Saturday, June 24, 2006

Brian's Latest

Thanks to the generosity of so many Palos Verdes area folks (Sue, Glen, Lori, John, Tom, Fred, Angela, Angelo, Melanie, Jill, Judy, Mark, Dr. Dave, Col. Dave, Kathryn, Marie, Maria, Gene, Pat ... forgive me if I've forgotten someone) I've collected 6 boxes full of baby and toddler clothes, toys - even a harmonica - and books for the Djibouti orphans, and the boxes will be shipped on Monday. Thanks to Dr.Dave we shipped 10 pounds of beef jerky - not for the babies - last week. And folks have promised more stuff for a second shipment.

What great Americans you are. And from another great American, here is the latest from our Brian Weiss.

So, its back to the story of the heat… the hot weather is here but its pretty random. From about 6 am when it hits 100 until about 1500 (3 pm) when its 140 plus with less than 10% humidity... then in about 5 minutes the wind shifts from off the ocean and we get 120 degree temps which seem cooler, but the humidity goes up to 50%, and then the sweating begins. The weather is still a huge factor in everything we do, but we are still completing lots of good missions.

I am about a week away from completing my next martial arts belt. We have 3 instructors in my section so there is always someone around to learn from. I should be testing for my belt next week sometime. We have just switched our schedule around and I will not have to work nights any longer. The night shift is cooler, but more humid, and it can really mess with our already abnormal and sometimes inexistent sleep schedule.

According to what we are being told we have surpassed the half way mark of the deployment. Our orders have us active until Jan. 8th 07… pray we are home before then.

A quick wildlife update: the snakes are coming out of the woodwork. We are seeing Carpet Vipers almost everyday. They are a small snake in comparison to the rattle snakes I'm used to dealing with in the California desert, but much more deadly. They are only 3-4 feet long and about the size of a permanent marker. These snakes tend to hang around humans because we provide food for the mice they love to eat. We see them mostly on or near our posts, as we eat lots of sun flower seeds and the mice help clean up what we drop.

The plans to expand the base to about 10 times the size have been approved and the construction is in the early phases. The Navy Seebees have been putting in a few roads to the east of camp. The expansion area is pretty rough land and was always considered to be a military zone. There are a couple of goat herders who go out there and let their animals graze but other than that it is pretty desolate. The Seebees had some rocks thrown at them a week or so ago by some local bushman that are mad about the expansion of the base.

My unit has to patrol out there more, to keep the Seebees safe. The Seebees are really good guys, but we had to remind them of their motto “we fight, we build”. Anyone that lives to the south of the base must walk all the way to the extreme east to get around the camp, and with the expansion they will not be able to go around from the east any longer.

As for what is going on with Somalia, we are only 10 miles from the border, and we are hoping for it to stabilize quickly as it presents a big threat to the camp. Don’t worry mom we will be all right. We get to see some of the news, and goings on over there from the internet and out of intelligence reports but there are still lots of things we don’t know. We hope that they stay on their side of the fence, as we stay on ours.

The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a big deal around here and I assume across the entire American military. We all know that he wasn’t the key to the problems in Iraq, but one less bad guy is a step in the right direction(the glass is half full theory). We did get word about the Army guys who were kidnapped and murdered, and we mourn the loss just as the soldiers there do. As Marines we are always reminded of what will happen to us if we were kidnapped and we always take extra precautions to prevent it.

I have been receiving lots of goods in the mail for the kids at the orphanage, so much in fact my company Gunnery Sergeant made a comment about the quality of my friends and family back at home. Please keep sending what you can, remember that you can use the bulk military mail boxes from the USPS with a flat rate of $8.10 with any weight. Try to ship air mail, as the ground will take months to get here and I may not be around to receive it. Thanks so much for all the great things you have sent the kids at the orphanage and to me.

I have attached a picture from a trip I made in town. I hit the local market with a “NEED”. The market is pretty crazy, picture a farmers market in Cali, but with lots more people and better prices, not to mention you need a translator. My NEED is in the left hand side of the pic…limessssssssssssssss!!!! They are pretty cheap too, about 150 Djiboutian francs for 2 kilos. Now if I only had a cold case of Pacifico the world would be perfect!

I hope all is well with all of you.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Can you please thank pass on a huge thank you for the Jerky I got yesterday… holy cow 10 lbs worth…We will be eating like kings for a while… thanks a million. I owe you guys at least a round of starbucks when I get back!!


8:49 PM  

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