Just got in today’s mail a letter from our son Jon, currently stationed in al Rutbah in Iraq; here’s the text:
August 22, 2008
I wanted to write y’all a quick letter while I’ve got some downtime here at the IP Station. It’s now Day 50 of our deployment and so far things have been going relatively smooth. There’s only been one incident where I’ve had to bring my M4 up and take it off safe; each time never escalated any further than that.
No encounters with any IEDs, either, which is outstanding. But, even with that said, we’re rolling with a couple MRAPs (basically a 40,000-pound up-armored ice cream truck) when we drive to/from Rutbah & our outpost, so we’re good to go!
The main challenge is working with the Iraqi police. The majority of them are so apathetic to what’s going on or what’s expected of them that it’s almost impossible to get them to do something as simple as wearing their uniform properly, if at all. These guys are the laziest bunch of grown men I’ve ever worked with and they make over twice as much money as the doctors out here when half of them can’t even read or write. Not only that, but this entire town in tainted with corruption. The IP Chief, the mayor, the city council and the sheiks…it’s ridiculous, but it’s perfectly common out here.
I wish you guys could see this place…But, then again, I don’t. This town is trashed. Not just figuratively; I mean there’s literally human waste and garbage everywhere…dead goats, sheep, cats, and dogs outside people’s houses, in the alleyways, in the streets…It goes without saying, but it friggin’ stinks out here. The structures these people live in are in pretty bad shape, plus most of these families have no electricity. It’s sad to say, but ti’s just like what you might see on TV, only much more surreal when you’re out on patrol walking right through the thick of it. I’ve gotta hand it to ’em for surviving the way they do with what little they have. It makes me that much more grateful for the things I have today and for everything you guys did to provide for all 40 of us kids as we were raised up.
Anyways…so everything’s fine out here. I hope the two of you are okay. I’ll leave my address below; if it changes I’ll be sure to let y’all know. There’s been rumor about us possibly moving to a different outpost around the end of the year, but it’s nothing official, so…we’ll see.
Anyways, we’re gearing up and getting ready to roll soon so I’ve gotta go. I miss and love you both. Hope to hear from you soon.
Your son, Jon
LCPL Jon A. Webster
PTT 21 (AO Rutbah)
I couldn’t be more proud of him. ..bruce w..