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United States Air Force

Well, today is Oct. 9. I have been here for about 30 days now. I left the U.S. 39 days ago. The last time I saw my wife was 966 hours ago not surprising that I would think of things like that.

I really don’t keep track of time here; it makes it go by a lot quicker. A lot of the guys get calendars and mark it off one day at a time but that seems almost teasing to me.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, especially in the military, it’s not to think about the things you are going through; it will make them feel 10 times worse than they actually are. That was my philosophy when I was in Iraq take it one day at a time and think about the positive things, like getting on that plane to go home; though it doesn’t always work.

It’s starting to cool down now, especially at night. It’s supposed to get very cold here in the winter; by cold I mean 20s. Having lived in Georgia for the last five years, it has made me super-sensitive to the cold, despite the fact that I grew up in Massachusetts. It is also supposed to snow, which will be interesting. It doesn’t seem like a place that would snow. Despite the mountains, it is a barren, dry, desert wasteland.

The one thing I hated in Iraq was the rainy season; all of the sand turned to thick mud and would stick to everything. It was miserable. But, I could be here in the summer when it’s 140, so I’m not complaining.

The end of the Muslim holiday, Ramadan, signaled a draw-down on attacks. We were getting attacked several times a day at first, and now it’s every other day or so.

The terrorists believe that Ramadan is the best time to attack, because Allah will guide the rockets at us — pretty funny, I think. It is sad that these people believe the nonsense that is fed to them. The Taliban is run by Muslim extremist religious leaders. They hate us and our way of life, so they use these people to try and destroy us. They tell them that it is the will of God to destroy all westerners, that Islam is the supreme religion and those who oppose it or follow another must be killed because they are evil.

A lot of these religious leaders held a lot of power when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and then we came in and took it away. So they are angry, and will stop at nothing to get it back; even if it means killing their own people. It is the same deal in Iraq. Most of the top Al Qaeda leaders were Baath party leaders under Saddam and were very rich and prosperous. As soon as we took over Iraq, they lost a lot of that wealth and power.

In a place like this, though, people don’t have a lot to believe in. I can understand why they would believe extremists. I’ve seen some of the terrorist propaganda films and they are very powerful. Hopefully, good will prevail over evil when all is said and done. Anyway, I’m rambling.

The elections are coming up and there are mixed feelings around here. Some, like me, support McCain, some Osama, some don’t care. Unfortunately, some of the younger troops here believe that it doesn’t matter. It will be interesting to see what happens, since the new boss will be taking over while we are over here.

I took my malaria pill today. I have to take a pill weekly. Malaria is pretty common over here. I really don’t like the pills, though. It makes me loopy and gives me insomnia on the day I take it. By loopy I mean that I have strange dreams and my mind runs at a million miles an hour. It is all normal, though, so I’ve been told.

Well, anyway, not much else to report, goodbye for now.

Sgt. Andrew Walsh is a 2003 North Middlesex Regional High School graduate who grew up in Pepperell.

(All military personnel and their families are invited to share their military experiences with our readers: Please e-mail your letters to editor@nashobapub.com, fax them to (978) 772-4012, mail them to P.O. Box 362, Ayer, MA 01432, or drop them off at 78 Barnum Road, Devens.)