31 December 2007

End of the Year Wrap Up

1.) Where did you ring in 2007?
Downtown Orlando

2.) What was your status by Valentine’s Day?
Happily in love.

3.) Were you in school (anytime this year)?
I did a few Army schools, but not actual school.

4.) How did you earn your keep?
Learning how to make war with Al Qaida, then going to Iraq and doing it.

5.) Did you ever have to go to the hospital?
I think so maybe, I don't remember.

6.) Have you encountered the police this year?
Yeah...I got pulled over for not slowing down enough at a yield sign. What's that all about.

7.) Where did you go on vacation?
North Carolina, St. Augustine...I think that's it, I don't vacation often.

8.) What did you purchase that was over $500?
My car, my computer, and today I bought a new scope for my rifle (yes Mom and Dad, I do need it, and I can afford it :) ) and the best purchase I've ever made, Carlisle's engagement ring.

9.) Did you know anybody who got married?

10.) Did you know anybody who passed away?

11.) Have you ran into anybody you graduated high school with?
None other than the usuals.

12.) Did you move anywhere?
Yeah from Fort Stewart, GA to the beautiful suburbs of Baghdad.

13.) What sporting events did you go to?
I went to one TFA football game, that got rained out.

14.) What concerts did you go to?
The Super Bowl of Hardcore (Ramallah, On Broken Wings, Madball, a bunch of other FSU bands), Bury Your Dead, Make or Break

15) Are you registered to vote?

16.) If so, did you do your patriotic duty on Nov. 7?
No, I was in Kuwait.

17.) Where do you live now?

18.) Describe your birthday:
Wake up at 0400, throw on some ACUs, run out to the truck. Roll out on an EOD mission. While out on that one, get a follow-on mission over the radio. While on that one get 2 more follow-ons. Finally pull back in around 2000. Pass out.

19.) What’s the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2006?
Get blown up and walk away.

20.) What is one thing you regretted this year?
Not spending more time with my friends.

21.) What’s something you learned about yourself?
Death doesn't scare me. And I wasn't all talk about it.

22.) Any new additions to your family?
Does Cali count?

23.) What was your best month?
September. Easy.

24.) What pop culture event will you remember 2007 by?
Paris Hilton going to jail.

25.) How would you rate this year with a scale from 1 (crappy) to 10 (amazing)?
This year has been up and down. Much of it was around 10..since November it's been in the lower half.

Survey Says

So today hasn't been too bad. One of my best friends has been rolling out with us the last few days. It's good to talk to him. We've been able to talk a lot about our families and home and what we're going to do when we get back...you know, what everyone talks about in Iraq.

As usual the talk turned a little dark, and we talked about getting killed. I told him to make sure I get his wife's phone number in case something happened. Then he tells me, out of nowhere, if something happens to him, I'm in his will. Me and Cali get his son (who by the way is the coolest boy on EARTH).

So that kinda made me happy. Someone trusts me enough to let me take their child..that's pretty awesome.

But that's not why I even started this entry, it just kinda came out. I was posting to see who all is reading this. If you want to participate just leave me a comment, let me know where you're from, who you are, whatever. I'm just curious to see how many people are reading.

30 December 2007

"This is What They Die For"

Your lips move, but no words come out
That was then, This is now
The past is the past
No need for looking back.
We're not affected at all
By what goes on in the world
You'll ignore your ways alone
This could be a living hell
You think that just because you were born
You won your freedom by yourself?
No acknowledgment to the fact
Your life was bought for a price.
It could be us who's dying in the streets!
It could be us who's overrun!
We're the ones with it all,
But we don't know it at all.
We have no clue of war,
That we're the ones they're fighting for!
They fight and die,
So we don't have to shed our own blood.
This is what they die for!
We live like kings while they fight to protect freedom,
We live our dreams while they fight to protect freedom.
They fight for you!

- In Due Time

It's good to know that not every band in the world hates the military and doesn't care about the soldiers over here.

Some days, are really just...ugh. This is one of them. It started out great. Then we came back from our mission, and they put us on stand-by (again). So we sat and waited and waited and waited. Then apparently the mission got scrubbed. Which is fine, cause I don't really like rollin' at night, means way less sleep.

But being back here also means getting back to the stupid Army games. Like you can't go anywhere in groups smaller than 4. And study hall every night. And going to the motor pool (the worst thing EVER.) And I'm always in the motor pool.

I drive the front truck in our convoys. We often times drive on the wrong side of the road. Fast. And hit stuff.

So I go to the motor pool a lot. Replace side mirrors, fix transmission, replace tires, reattach doors, fix the turret, fix the siren, fix the lights, add lights, fix the new lights, replace side mirrors (again), fix the siren (again), fix the seat, fix the siren (again), fix the heater, fix the AC, fix the power steering, fix the alternator, fix the spare tire mount, fix the headlights....the list goes on.

All of these repairs are not because of faulty equipment, it's because we drive these trucks through hell and back everyday.

Ugh..my head hurts. And I need to turn in laundry. And take a shower. And I haven't heard from Carlisle since Christmas....

Sweet Tea!!

So today we went to a different FOB for one of our missions. We got to get out and walk around which was nice, cause usually our missions are pretty fast paced, but this one we got to relax, more so than we do on our own FOB.

Anyway, I spent about 3 hours sitting around and talking to the guys in my section and just being lazy. Right when we were getting ready to leave I was sitting in the truck reading a book (My War by Colby Buzzell, buy it. Read it. It is Iraq exactly.) and someone knocked on my window. Look out and all I can see is a can of Arizona Sweet Tea.

Now let me tell you all a little something about me and sweet tea. I'm sure most of you know me, but by now I'm aware that I have readers that don't know me at all (which is pretty gnarly!).

I LOVE SWEET TEA. End of story. I have a tattoo on the back of my arm that says "Sweet Southern Style" this comes straight off of the label from Arizona Sweet Tea cans. So as you can imagine, seeing a can of this in my window, I could hardly believe my eyes.

I have been going through withdrawals from sweet tea. It's terrible, back in the states I'd go through like a gallon a day (literally, at least a gallon) and I have had none since I October 24. And then today, out of nowhere, a can appears. It was the greatest thing to happen since I got to Iraq.

I got me some sweet tea. Today was a good day. Oh yeah and it's only 1640! We still got like another half hour of daylight, so who knows what can happen yet!

29 December 2007

A Day in the Life


Life in Iraq is very strange. It's almost like home. At least we try and make it like home. We have bonfires. Smoke hookah on the roof. Play Xbox and Risk and watch movies. We all talk about our girl back home. Why this dude joined the Army, why that guy dropped out of college to come to this place, how much it would suck to be stop-lossed. And then occasionally someone will bring up the war itself. And for about 5 minutes everyone will sit and listen while one or two guys talk about how depressing it is to be here dying and getting blown up when the Iraqis don't even care.

And then someone says something along the lines of, "Yeah it sucks, but whatever. I'ma kill me some." And inevitably the conversation will start over again. This time a little darker than when it started. What about getting hurt? Would you want to come back to this place? Would you mind getting hurt if it would get you out of Iraq, or the Army? I wonder if we'll get blown up again, haha yeah yeah, I wonder when it's going to happen.

What do you have to worry about, it's not like they're going to hit your truck. I roll first truck bro, I am the magnet. It's cool though. I'd hate to be anywhere else. I earned this slot. Yeah you're right, we'll all get hit.

Then the radio crackles and hisses and someone says something about Bravo Troop. Hope no one got it. Whatever, we'll probably never know. Dang. Who's going to chow? Grabe me a to go plate dude. Oh come on, I always have to go. Whatever, I'll just eat tomorrow. What are we doing tomorrow? You think EOD will get called? Hope not. Wonder what Alpha is up to. Who cares. I'm gonna go clean my weapon.

28 December 2007

Believe it or Not, It's Working!

Today I went to Baghdad, like the city. And this war is working. It was amazing.

As soon as you cross the bridge over the Euphrates (which was rather awe inspiring I might add) it's like driving into a whole other world. On my side of the river, there's trash piled all along the road, no one goes out after dark, and everything in the road or next to it, just might be an IED. You cross the bridge, there's none of that. There's even streetlights!!

Baghdad was amazing. We all just like looked around in awe at how relaxed it was..and everyone there looked at us like aliens. We stuck out like sore thumbs though. We're walking around with our IBAs (bullet proof vests) and night vision and rifles (yeah, these guys don't even have their weapons). It was weird. Made me proud to be a regular joe though. At least I earned the right to wear a combat patch and a CAB.


19 December 2007


I wish I had my camera with me right now, but they are taking my pictures to squadron so that the dudes up top can see what it is we do everyday.

Iraq is a beautiful country. I cannot even begin to describe the natural beauty of this place. It's rather depressing because the people who live here don't recognize it for what it is. They just throw their trash on the ground and when the pile gets too big they burn it (sometimes).

If this place ever settles down (it will, we're making amazing progress) then I encourage every single person who reads this to go out of their way to come here. It's amazing. I almost wish I could live here. The people here are so kind and peaceful it's hard to understand where IEDs come from.

I am beyond busy. Running missions all day and almost every night. I miss you all terribly, and I will be home soon.

13 December 2007

Not Dead. Promise.

Don't worry. I'm NOT dead. Just stupid busy. Like 2 hours of sleep a night busy.

I'll update and email you all later.

By the way, thank you all so much for the packages. They've been great!

04 December 2007


So just so everyone knows, we had a brief and we're not allowed to really tell about what happens here. Like we can tell you "oh, I went out today" but not "Yeah, we got nailed today." Soooo....unfortunately you will all have to wait until I get home to hear all my stories.

But don't stop reading! I'll still update, there's plenty of things that happen here that are worth writing about and definitely worth reading.

I have gotten so many packages from you all! Thanks to everyone soo much! Just so you all know, we use Q-Tips to clean our weapons, and they're always dirty. I clean my weapon at least twice a day. We also use them for personal hygiene and stuff, but almost entirely for weapons.

I have been more than busy. Running several missions a day. To sum up the last 24 hours I'll use a quote from an excellent movie:

"For a few seconds, this place was Armageddon. There was a firefight!!"

25 November 2007


Soo...Everyone send me stuff. Anything, everything. Just lots of it. I'm the only guy in my platoon to not get mail yet. So send me lots of junk. And Q-tips. And for you gun enthusiasts, cleaning kits and parts for the M-16/M-4 family (5.56mm/.223 cal). We're notoriously short on weapons cleaning kits and the dust here in relentless on the weapons. Umm...I think that's all I need right now. OH! And tattoo magazines. Those are good too. Thanks!

PFC Caleb DeArmas
Unit # 42545
APO, AE 09361

22 November 2007

IED's Aren't as Loud as You'd Imagine

I haven't posted lately because I've been really busy and I don't really have in internet connection. I'm working on it. I move into my own room in about a week then I'll have internet.

In case you don't know I was hit by an IED. I'll post the whole story later. I'm ok. My truck, is not.

16 November 2007

Welcome to War

This is the only picture I have of my gunner. It's the only picture I'll be able to take of him in Iraq. His tour is over after 4 days in Iraq. Our first mission ended in a bang.
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11 November 2007

My War Starts Today

In a few hours I leave.

I've spent all day getting my mind right for what it is that I will face in the next 15 months. Once I step off that C-130 tonight, I step into a world which very few of you have ever been. It is a place where people will be trying to kill me. It's a very weird sensation. I'm not really nervous, but I'm uneasy? I don't know. I know that I don't feel normal, that could be what it is that's bothering me.

Over the last few weeks I've slowly been turning into the warrior that I'm trained to be. Becoming callous to things that would normally unnerve me. For example today, before people started getting on the plane we all cut our arms open. Enough to draw blood, a rite of passage "bleed now, live later." I usually can't draw my own blood. I have a 3 inch incision on my bicep that I cut open with the saw blade from a gerber tool. I cut my gunner and the gunner for the squadron commander (SCO) too. It's weird. It's not intended to be too painful or gruesome, just some battlefield superstition, with no beginning, and I had no problem participating in it.

Don't take what I'm saying to be disheartening. I'm not turning into some cold-blooded killer with no conscience, hardly the truth. Rather, I'm building up a wall of sorts around myself to protect the part of me that I hold dear. The Caleb that you all know and love. He's still here, just in a temporary packaging. I've "turned it on" I've been slowly getting to this point, but now it is in full force. I am what I was trained to be. I am a warrior and unafraid. I will seek out those who look to harm the innocents and the children and I will destroy them. I will show mercy, but I will be quick to react to hostility. I am on a mission. I will never back down. Never give in. Its game time and I'm standing at midfield waiting for the kickoff.

I am cocked, locked and ready to rock. My adrenaline is up and I have developed and antsy energy. I can't keep still, my feet refuse to stay flat on the ground. My breathing is more steady. The blood on my sleeve has dried. The joking has stopped, and everyone is smoking that last cigarette and putting on their kevlars. Check your mags, 29 rounds, green tips. The spring is tight, good, no jamming. Clap the rounds to the rear of the magazine. Slide it into the mag well. Pull the charging handle. Watch the blot push the first round into the chamber. Double, Triple check the safety. Take one last look at Kuwait. Last time I'll see this place for a while.

Let's Roll.

07 November 2007

Getting Close to Leaving////

As I'm sure you all know by now. I can't say where I'm going in Iraq or when I'm going. But what I can say is, Veteran's Day will have a whole new meaning for me after this year.

We're super busy. I can't really update tonight.

Oh yeah, apparently Hawr Rajab is a pretty cool little town outside Baghdad. ( GOOGLE IT!)

05 November 2007

Laid Back Days

So the last couple days haven't been too bad. Longer than necessary, but not too bad. Yesterday we had classes all day so it wasn't bad. WE actually stayed inside all day which was a welcome surprise. It gets surprisingly warm outside. Today all we did was go to a zero range to make sure all of our scopes and sights are zeroed in and ready to rock when we go up North. We got more ammo than we needed so after everyone zeroed they let us just goof off, so we put a lot of rounds down range. It was pretty fun.

Tomorrow there's a basketball showdown between us and Bravo Troop. They're platoon sergeant came over talking trash and challenged us in CMD to a match, so thats what we're doing tomorrow, and as far as I know thats all I'm doing tomorrow, which is amazing.

Oh yeah, if any of you see something and you don't know what it means, please don't hesitate to post a comment I'll gladly explain it to you. For example, Mom - a POG is a Person Other than Grunt - or a paper pusher...we have much worse names for them, but for the sake of those reading I'll stick with POG, oh and it's pronounced pogue.

I gotta roll out.

Oh yeah, CMD (my new platoon) is the Combat Mobility Detachment for the Headquarters Troop. We do all the security for the command group and EOD (bomb squad) and stuff like that, plus regular patrols.

03 November 2007

Retarded Classes? Yes, Please.

So while I was in basic training I was given, oh I dunno, around 20 hours of driving time in a Humvee, that included driving at night with NODs (night vision goggles) and off-road. When I got to Fort Stewart, they made me a Humvee driver, so all I did was drive a humvee. Then earlier this week I went to like an agressive driving course where we ran cars off the road and stuff. Then this morning happened.

We woke up an hour before everyone else, put on all our gear and walked over to some tent for "Advanced Drivers Training." Ok, so let me start here, the up-armored humvee handles totally different from the humvee I've been driving in the States but after a few minutes you figure it out. So I'm thinking that this class today is going to be pretty cool.

The first sign that this was going to suck, was all of the people that don't drive humvees that went to the class with me. That should have alerted me something was wrong, but I just figured they were re-adjusting some of the other platoons. Then we got the brief on what we would do today. We would drive a half mile loop, and avoid 7 pot holes while maintaining a speed of 25mph. Are you serious?

About 150 of us finished the class today in 2 hours. They said yesterday they had a bunch of POGs and it took them 8 FREAKING HOURS. That makes me nervous. It's just like driving a car, but easier, cause NOTHING can hurt you. Whatever man, I'm over it. We're pretty much almost maybe done doing stuff. Now we just wait until we head up North, which is coming up, but no one really knows when. It's great.

So I'm dirty, I'm tired, I miss my Carlisle, and I am going to go take a shower. Until I get to the internet again, goodbye my precious readers.

OH! And send me some emails! It sucks checking your email and not having any. xsouthernx@gmail.com

Hooray Kuwait!

Sooo...Kuwait is a very boring country. And there's not much to look at, but if you come with the United States Army you'll never be bored!

I have been so busy lately its almost ridiculous. I was moved to another platoon. And if you pray, pray more. The platoon I got moved to is going to be going outside the wire. I don't have too much time to elaborate. Hopefully I'll be able to knock out a good update later today.

28 October 2007

Training and Working and Working Out

The last few days have been hectic as I can imagine. I was moved to another platoon, so I had to move all my stuff, then get to know all my new NCOs and platoon mates and stuff, and then got right to working.

We're busy up-armoring all of our tracks and the motor pool is several miles from where we stay. We have no vehicles so we have to walk in the heat to and from the motor pool a few times a day. Good news is we're almost done getting all that done. Tomorrow we're doing some more training, MOUT stuff (urban operations for all you civilians!).

Tonight we had fun though, we ran around outside with our night vision on just to get used to wearing it and working with it. Let me tell you. Run really fast with that stuff on, and you will probably fall.


Mom and Dad, I miss you guys, sorry I haven't called. We've been slammed the last few days. I'll call as soon as I can though, promise. Oh and the only time I can call might be at like 2 or 3 AM your time...sooo sorry for waking you guys up :)

Cali, I love you sweetheart.

27 October 2007

Officially Part of OIF

Hey everyone, thanks so much for the comments and emails! I would love to respond to all of them individually, but I just don't have the time. And our internet connection is sketchy at best. So I have to do the essentials before I can reply to you all (essentials being check my email, post an update and email my wonderful fiance)

So...last time I checked in I was in Shannon, Ireland, which by the way is FREEZING. We were laid over there for about 4 hours or so. Then we got on the flight to Kuwait. It was a thoroughly long and unadventurous flight. About the only excitement was before we took off the pilot got on the intercom and warned us to make sure everything was stowed carefully because we were forecasted for some "severe turbulence" as he called it. Let's just say that was probably the smoothest flight I've ever been on.

So we flew all night, saw the sunrise over Iraq from 30,000 feet and landed in Kuwait pretty early in the morning. Let me backtrack a little bit here. While I was in Georgia I was volun-told that I was going to be on the baggage detail. Meaning me and about 15 other guys get to load approximately 500 bags, all weighing in the 100 pound range, under the plane. So upon landing in Kuwait me and my baggage detail buddies were off loaded first so we could download the plane. After the downloading, during which I suffered (undiagnosed - but I'm pretty sure that my exagerated assumptions should be correct) a mildly shattered shin and a shredded bicep, we got onto a bus to drive to our staging point for the move into Iraq. I can't list all the places and times for OPSEC reasons but I'm in the middle of the desert somewhere in Kuwait. Some point in the next few weeks I'll move North to Iraq.

Anyway, once we got here we went to some briefings on how were getting paid, what the camp rules are, where the phones are and the like.

All in all, here's my rundown of Kuwait. Don't visit. There's no grass, no trees, no clouds, no wind, no water, and nothing to do. I haven't even seen a camel. I'm going to try to get some pictures up soon...having trouble with them for some reason.

I'll try and work up the energy to fix it later. We got alot of classes to go to this afternoon.

26 October 2007

Shannon, Ireland

So for the last forty something hours, I've been awake. We boarded the plane for Kuwait and right now we're refueling in Ireland. I am missing you all terribly. I will post a much longer update when we get to Kuwait. My battery is about to die.

Here's to the heroes.

Oh yeah, and when we got off the plane here, there was a group of guys from 10th Mountain on their way home from Iraq. It was weird, they looked at us like we were getting ready to be hating life, and we all just envied them. It was fantastically awkward. Soon enough, I'll be one of those guys on the big bird home.

24 October 2007

The Wire is Running Down

I'm out of here in a little bit. My next post is going to be from Kuwait.

Keep the prayer strong, I'm going to need it. So will Carlisle.

Let's Roll.

22 October 2007

Packing for Iraq

So this is basically my last night in the U.S. Tomorrow night I'll be super busy getting all my last minute stuff done. Figured I'd knock out one more picture for you all. The last time I'll wear civilian clothes for the next couple months.

T-Minus 51 Hours

So my deployment is coming a little earlier than expected. It was kind of a shock to say the least, but all in all at least it's starting. The sooner I get there, the sooner I come home.

Just for clarification: I will often refer to hurrying home and wanting to leave Iraq. DO NOT take this as me being afraid to go, or unwilling. I volunteered to go, knowing the dangers involved. I chose one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army for a reason. I support the war in Iraq and I am very proud to go. However, leaving my fiance behind is almost torture. Nothing on earth scares me or bothers me like leaving her here. When I speak of hurrying home and getting out of Iraq, it is solely so I can come home to that girl.
In the next 100 hours or so I am leaving the United States to go to Iraq.

I'm going to be gone for about 15 months. It's going to be hot and stressful. But I'll be ok.