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« Baghdad 01/03/04. So THAT'S the Tigris! | Main | Goodbye Iraq »

January 14, 2004


janet in venice beach

major, i have no idea how big an area the CSH covers, but seeing as how its all tents and MOBILE, wouldnt it make sense for your replacements to survey the ground, take some elevation measurments, get in some of those famous army corps of engineer earth movers- anything that can drag and scrape over an area of open ground and level it flat across, and maybe dredge drainage channels in a grid, across it? to direct the rainfall to ruts lower than the plane of scraping-place plank bridges across the ruts over watercourses?-and move your various tents, one by one, onto the flattened zones, so this River Runs Thru It effect dies away? isnt the point of experience? to learn from mistakes, and improve from them with time and opportunity?

i mean--the whole point of mobile tents is that they can be pulled up and moved to another spot, right?
i once went camping in the national forest for a month, and made my camp in a gully alongside a stream. looking around, i noted that there must have been a helluva river cutting thru there at some earlier point because of the way the sides were eroded. then in mid july it started thundering and lightning and raining like noah's ark. i was at 9000 feet. the mountain was 10 thousand. and it dawned on me that maybe those cutaway walls on either side of me werent so ancient after all. if the ground saturated, i would be in the path of a flash flood. my first hint was waking up and finding water four inches deep, coursing past and under my tent floor. an outdoorsman came and found me, took my shovel and dug a deep trench all around my tent to channel the water away, then ordered me to come with him in his truck, back down to town and wait out the storm in his house. if that had not been an option, he would have pulled up my tent stakes and we would have dragged all my gear up onto the logging road above me and then higher still, pprobably up to ground that showed no signs of ever having water wear. my point is, you guys couldnt see where the water would colect in the dry weather. i camped in a water channel, without thinking water would flow higher than it was when i got there in dry weather. now you can SEE where the water channels's time to move the tents . or make the new guys move them. they have no valid excuse not to. like me, they can SEE where the water runs.
know how easy it is to make a simple bubble level? got any glass tubes around? or plastic? sure ya do. IV's. test tubes. blood tubes. put enough water into a short length on of till only a bubble of air is left. cork it. measure the halfway point. mark it. lay it on its side. theres your line level.wrap a paper clip around each end and make little hooks that can hang the thing horizontally on a taut string stretched from A to B.when the bubble hits the mark in the middle, the string is dead level. that's how to clear the ground level so water doesn't pool. have guys with shovels either throw dirt in the lows till they fill up level, or scrape humps down level and dig channels away. or mark out the high ground, hump it over evenly, and move the tent over on top of each one as they make it.

would it be too revolutionary to spread this notion around as the new guys arrive, so they can do something better from the outset?
or have your guys do it for your own releif between rains?

or is that too much like common sense?

Pierce Wetter

No great mystery why guys miss sometimes.

Sometimes we get more then one stream. Then you just have to kind of point the biggest stream at the toilet.

How to simulate this: Hold your arms out straight in front of you at a 45 degree angle to each other. Now, while keeping a 45 degree angle, try to point both arms directly forward...

Steve Davenport

Major Pain, Hello from North Florida. I've been reading the Iraqi blogs and a couple of soldier blogs for several weeks now. Wish I had checked out this one sooner. Reckon I can always skim the archieves.

Anyway, my wife and I and most people I know appreciate all the good you are doing. Hope you safely return home soon


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