Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A simple thing

I have been unpacking my stuff that just arrived from Iraq. I had a large molded-plastic foot locker packed with various and sundry items; books, another pair of boots, posters, 4-cup coffee pot, DVDs, shampoo, batteries, etc. Stuff that I didn't really want to toss out, but stuff that I could live without. The foot locker, once so important to me, is now stored ignominiously outside in the rain with the hoses.

In preparation to come home, in September we packed some boxes and foot lockers , stashed them in a CONEX and locked it up. While in Iraq I had received packages in the mail (Yes!) and used these mailing boxes to consolidate items that went into the foot locker that went into the CONEX. As I unpacked today, I emptied the mailing boxes and tossed them into my garbage can.

As I unpacked I recalled the many mailing boxes I discarded while I was in Iraq. The difference was that in Iraq I stripped off any names and addresses on the boxes before tossing them. We didn't want the bad guys to get our names and ranks, and especially didn't want them getting the return addresses. In one round up of insurgents, the soldiers recovered a stack of magazines which still carried the mailing labels showing names and addresses. Many of them were sent to the soldier's home in the states and then forwarded to the FOB, thus showing soldier's home address. We worried that the family back home could be targeted by the knuckleheads.

Here I didn't worry about the names on the packages. A tiny but telling freedom that we all enjoy.

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