Sunday, September 11, 2005

3rd/112th Armor BN (FIST)

Panther S-5 (Civil Affairs Team)

56th Brigade Combat Team

36th Infantry DIV (Texas National Guard)

Central Iraq


Staff Sgt. Farr writes:

"105,883 people on three continents. That’s the latest estimate of people receiving the newsletter as of Sunday, 11SEP05. With the beginning of a new school year, and teachers from all over the United States asking to be included in newsletter mailing list, I think my estimate is rather conservative. Nonetheless, we are amazed by the popularity the newsletter is receiving. I continue to send it to the major networks along with FoxNews, MSNBC, and the likes with no replies. I know everyone’s attention has been switched from Cindy (what’s her name) and Natalie Holloway to the destruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That’s why I continue to do the newsletter. To let people know there is still a war on and men and women are making sacrifices everyday to help rebuild a nation and defend ours.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Michael Lubke. He’s a University of Texas undergrad student, which makes him okay in my book, and he graciously requested permission to put the newsletters on a website for others to enjoy. This makes it much easier for people who can’t usually enjoy it the way I send it out to view them. Please visit his website at:

We have good news to report on the projects. We received initial payments, and made those payments to the contractors to begin the projects. Also, the electrical project I reported on last week as being nearly complete has been completed way ahead of schedule. The contractor initially estimated it would take 50 days to emplace the support poles and run the electrical line. But it only took him 14 days. We visited one village that benefited from the line being put in and they were so appreciative. We were invited by the local Sheik for tea or chi (pronounced ch-eye) in Arabic. The Sheik explained they could now run ceiling fans or air conditioners or refrigerators without using a generator. I know the concept of living without electricity is just as foreign to us as someone who is enjoying it for the first time. Amazing how we live in the 21st The team is happy we could help bring a little more happiness to so many who have done without for so long. Century and there are so many places in the world that have no clue what electricity is, or what electricity without the aid of a generator is like.

Also this week, we attended a very important meeting with about 50 Sheiks and village representatives from all over our Area of Responsibility. The purpose was to address some security issues and concerns we have around our base camp. Many of you already know we were hit with mortar fire a couple of weeks ago. Not to mention we’ve had some IEDs (roadside bombs) targeting our patrols and convoys. The message conveyed to the attendees was that if they can’t get a handle on the insurgent problem and quit harboring them, there would be no more projects, to include shutting down the projects about to get started. And, we would be forced to conduct more aggressive combat operations, something the local villages surely would not enjoy, and something those of us who have been fostering a positive relationship would not enjoy. That point sunk in and a “concerned citizen” warned our forces of an IED near one of our patrol routes. Thankfully, the IED exploded prematurely before any of our troops or Iraqi Forces stumbled across it. The team conveys the same message every time we go out; if you take care of us, we’ll take care of you.

Welcome to the “First Timers” receiving the newsletter. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to pass it around to as many people as you would like, that’s what it’s here for. Thanks for the continued support of the troops; we truly appreciate all the letters of encouragement, e-mails, and boxes. I will be more than happy to entertain any and all questions, comments, or requests. Finally, “if you can read this, thank a teacher, if you can read it in English, thank a Veteran.” Have a good week and Hook’em Horns, Paul."

“Our lives change by what we do, not by what others do to us” -Shannon Earls

"To reacquaint, or in some cases acquaint you with the team, standing l/r; SSG Farr, SSG Pena, 2LT Colicher, SSG Wasson, SPC Moses, and PFC Blanchard. Kneeling from l/r; CPT Walton This photo was taken in front of the Ishtar Gates leading into the Ancient City of Babylon…26JUL05 (non-team member) SPC Watson, Iraqi Interpreter Delshad, and SPC Khan."

"On this particular visit, we handed out donated sandals and shoes. With the onset of school and eventually the rainy season, the kids are grateful to get new shoes. I know some of the pictures you see most children have no shoes. That's because they prefer not to wear them, they save them for school. We noticed that in the south when we handed out shoes for the first time. We asked why they didn’t put the shoes on when they received them and they said the shoes were for school, not for playing or working outside…06SEP05"

"This little guy's father told us his teeth hurt and chewing on the flip-flop felt good to his teeth. I never thought of
a flip-flop as a teething ring, but whatever works I guess…06SEP05"
"Chaplain Wallace tagged along for this trip and had a goodt ime handing out sandals to the children. He's
another that doesn't go outside the base camp too much, but we invite him along whenever he can get out

"This is one group of kids that love us when we come around their village. By the end of our deployment,
every kid that lives along this road should have an entire Beanie Baby collection...07SEP05"

"SPC Moses having a Pepsi moment. Some of the more hospitable villages give us cold drinks when we
come to visit. That’s pretty much how we gauge if they’re friendly.You offer me a Pepsi, and as SSG Wasson puts
it, “you’re a crafty insurgent” No Pepsi offered usually means no repeat visit."

"We first found these triplets a few weeks ago. We mostly see them out tending to their herd of sheep,
but today they were helping wash clothes. We noticed the one in the middle with the "shiner" and SSG Pena
wanted to stop and check on her. She didn't want to say what happened, but it was pretty evident. This is
the type of clothing the girls in rural areas wear. Nothing else is really permitted by the male dominating society they
live in. As they get older, they will not be out in plain view as much unless they are working and then they will be
required to cover their faces."

"The next time you just have to water your yard or enjoy a nice cool drink of water, think about the people who
have to use this for drinking, cooking, bathing, and irrigating crops. Yep, this canal is the only source of water
in this area and they make the best with what they got…07SEP05"

"One of our project schools prior to renovation work"

Same school after two days of work. The entire perimeter wall seen in the above photo is completely gone.
The contractor estimates the school will be fully renovated by the 23rd of September, minus the perimeter wall.
The school's headmaster postponed the start of school until then. Once the school building itself is completely
renovated, the students will be allowed to attend school and the contractor will continue to replace the wall until
he’s complete."

"Carrying on with the Army tradition, SPC Moses reads the orders promoting PFC Blanchard to SPC.
SSG Pena, medical section NCOIC waits to pin the rank...08SEP05"

"SSG Pena proudly pinning SPC rank to the collar of newly promoted SPC Blanchard…08SEP05"

"For the Longhorn Fans, I take BEVO Duck and his trusty sidekick Tripod on every mission as good
luck charms.
As you can see, Tripod has been wounded a couple of times and fitted with prosthetic legs.
He’s also been awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device and a Purple Heart.
He’s seen more action than
all the officers being awarded the Bronze Star in our unit."

"I think a Texas sized “Congratulations” are in order for Vince Young & the Texas Longhorns…that was
a helluva game.
Some other Longhorn fans and I got yelled at for making too much noise in the chow hall this
morning while we watched the game.
Too bad all those Ohio State fans had to go home with their heads down.
Man, they new the game was coming 4 years out and still lost, how very sad. Yes, I’m very much a trash talker
when it comes to
Longhorns. This photo was taken at the beginning of the deployment in Southern Iraq.
SSG Farr seized
the opportunity to recruit more
Longhorn Fans and after about a month, you couldn’t go anywhere
in southern
Iraq without being flashed
Hook’em Horns."

I want to thank all of you who support Paul and his team. Your support means a whole lot to his family. His children and I have so much pride in the work that Paul does and knowing that so many people around the world are hearing what he has to say makes me very proud. Thanks, Laurie (Paul's wife)
What a vibrant post. Thanks, Blogger! Where did the ideas come from? Any thoughts on what societal impulses are at work in such living trust attorney southern california matters?
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