Update from Iraq: Neelyville's Jeffrey Pennington
Missouri National Guardsman Jeffrey Pennington, formerly First Sergeant with the 1137th Military Police Company out of Kennett, was most recently deployed to Iraq in the capacity of Master Sergeant with the 1175th Military Police Company out of St. Clair, Missouri.
Jeffrey Pennington sends along his first communication to us since his recent deployment to Samarra, Iraq. We present his message in installments, with minimal editing for clarity throughout.
Here now, MSG Pennington’s message:
Sorry it has taken so long to make contact, but the conditions that I thought would be tough were just a little bit tougher than I expected. Thankfully Samarra, the city that I’m living in about 60 miles north of Baghdad, isn’t being crazy right now, and most of the bad guys live on the east side of town, while my patrol base is on the west side.
I’ve only been shot at once so far; well, not me personally, but the Humvee in front of mine took a round in the driver’s-side windshield. Luckily for the driver, it was bullet-proof and no one was injured.
We never found the bad guy, though.
During my last tour in Iraq, I was stationed at a huge base about 20 miles north of here, and my duties were more logistical and supply-oriented, and involved relatively little patrolling. But in this tour, I’m part of operations at a company-level military police unit, and we’re tasked with training the Iraqi police. We do joint patrols daily.
Aside from the danger involved, it is rather satisfying work, as I get to directly communicate with the citizens of Iraq, and can definitely see progress. At least in Samarra, they have electricity and water; the kids are going to school; television, cell phones, and Internet are all in use. There’s even an active soccer stadium.
Certainly, there are a lot of destroyed buildings, and there’s serious poverty and joblessness, too; however, the infrastructure is coming along, and people are out in the streets making a living.
I live at Patrol Base Kaufman, at the entrance of Samarra, and I am in charge of base operations and the defenses for the base.
I’ve experienced worse conditions in my career, but just not for as long as I will have to endure this time.
* * * * * *
Next up, we’ll take a peek at MSG Pennington’s seriously “No-Frills Set-Up in the War Zone”, here at semo.net.