with support from the corporation for public broadcasting

What I bring to this project

January 28, 2009 by Heather

I believe I bring two critical components to the project. The first component is the diverseness of my two tours to Iraq. My first tour to Iraq began January 2003 when my entire CH-53 squadron (sixteen aircraft) deployed aboard three naval vessels and sailed our way to the Persian Gulf. We entered Iraq unaware of the dangers, toting along full MOPP gear; however, never were in danger. In country, we had no accommodations. Showers were baby wipes, bathrooms were holes in the sand, and chow was MREs. As time passed, we received tents, cots, and even hot chow once a day.

My second tour to Iraq, occurring July 2004, was quite different. This time, I deployed with the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Unlike deploying with my entire squadron, only four aircraft and essential maintainers attached to a CH-46 squadron to form the Air Combat Element (ACE). During this time, we had to adjust to being away from our squadron and comrades. Initially, we were to deploy by ship; however, circumstances forced us to return our aircraft to our parent squadrons, fly commercially, and accept aircraft already stationed in Iraq. Once in Iraq, we had many accommodations such as showers, a chow hall, tents with air conditioning, and twin beds very different from my first deployment. Although, with these accommodations came a price: mortars. Mortars were new to all of us, yet left a lasting impression.

The second component I bring to the project is I am still an active duty Marine. Therefore, I have easy access to bases and facilities on base. Additionally, part of my chain of command is Navy, so I can easily obtain perspectives from another branch of service. Finally, within my command, there are several active duty personnel. Therefore, I have access to a larger group of veterans.



January 30, 2009

I remember my first “shower” after 3 months in country. It consisted of a 5 gallon bucket with holes at the bottom hanging by the crane of a HEMTT. How long was each of your deployments?


January 30, 2009

Sounds like you had quite an experience over in Iraq both times you were there! I’m sure the lack of accommodations wasn’t the only downside to being over there. Though, you made it through twice and I’m sure without having gone through those experiences, you wouldn’t be the person you are today ! GOOD blog!

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