Friday, June 29, 2007

Leave! and car trouble on the streets of Iraq

Another call from Evan to Beth. She relays he’s doing fine. Still patrolling streets near Baghdad.

The interesting news was that he was notified he would be granted leave soon. That’s two weeks back home in the U.S. As usual for the Army, they don’t give an exact time—it could be another 6-8 weeks. But it’s something to look forward to. I remember his leave from Afghanistan, and it was a very happy time.

He mentioned he spends a lot of time taking vehicles to the motor pool for repair. The streets are rough, and Humvees are surprisingly susceptible to problems. Power steering hoses pop, and you lose control—not good.

The engine’s moving parts are connected by one long serpentine belt. If it breaks—which is common, they’re completely out of commission. It must be a pretty anxious moment to break down on an Iraqi street. I read a lot in the press how much of the army’s equipment has broken down, so I’m not surprised.

The Humvee was designed during the Cold War to cruise the cool or snow-bound paved highways of Central Europe, not the pock-marked 120 degree gravel paths of the Iraqi desert. The words of Captain Donald Rumsfeld, ring in my ears, when complained to by a soldier that the gear was inadequate, if not downright unsafe for the job: “Sometimes you have to fight a war with what you have, not what you want.” Same goes for leadership, I suppose.

No comments: