- 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003
- 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003
- 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
- 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
- 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
- 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
- 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
- 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
- 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
- 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
- 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
- 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
- 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
- 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
- 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
Time to once again open my life up a little in order to share the plethora of wealth I'm about to absorb. I'm going to be back in Iraq through September, so hop on board and check back every couple of days, I'll do my best to update as much as possible. Questions? email@example.com And check out the site I'm working with: http://www.billroggio.com Support independent journalism!
Saturday, February 01, 2003
Joining the Marines in 1985, my luck did not start well. Back then, President Reagan had us all believing the communists were making their way up from Central America and threatened the country. So, at 17, I enlisted open contract as a US Marine recruit.
At that time, all I wanted to do was fight in a war. I loved history, in particular war (World War II was my favorite). I suppose this love and romanticism is what I was looking for as a young buck ready to take on the world.
Unfortunately, the Marines found out I had brains and sent me packing off to computer school. Imagine that: Go in OPEN CONTRACT and I end up in computers. I assure you I wasn't very happy.
The best I could do for the next three years was ultimately convince battalion to let me join the "training squad". I'm not sure if that was the true name or not, but it consisted of the rifle range instructors and me. Our mission twice a week was to assault, ambush, and harass the "office poages" who were getting their two week refresher course which comes once a year.
That was the closest I came to real combat. One night creeping up a hill rimmed by "poages", gunfire breaks out to my right and almost immediately a rocket flare comes screaming down the hill right at me. Thought I was in Apocalypse Now or something. Anyway, the rocket missed and I managed to throw a tear gas grenade in the CP. Oh fun.
My final attempt to become a combat marine came when I tried in vain to join the elite "Marine Security Guard" unit. These guys were tough and the training even tougher. These guys are the embassy guards of the world and until the mid-80's, were responsible for guarding nuclear weapons on Navy ships.
I remember getting called down to battalion and being told my MOS (job) was too scarce and they couldn't justify sending me. That would end my Marine Corps career.
During the Gulf War, my unit was deployed to Kuwait, but the war was over too quick for me to make a decision. No matter, I had to finish college and get on with life.
I would eventually get involved with local TV news which was a great training ground, but a horrible place to work your skill. It got to the point where I wasn't happy with what I was reporting. Not only that, but I wasn't seeing the news philosophy that management was seeing. This would ultimately leave me without a contract renewal and wondering what it was I was going to do in my life.
Soon after leaving the news, I began my personal training into the world of adventure travel and international journalism. Somehow I needed to find a way to use my skills and my urge for adventure to make enough money to cover the bills. It's been rather tough.
My first trip abroad was to the hurricane ravaged country of Honduras. I followed a relief group in and hoped to get an understanding for this sort of travel.
I learned a lot on that trip, enough so that when I heard President Bush's State of the Union address a year later, I knew the culmination of my experiences was coming to a pinnacle. It was that night I decided to go to Iraq.
I decided I would try to get in through the north with the intention of joining up with a Kurdish Peshmerga unit and witness the Battle of Mosul. From there I expected to travel back toward Turkey to document the humanitarian disaster that was already beginning to unfold with the threat of war now looming very near.
So now it was a matter of guessing when the US 4th Division would come through Turkey. I had a month to decide the window of opportunity to be a witness to history. I decided it would be February 10th - March 10th. Afterall, being a member of NATO, the Turks would surely allow the US in to attack from the north, and no one wanted to be fighting in the summer's deadly heat. The attack HAD to come by March.