Friday, July 28, 2006

Mid-post hiatus

It’s hot. Across the world we are in the middle of global warming’s throws. Some places are hotter than others apparently. Parts of Europe are experiencing record highs and I saw on the news where California is using power in record numbers in order to escape the heat. People are dying from the heat and are complaining that it is the fault of those who failed to heed the calls from the Al Goreites in the world. If only we would have signed that damn Kyoto Protocol.

Now, as was the case on my first deployment, I can do nothing but laugh at the people who think 100 degrees Fahrenheit is hot (37.7 degrees Celsius for those more refined readers). I understand that not everyone has lived in the desert so I don’t expect those people to understand when I say that 100 degrees is refreshing. As I sat outside the other night when my power was out I thought to myself that “You know Tim it is pretty refreshing right now, I wonder how hot/cool it is?” So I went over to a thermometer and saw that it was 100, and oh what a cool 100 it was.

My first deployment was a far cry from what I am used to now. In 2003 there was nothing in our desert arsenal to provide relief from the overbearing heat. I slept on a cot in a tent in the middle of a southern Iraq desert. We had no AC, no fans, no nothing that was in the least bit comforting. I slept in boxers on three towels placed under each area where my skin touched my cot in order to soak up the sweat throughout the night. Each morning I arose with the sun and flies around 6am because it was too hot to sleep. One morning I stayed in my cot killing flies until 7am and when the hour was said and done I had killed 70 flies. I neatly piled them up and afforded them a proper funeral befitting the greatest of Athenian or Trojan warriors: I burned the hell out of them and sent a message to their compadres that I was no longer going to take their crap. I don’t think they got the message.

In 2003 there was a heat wave in France that killed some thousands of people. We read about it several times in the Stars and Stripes and each time could do nothing but laugh. I know it isn’t funny when people die but when they are dying from 97-degree heat and you are averaging 130 during the day it has to elicit some semblance of a smile. The hottest I saw it get in 2003 was 147 and that was on a thermometer right outside my tent. I wish I had the picture because I know there are going to be some skeptics out there.

With this most recent heat wave spanning the globe I once again am reduced to laughing. Ignorance is bliss they say and it is never truer when one thinks 100-degree weather is unbearable. Soldiers deal with 120 plus heat on a daily basis wearing 40-50 pounds of gear. Our body armor acts as an oven to intensify the heat so that each time we open our vests it is akin to opening the oven door to check on that Thanksgiving turkey. Blasts of heat wash over us and we quickly shut our vests so that our midsections are left alone to bear the brunt of what I like to call “The Body Armor Factor.” The BAF works something like wind chill does in the winter. You know when you hear the weatherman say something like “Well folks it is a cold one today. Your high will be 10 degrees while the low will be –5 with a –18 degree wind chill factor.” Well the same factor works in the desert. It may be 132 outside but inside your body armor it is closer to 150. Anyone want to lose that gut that seems to never go away? Do you have love handles that you would rather your lover never handle again? Sign up for the army and spend a summer wearing body armor. If you still have fat around your midsection after that I fear that you may need to visit your local plastic surgeon.

The great thing about this deployment compared to my first one is the trailers (chews) that we live in. I have my own AC that I control and have showers that I can take at the end of each day. The luxuries of home that some say make us too soft are what keeps us from going insane. I managed one year without a bed, real shower, good chow, AC, unbearable heat, etc. and I am glad that I don’t have to do it again.

So all your Brits and Californians out there take heart! You aren’t the only ones dealing with the heat. There are thousands of soldiers standing with you in your battle against the oppressive nature of God’s most recent wrath upon civilized humankind. I stand with you and say that enough is enough. Everyone join me in telling God that we will no longer stand for this kind of heat. We want San Diego weather and we want it now. This war would be much easier to fight in 70-degree weather. But until that day happens I will strap on a pair and keep my complaining to a minimum and realize that I am only doing this for a year at a time and the Iraqis live here for their whole life. No wonder they are so angry all the time.


Gary E. Rivest, Sr. said...

Thank you so much for your thoughts! I appreciate each one. Thank you again for being there when you didn't have to.

I have a question. Do you guys need some electrical technical help over there? I watched a video of a unit stopping a vehicle. In that vehicle were 3 guys and a time relay that one of our guys had no idea what it was. I would like to volunteer my expertise and go on patrols with anyone that could use my help.

Gary E. Rivest, Sr.

strykeraunt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
strykeraunt said...

One of my nephews was spent a year in Tikrit area during 2003, sleeping either in his truck, and eventually a tent. He told us that they had to wake each other up every couple of hours just to make sure everyone was still breathing. I told myself I would never complain about the heat again. No matter I hot it became where I live, I would never have to wear body armour or have to endure the heat for the number of days he did without relief. When I saw your picture here it immediately reminded me of my nephew who took also picture of himself sweating. His picture had the same look in the eyes.

Bag Blog said...

I don't know about global warming; the weather here in OK is the same as it always is this time of year - hot. Last year in April we were building our home. My daughter and I were painting on the eaves in 100-Plus temps (which were a little out of the ordinary for April). When she complained, I told her to suck it up that we were not wearing full body armor and being shot at. She painted the rest of the day without complaint.

Anonymous said...

Our Government needs to get serious about winning this war, untie you guys hands, stop punishing you for the evils of others. Instead of buying votes and throwing money down ratholes in this country and around the world we could put whatever it takes into overwhelming force to win and get out. Turn that hell hole over to those people. Start worrying about doing what it takes to defend our own and demand that the rest of the world get off their self gratifying rears and do the same. The world is so concerned about innocent civilians everywhere but expect our own fighting men to just suck it up. Maybe innocent civilians could do more to help themselves, Iraq and everywhere else. Have innocent civilians no responsibility for themselves anymore? Maybe there aren't as many turly innocent in the world as the liberals would have us believe. Thanks Sgt. Boggs. Wait a minute - -thank you isn't enough. We need to all be on active duty in this war on terror wherever we are. We all need to sweat like you are and make some sacrifices ourselves in order to win this war instead of poking a stick at the emenies of mankind. You men are doing an unbelievable job, Tim. Wake up America.

t.h. snure said...

I think that more Americans need to get a little taste of what you are talking about, we are way too comfortable in this war.

Last year - post Katrina - we got a small taste of heat (of course here it comes with 90% humidity so the heat index runs in the 110 range not the 130's you have), we were without electricity for 3 weeks and had seven of us living in the house most of that time. We did have a generator (although we had to drive 70 miles to Baton Rouge for gas every other day) so we had running water for showers and we did run a small window unit AC at night (Linda & Ric brought it but let us use it because of the kids). Helen and Eva got lots of bug bites since the screens weren't 100% effective. When it comes down to it though we were actually quite fortuneate just having the generator, many people did with a lot less for a lot longer.

When you think of it though, even 60 years ago most people around here didn't have AC and you go back 100 years and most did not have any electricity. We have become very soft. Think of your predecessors in the Army, they didn't have AC tents in Vietnam or Korea and certainly not before that. Of course some died from those conditions (or at least got real sick). I for one am glad that y'all have some more livable digs to come "home" to for sleeping.

See you soon,


Anonymous said...

"I think that more Americans need to get a little taste of what you are talking about, we are way too comfortable in this war."

Amen to that!

The unaffected still perceive this war as a game or something they watch on the info-tainment news channel every night.

...It's easy to excuse when it ain't your ____ (kid, spouse, relative), right?

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

LOL! O.K......O.K....I'll stop whining about the heat! Well maybe not as loudly anyway!

It's only about 96 degrees here today.

Susan said...

Good timely reminder! I've been in 122 in Phoenix, I don't want to try 147! I can't imagine being in that heat, and carrying the stuff you do. Thanks just isn't adequate!

strykeraunt said...

Tim and Buck,

Have either of you read any books that give what you believe to be a more neutral and accurate account of Israel's history. I realize this is probably a wierd question but you both seem to read a lot, and I trust your judgement. I am so tired of listening to the people's different versions of history, and do not know enough to effectively argue what I believe to be wrong with their theory. In addition, I have also become leary about buying any ole books because there seems to be too many different opinions on this subject and a lot of crackpots out there today.

T. F. Boggs said...

"A Case for Israel" by Alan Dershowitz is a great book. He gives a concise account of all of the arguments and problems between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I think his book would be the best for a basic overview of the current situation.

While Dershowitz may be a liberal who gets things wrong most of the time in my opinion I do believe he hits the ball out of the park with this book. Hope that helps.

strykeraunt said...

You are absolutely awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Last week during the "heat" wave here in California my husband and I were in Milwaukee instead. Temps 60-80. We daily watched with bulging eyes our home (Fresno) #'s.
At one point my husband observed something to the effect - "Well, God is just giving us a "little" taste of what our men/women are facing every single day in Iraq and elsewhere."
Short lived as it was twern't purty but it was not accompanied by monster spiders, fly swarms or dust storms.
Yes. We have it good here.
Have said it before, say it every day in my prayers - Thank you (and our tremendous military) for your service!

mauser*girl said...

I don't get why stateside Americans are constantly complaining about the heat. I really, really don't.

I live in Virginia and yes, it's hot here, it's humid here, and it keeps raining and then staying hot and humid. If I had my choice of what I wanted the weather to be like, it would not be this.

However. Like MOST Americans, I have air conditioning in my home. I have air conditioning at the office. At the mall. At school. At restaurants. Etc.

In other words, if I don't like the heat, I really don't have to put up with it because every place indoors offers air conditioning here unless, by some twist of fate, the power goes out.

In Europe - where those people were killed by the heat wave - the majority of people do not have air conditioning in their homes and many do not have it in offices or schools either.

When I lived in Germany, France, England and Croatia, I never had air conditioning at home. If it got hot, it got hot. You opened the windows and hoped for a breeze, wore less, and hoped it would cool down. Interestingly enough, we managed.

It's tragic that people were killed in the big 2003 heat wave - although I think it was hundreds, not thousands. The majority of them were elderly people who have a much harder time dealing with weather changes than the rest of us do.

People need to just stop griping about every little thing, especially things they can't change, like the weather. And Americans, in particular, need to stop griping - they have it so comfortable all the time that the littlest bit of discomfort becomes a "catastrophe".

T. F. Boggs said...

Just for those who were wondering: The pictures of me in this post are from my first deployment. Yes I was skinnier then and somewhat malnourished from too many minature hotdog and rice meals. You do not need to send me food. I am now at a healthy weight and doing well.

That was of course just incase you were wondering.

T. F. Boggs said...

Gary Rivest, I know what video you are talking about and yes I do think those guys needed some help. As far as coming over here there are many ways to do that but I am not sure about going along on patrols with soldiers. There are some civilians that do that but they are a different story. Thanks for the offer though.

I think the best way to get over here and around on the ground is with a private security firm. Or you could drive a truck with KBR.

Melinda said...

I am NOT a person who suffers the heat well. I get 'sassy' and that's putting it nicely. :) That's why whenever I am outside, it reminds me to write another letter, pack up another care package and send some more Pop-Ice freeze pops to soldiers on my list.

I SO have NOTHING to complain about, however, I know I will continue to do so anyhow...I just hope to make up for it by visiting the post office a couple times a week!

gypsy said...

Every time I even think of complaining about the weather (yeah it's worse with humidity but so what) or anything else...I think of all you guys in far worse conditions than I've ever been in. Keeps things in perspective.

Glad you have better accomodations this deployment t.f., stay safe!

Kat said...

Good to hear from you! I remember last year, one of my adopted soldiers went home to Chicago on leave in the late summer. He said it was around 80 - 85 degrees there at that time, and he actually felt CHILLY!!!! LOL! I believe it too - after you get acclimated to 130+ temps, I can see how 80 degrees would be hugely cooler!!!!

Down here in GA we are very frequently in the very high 90s - with humidity about a billion percent, LOL - so I'm used to heat, too. But not DESERT heat - yikes!

Thanks again for all you do for our country - we truly appreciate you!

Momma Kat

tfdad said...

Gary Rivest Sr.- Have you thought of going to New Orleans for a few weeks to help out? We have family and contacts down there and your skills are more needed there than you could imagine. Contact Canal St. Presbyterian Church for details of how you could plug in there. Just got an email from a friend there who has moved back and has told me horror stories of contractors who have taken people's money and done horrible work in return. Sometimes charity should begin at home.

Jim said...

But it's a dry heat!!!! :-)
Tucson AZ

Anonymous said...

being from Arizona we appreated your sense of humor, Jim. 122 degrees in the shade. No sweat. It's dry heat. :) Funny.