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BLOG: From The Front Lines With Zinno

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Mark Zinno

Mark Zinno

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Greetings to everyone from Baghdad!  We have arrived at our final destination in the city where civilization began.  It is amazing to be back here.  I was here five years ago and I was anticipating a return one day to see the progress.  And to be honest, well it looks worse.  What I mean is, the base here is much different.  You have to understand that five years and over 150,000 troops have taken its toll on this place.  There was a lot more “green” here before.  Baghdad is really an amazing place.  I have always wondered what it looked like before. This place has so much culture and history … minus the tyrannical, despotic lunatic named Saddam Hussein … I truly hope that one day it will be that way again.  Speaking from experience, until you have gotten to see the world, you may never truly understand how fortunate we are to live in America.  I hope you all can recognize that.

The weather here is GORGEOUS!  70 degrees everyday … warm sun … yeah, I am making it sound better than it is, but it beats the snow!  That’s for damn sure!  Our mission here is basically, get out! HAHA!  With the draw down coming, a lot of what we are doing is focused on completing the training of the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Security Force.  It’s amazing to see how far they have come in the last 5 years!  I built and trained an entire Iraqi Army battalion on my last tour and seeing other units success is a true testament to the amazing efforts of  the United States military.  It is an equal testament to the strength, fortitude and resolve of the Iraqis.  Being part of the beginning and the historic end of this is truly a great highlight to my military career.

Our living conditions aren’t bad.  I mean I don’t stay at the Ritz … but I’ve certainly slept in worse places in the world!  My room is heated and air conditioned.  I have a TV, DVD player and a mini-fridge.  It’s not home and the food isn’t all that great, but like I said … it can always be worse!

I can’t say it enough … I want to thank everyone for the texts, messages, e-mails and notes wishing me well.  They are what keeps me going everyday.  Sometimes being here, you can easily feel isolated and alone … I am not immune from that.  But those notes are so sincere and they really make me realize what it is to have people care about you.  While my family and loved ones continue to be my rock, I am very blessed to have all of you in my life.  Again, thank you for picking me up when I am down.

Coming home with a “W” …

Zinno

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That was just HALF our bags at BWI prior to leaving America.

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These were our living conditions in Kuwait for our short stay. Not fun!

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The view from our office building ... pretty nice, right?

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The front door to our office building.

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Hard at work at my desk! Or HARDLY at work at my desk!

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