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Happy feet: Toes are only truly happy when you let them out to play. The return of spring has brought out the footwear of freedom, seen here outside the TSC. / Photo by Josh Russell
Today's word on

Sunday, April 10, 2005

"Once you have learned how to ask questions, you have learned how to learn."

--Neil Postman, journalism scholar (1931-2003)

USU JCOM NEWS NOTE: THE JCOM Department celebrates the Class of 2005 Friday with JDay, showcasing the best of student work in print and
broadcast journalism, the Web, photo, and public relations. Followed by the annual JCOM Awards Banquet--student awards, 2005-06 scholarship winner, speaker Robert Kirby of the Salt Lake Tribune, all with fine dining. For information or reservations, contact the USU JCOM Department at or 435-797-3292.

Letter No. 16: Safe in Kuwait, watching the rain and thinking of home

SAFE IN KUWAIT: The sun sets on David Jenkins' stay in the Middle East. / Photo by David J. Jenkins

By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98

March 14, 2005 | Hello Everyone. Greetings from Baghdad. . . .

Or, more accurately put, Greetings from Kuwait.

We arrived here at Camp Doha about four days ago. We had to go through the same process that I endured when I went home on leave -- fly from Camp Taji to Baghdad International Airport via Chinook Helicopter; fly from Baghdad International Airport to Ali A-Shareef Airport in Kuwait; bus from Ali A-Shareef to Camp Doha. This entire process took roughly a day and a half for our group, but roughly three days to transport the entire battalion down.

Many of our soldiers were required to transport vehicles from Baghdad to Camp Doha, which required a two-day convoy of nearly 60 trucks. They all made it down safely last night, and I have not heard of any incidents along the way, as of yet.

We arrived here at roughly 0100 on the 9th, and our group of 12 were assigned to a 12-hour shift on the wash rack, cleaning the vehicles that the 39th Brigade brought down with them. They were unable to do it themselves, because many of them were already on flights heading home, and I suppose it is much easier to have the Oregon unit clean up after them. We were put in the same position at Fort Hood when the 2-162 Infantry was required to clean up the motorpools for 39th Brigade Support Battalion. I guess that is part of being "attached" to another unit.

We arrived here in Kuwait to 90 degrees and slightly overcast. However, the last four days have produced about a foot of rain; 80 degrees and raining. The rain has been intermittent, but consistent. An hour on, 20 minutes off, a mist at times and at others, torrents that have not been seen since the Ark took to open waters (so it would seem). Most of the buildings here in Camp Doha are roofed with aluminum sheets. The rain echos and vibrates as it bounces off, sounding like millions of ball bearings falling from the sky.

Many of our troops here have contracted the flu and with our current living conditions, the sickness is making its way through the ranks quite rapidly. Our entire battalion is being housed in a single warehouse. Over 600 cots lined wall to wall with approximately 2 feet of space between them. As flu and colds go, it is like living in a giant petrie dish, and we are in high hopes that it will work itself through the ranks prior to our leaving for the Pacific Northwest in a few days.

We are hoping to begin departation from Kuwait in the coming days. We are scheduled to begin de-mobilization at Fort Lewis, Wash., around the 20th of March. We will spend approximately a week at Fort Lewis and then migrate south to spend a week in Salem, Ore., to complete the process and return to civilian life. We should be back to our "normal" lives by the first of April, if all goes well.

I look forward to meeting many of you upon my return. For those in the New York, Southern California, Texas and Utah areas, this may take a little while to arrange, but I am still working things out to make this happen.

Click for Letter No. 1 and a photo of David J. Jenkins
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Click for Letter No. 15


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