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Combat Zone Tourist: My 13 Months of Emails from the Sandbox

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An Army Reservist is called up in 2004 to go to Iraq. He leaves his civilian job, travels to a mobilization station in El Paso, and then spends the next 13 months in the sandbox. While there, he starts writing a weekly email back home to family and friends at work about what he is doing and what is happening in Iraq. He is quickly thrown into the chaos of the Baghdad Green Zone during the last days of the Coalitional Provisional Authority, the new American Embassy, the handover to the interim Iraqi government, and the on-going military operations. He spends the next five months in the "world's largest gated community."

Next, the Reservist is transferred to Camp Victory, next to the Baghdad airport, and becomes a staff member of the Corps, which commands most coalition forces in Iraq. There over the next eight months, he deals with personnel issues, funding problems, humanitarian efforts, training commanders and comptrollers to use "money as a weapon system," and petty rivalries between staffs and commands.

All during this period, the officer deals with near daily mortar and rocket attacks, dangerous trips between the Green Zone and Camp Victory, and travels to visit other commanders.

You can read his unblemished emails written each week, combined with comments about what was going on and what was not talked about, plus information on the thousands killed during his 13 months in Iraq.

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