My friends, appreciate where you live. Because right now, at this very moment I am rotting away at 29 Palms, more affectionately known as 29 Stumps. I'm starting to settle in with my new unit, we were all split up into the various companies, platoons and squads of 2/7 this week. I fall into the mix as follows- SAW gunner, 3rd Fireteam, 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, USMC. Mouthfull isn't it? I was lucky to get place in a really good company, the Golf Gunfighters.
This past Friday the battalion had a memorial service for the Marines they lost five months ago when they were in Iraq. It was very sobering to see the Marines memorialized in front of friends, family and comrades. What they did was set up memorials with sandbags that had a rifle bayoneted in it, with their helmet on top and their boots in front. Then the Sergeant Major called the battalion to attention and took roll. The first couple of names he read off were met with a response of 'present', then he began to call out the names of those who had been killed. As he continued to repeat their name, a Marine walked out carrying their dogtags and presented them to the Sergeant Major, and then they hung them from the rifle. I didn't even know any of them, and the scene nearly moved me to tears, and I wouldn't have been the only Marine crying.
President Bush is here this weekend. I walked out my room to see Marine 1, the helicopter version of Air Force 1, flying low over the barracks preparing to land, biggest freakin chopper ever. Needless to say this place is on total lockdown right now.
My unit is scheduled to go to Iraq in January for a 7-8 month tour. We'll be headed to the al Anbar province, and were sending out an invitation for the terrorists to meet us there.
If you feel like writing me, my address is as follows.
Lance Corporal Jake Wood
PO Box 1269-A18
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277