.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

jparis-That’s all I was saying about Mrs.Obama-I don’t think she did anything illegal.
BTW,as much as I liked Ronald Reagan in general(he was wrong sometimes)I thought Nancy Reagan inviting herself to the Royal Wedding was crass and wasteful.Embarrassing.
The Vietnam War left a lot of bitterness which isn’t going away-families and friends were torn apart by seemingly never ending war.
Noawadays since there’s no draft,soldiers are sent back for multiple tours and it’s out of sight,out of mind unless one is related to or knows them.
We no longer have any purpose in Afghanistan and never did in Iraq.
We can target terrorists without any large boots on the ground operations.
I can’t see sacrificing another US service member for the benefit of some f**kin’tribal opium lords in the Aghanistan hills.

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