Got a letter from a fellow soldier and Friend – “Sully” who remained in the Reserves and has subsequently been redeployed to Iraq. He sent me a note the other day with an update on the changes in Iraq and MNSTC-I sine we first arrived there in September 2004.
Talking about you yesterday so had to write. One of my teams found a few conex's full of electrical equipment, new construction stuff, so I contacted the local 20th Engineer Brigade, a fairly massive unit which is the MiTT for the Iraqi Engineers, and sent an email to their commander to find out if any of his Battalions could use the stuff before it gets destroyed. Turns out its Duke DeLuca!
Duke was the J-7 at MNSTC-I in 2004-2005 and a spectacular team builder. He is now the Commander of the 20th Engineer Brigade.
Sully discusses greetings from Duke and some details of events in MNSTC-I then goes on to say
I'm commanding a Task Force which consists entirely of 100 US Airforce personnel who go FOB to FOB cleaning up excess material, vehicles, supplies, weapons, and whatnot. It is simple command but pays two college tuitions, plus I'm at my leisure to travel as I wish, but only by air! Quite a different tour than our last.
Our last tour we traveled by unarmored SUV to start then gradually received armored HUMMVs. Sully and I were very well traveled in country due to our assignments. About MNSTC-I
Did you know MNSTC-I now has 15 general officers!!! Phoenix base is one of only two bases in the Green Zone by year's end (plus the new Embassy Complex) and has its own housing, mess hall, and every building is 2 stories plus! Hardly recognizable. The Phoenix base actually extends to include the liberty pool in its compound! Our old housing is all gone. The green zone should be no more by early next year. Life sure is different. Take care.
Yes life is different – We had 3 Generals in MNSTC-I when we were there. One being LTG Petreaus at the time now there are 15 billets…wow!! The Green Zone was pretty extensive and definitely rustic as compared to accommodations at Victory Base. We were the outpost in the middle of Baghdad at the time.
I have since retired after my return and a last assignment to Hurricane Katrina cleanup. I have a daughter over in Iraq now…I have taken a cheerleader/ armchair quarterback position now. In that light the note from Sully made me reflect that there are still thousands of individual contributions being made with little fanfare in Iraq and I’d thought I’d offer a glimpse into this one.