Wow, I’m a bit tired.
I got up last night before midnight, in order to go and meet the forklift guy and the truck guys. One 10k forklift and two eighteen-wheeler trucks in tow, we went out to IBOL World HQ and Warehouse, and loaded the six pallets onto the trucks. Loaded, the trucks rolled away and headed to the container yard, where they’ll likely hang out for a few days before moving on. The hour was late, the dust was blowing, so I broke out a disposable camera someone had sent me a while ago, and took a few pictures; it’ll be weeks before I can get them developed and posted.
I have, more or less, figured out how to distribute 3445 bundles. I never thought that would happen, folks.
This week, those six pallets, representing around 1500 bundles and about 12,000 pounds of love, will head to Kirkuk City (map). Five of the pallets will stay there, with one of our combat brigades, and the sixth will get cross-loaded and head further on into the Kurdish region to Sulaymaniyah (map).
So, about 2000 bundles made their way our into my neck of the woods, and the rest are headed to Kirkuk. This might not seem like much to you, but it means a lot to me.
Saddam Hussein is from these parts of the woods. Part of what had me thinking about this whole IBOL thing was wanting to make some kind of a positive impact on this area. Thank you — there are two thousand bundles coursing their way through this area. Which is pretty fantastic.
And if you watch the news as much as I do, or maybe even a fraction of what I watch and read, you’ll know that Kirkuk is… interesting. It’s disputed. It’s debated. It’s seemingly tied to most every other topic here in Iraq. At times it’s been led by Turks, Arabs and Kurds. It’s rich history, diverse people and mixed cultures makes it a land, a city, a community in need of some, well, love.
My year here is almost up. I’m working with the unit replacing mine. My kids are counting the days until I leave Iraq, for what may well be the last time. When I was young, Iraq was a re-emerging leader in the Arab world, but faltered and spiraled downwards under Saddam Hussein. But even during the darkest of times, when this land was being ravaged by war or hate or strife, I’ve held out hope that I’d be able to help do something to move this country closer to not just peace but the greatness it is capable of. I never would have guessed it would be this — almost 3500 boxes, packed by some amazing and great people, distributed here, there, and everywhere in northern Iraq.
So, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I have two more things to do. Well, okay, three. I’ll be in touch with the folks that have these last 1500 or so, and I’ll see what I can get from them to share here on the website. I also know that there’s a small snippet on IBOL in our own unit magazine, if I can every get my hands on the digital version of it.
The second thing is to see what if anything will carry on after I leave here. The warehouse is still there. CSM Flores and his crew think their replacements will support is being used the same way — if someone does something crazy like this. I need to find that someone, I guess. I’d like to leave here with a name and an address, and to be able to tell you to send what you want, when you want – I have no idea if I’ll be able to put that together.
And lastly, I need to look back at this whole thing, and do some writing. For my unit, for the Army, I need to capture what this was, why it worked, and what can be used again. This IBOL thing was pretty powerful; I’d hate for the Army to not learn something from this little undertaking. I’d like some crazy dreamer out there to have that crazy dream, and not have to start from complete scratch like I sometimes felt I did. Why think tens when you can think thousands. Writing about this, teaching the Army about this, is my Phase 3.
Two last things, before I call it a day and go to sleep. Who saw my wife’s quilt in Houston, and who took a photo that they can send me?
And who is going to be near either Eugene or Beaverton, Oregon, before Thanksgiving? The IBOL Guy Family World Tour will be kicking off then, with stops in Oregon and the mountains east of San Bernardino, CA. Coffee’s going to be on me, and the locations will be small fabric and / or yarn places.