Monday, March 20, 2006

St Patrick's Day - Djbouti Style

Our Palos Verdes Marine Brian Weiss updates his hometown friends from his new post in Djbouti, Djbouti. (I like to say that!)


Tomorrow we finally get to move into our permanent tents. I got to meet some Americans last night that came for the base Sunday service. The service seems to be pretty popular and the Chaplin arranges for their entry into camp for the service. It was great to see a piece of home coming through the gate. They were all energetic and motivated people (you would have to be to come to Djibouti for church). They had brought home made cookies and unfortunately we cannot eat while we are on post, but boy they looked good.

They asked about one of their group that we had denied entry to camp the night before, and we explained to them that for security of all the personnel on the base, we have to follow the procedures, and as per our SOG (Sergeant of the Guard) “no breaks”, means no fudging of the rules. Its not tough to apply the rules in the perfect situations, but the grey areas are hard to deal with. The rule of thumb we use is when in doubt, best to be safe. The Americans had no clue of the levels of security that we have here on base, and when they found out that their security while on base or in country was being handled by the Marine Corps, they sure appreciated us. I was glad to see them and I hope to see more Americans in the future, as they sure can bring a smile to our faces.

Don’t get me wrong, the people here are really friendly, but I can only speak enough Somali to get by right now, and that causes some strain. Most of the people we deal with tend to be very humble and really seem to appreciate us, and the work, money, status, hospitality and American spirit our base and operations bring. I think some see us as invaders, but as our Commanding General says we are ambassadors, and its our job to not only maintain the friendship we have but to change the minds of those who haven’t seen the good we bring.

We have learned that many people here in Djibouti, are only Djiboutian by geographic lines. It seems that here just as in many places in the world that the politicians drew the lines that delineate the countries boundaries, but left out the cultural or ethnic considerations. Most people here speak Somali and French, some Arabic. The weather wasn’t too hot today and I only felt the need to drink 15 liters of water. The chow hall is still really good with lots of options including fresh cut fruit.

Kinda out of time, as I have to prepare for tomorrow. I have been placed on the base Color Guard. My morning duty of posting the base flag is a great honor, but involves marching, which most of us know is not my best point. Its quite the duty, but I like to be prepared so I'm going to get some extra practice in before tomorrow, along with some work on my uniform. Before I forget I must say, I cannot fully discuss my duties in detail due to the fact that e mail is not secure. The bad guys listen for a piece of the puzzle at a time and then as the pieces fall together, they take advantage. So to maintain the safety for all of us here, we are required to keep it short, and not very detailed.

I hope all is well, I hope your part of the world is as good as mine.


Hey all,

Another week is done for us. We sure are keeping busy, our last shift was 48hrs. Not too much to report today, as all of the good stuff we do we are unable to write about. My fellow Marines and I are adjusting to the heat. We had an Air force band here this week; they were pretty good if you add in the Djibouti factor.

Start watching CNN for the highlights of our first and last visit. We are all settled into our new tents, so far so good! The pic I have attached is from the other night, we passed the hat around so we could have a pic, and the only thing missing was the beer! I hope all is well with all of you.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this, Bill. How good to hear from Brian (what a goofy picture! LOL).

Hope you’re doing better and better each day. I think of you when I go to the gym; hope you’re back soon.


10:37 AM  

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