View Full Version : The Mule in Iraq

Trail Dog
06-24-2005, 01:52
Hello fellow hikers. I finally got the internet in my room! Heck I finally got a room! Things are changing over here as far as living conditions for the soldiers are concerned. I share a room about 12x12 with one other soldier. We hooked up a satellite connection (we had to pay for it) and I ran a network to the rooms who wanted it, itís not the fastest but itís pretty good. Its sooooo good to finally be able to get online whenever I need to and check and the going ons in the world as well as at White Blaze.

I have been in the Middle East for 39 days now and i have less than 11 months till I get to go home and hike again. I canít wait. The food is great, I mean really good. The area isn't the safest but its not too bad, very infrequent attacks and the occasional car bomb or road side bomb outside the gate. We've been doing well and my unit has so far put a fairly good size dent in the insurgentís plans. We captured a few important screwballs, lots of munitions and weapons and we've only been running missions for a few weeks.

Surprisingly enough the locals like us but it really depends on what towns you are in at the time. Some love us some donít care and a few hide. I am currently working with our units interpreters who are all locals, very nice people and most seem to honestly want to help us so their country can get in order. They get paid pretty well and most do a very good job. They are teaching me Arabic and I am helping them with the English as best I can. They get paid but very little by our standards, but its good money for them and it helps their families. Most are very afraid to leave the base and go home since the insurgents want them and their families dead.

That brings me to this. Several people have asked about sending me care packages so I can get things I need. Honestly I have everything I want except the Trail, mountains, my girlfriend and beer. DONT SEND ME BEER! Itís not allowed, and my girlfriend wouldn't survive the trip in a box. If I needed anything I just log online and go to town with my credit card. But what is needed are perhaps donations for our interpreters.

The military only supplies them so much, and that is very limited to one or perhaps two uniforms, a pair of boots some soap, and a room to stay in at the base. Prices on base are cheap by American standards but expensive for them. They could use things like soap, laundry detergent, towels, bed sheets, pillows, blankets, underwear, T shirts and socks. I would limit it to things that could help them do their mission with us. Also what would be good are perhaps old English text books, pens, paper and notebooks (small ones for their missions). Stuff that would make them more of an asset to us in the field by improving their English skills and aiding them in translating. English dictionaries maybe, small pocket ones, or a big one for the office. I would advise it to be in the form of donated material, maybe someone works for Websterís, or fruit of the loom? Or you just have old bed sheets laying around. If you do wish to send anything email me and I will send you my units address here in Iraq.

I am really glad people are so willing to help. Its not like it was when the invasion was happening, so us soldiers donít really need too much from home. Things are getting squared away, soldiers have more access to things, like this internet in my room, and itís not as dangerous as it use to be. Its still sort of a war out there, but not as bad as it was two or even one year ago. Hopefully in another 2 years the last US troops can stop trying to keep Iraq safe and the Iraqis can handle it themselves.

Thank you all for your interest, feel free to email me at Robert.allen.cohen@us.army.mil. I will ask my Chain of command if there is anything the unit needs, but I thing we are doing good. Once we get into more contact with the local towns maybe the schools will need supplies and other items. My unit will make sure anything sent is put to good use and gets to those who need it.

Enjoy the trail, Iíll be out there in 2007.

Lion King
06-24-2005, 05:15
Hey man. I respect you guys a great deal.
I have something you may enjoy over there, especially when the **** is hitting the fan and you need some air.

I would love to send you one of my DVDs of my hiking film on the AT.

Drop me a mailing addy for you and I will send you one out.

I dont know if you guys have access to a DVD player or not, but if so, this may take you away and back to the wonder of the Appalachian MTNS that we all love so much.

Take care of yourself my friend.

PM or leave an addy here, and I will have one out to you stat.

Lion King

06-24-2005, 10:17
good to hear you are doing fine mule,send me an address and i will mail some items to help,i hope i get to meet you in person someday,i will be hitting the trail
in september starting in dalton mass,keep us posted,i will pray for you and your
buddies safe return,stay safe dude:cool: neo

rick ashworth us navy 1978-1982

06-24-2005, 15:40
keep up the good work mule,i am proud of you and all our men and women in service to our country:cool: neo

us navy 1978-1982

Crazy Larry #1
06-24-2005, 16:10
Hey Mule! Right on, you hang in there and at all costs keep that attitude where it is at right now. There will be times when it's going to be a tough ride, but you got what it takes, after all your a Appalachian Trail Hiker! And a member of www.whiteblaze.net (http://www.whiteblaze.net)

06-24-2005, 22:08
Ditto, I'll send some stuff. Give us an addy and tell the postman to give ya a bin. Tell those "locals" we care and appreciate them and will do what we can. Do they have kids that need toys or clothes? You said soap did you mean "bar" soap for baths? You guys on the ground know best what to do with the stuff. If you have full online access get some specifics on "individual" locals needs and well start a "adopt a local" program and take care of those who take care of you! Stay safe and God speed.
Simper Fi. USMC Retired

SGT Rock
06-24-2005, 23:05
There is always a way. The biggest surprise I ever got was about 10 microbrewery beers in two packages. That said, be VERY careful doing something like that.

Good luck to you man, keep your head down and your body armor close. Where are you at?

06-24-2005, 23:08
So Rock are ya saying "you can" send beer? If done incognito?

06-25-2005, 00:47
So Rock are ya saying "you can" send beer? If done incognito?
It also helps to be really lucky. Back in my Navy days, they could ask you to open any package in front of them, if it seemed suspicious. That skirted the mail interception legality question, but let the NIS/SP check the contents of any package that they wanted to.

You were allowed to refuse the package, however, with no recriminations. How do they handle things like that nowadays?

SGT Rock
06-25-2005, 10:19
So Rock are ya saying "you can" send beer? If done incognito?
I'm not saying anything :rolleyes:

Interpret it how you will and act accordingly :D

06-27-2005, 16:17
Good to hear from you. I still enjoy getting your emails. Stay safe and get home safely as well. Brooklyn misses you Bro!

06-27-2005, 16:21
Traildog and Mule, thankyou for your service to our great Country

Jack Tarlin
06-27-2005, 17:19

Please let us know about your needs and your friends, and also keep us informed about your projects with the kids, whether it's school/art supplies, sports equipment, or anything else. Seems to me that while it's only July, by the end of the year, interested Whiteblaze folks could probably put together a helluva package for some of your local kids. And before some idiot chimes in about needy kids here at home or some other nonsense, keep in mind that participating in programs like this is ENTIRELY voluntary. It's good for these kids, who have much tougher lives than our own; it's good for Mule and his colleagues, who have to deal with these people on a daily basis and who are trying to convince these folks that there are positive aspects to the American presence there, and it's ultimately good for America. Anyway, Mule, let us know what develops, and stay in touch when you can.

Pencil Pusher
07-01-2005, 00:15
Get home safe and quick before Jodie gets your girlfriend too.

Trail Dog
07-01-2005, 07:16
Get home safe and quick before Jodie gets your girlfriend too.

hey what do you too?

Trail Dog
07-01-2005, 07:20
i meant: what do you mean 'too'? cant we edit posts anymore?

Pencil Pusher
07-01-2005, 21:21
No you can't edit these posts. They want people to think before they post, but I'll show them! ;)

As for 'too', the troops don't sing that anymore when they run for pt?

07-01-2005, 21:41
"Traildog and Mule, thank you for your service to our great Country". I went to serve in the 1st ID Vietnam in 1966 while folks held parades in support of us. I returned after two tours in 1968 to a country filled with fair weather patriots and "American Idiots." I wish you all the best and support you completely. God bless and keep you.

Trail Dog
07-02-2005, 07:07
just THE Mule

Trail dog was my whiteblaze name prior to my hike and getng my trail name

all is well by the way, Iraq is hot, it never rains and everything smells funny
Talk soon stay safe, i will update soon