BLOG: From The Front Lines With Zinno

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” …


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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!

  • glenn

    God Bless you and all our heroic troops; god speed.

  • Bryan Levy

    Miss you, buddy. Couldn’t they have found any tighter camo? You still have an image to maintain.

  • Karen Solowsky Gappera

    Can I send you A&S Bagels? Is that possible?

  • Diana Citarella

    You are in my thoughts and prayers always love you

  • kristy

    Glad to hear you are doing well. I love you!!!!! Get home safe. See you and talk to you soon

  • steve

    It is truly in my eart and mind a great thing you guys are doing over there. Now that’s its coming to an end and you guys have succeeded in bringing Iraq into the 21 century please get home safe. The news from other countys over there have been scary but maybe democracy will take hold. And maybe that will help justify the sacrifice our brave soldiers have made. Be safe Zinno

  • Gary

    Take care of yourself big Zin…….got the baby GAP clothing line waiting for you when you return….. :)

  • Mike

    Hey Zinno !! You guys are great. Thanks you for your service to our country..What’s your address?? I’ll send you a “Care” package in a week or so..

    Hate that MASN tood Scott and Jeramy off of the network…Have to listen on my computer now here in VA…

  • Dennis Sarfate

    God Bless you Zinno. Im sure you have stayed at worse places. Probably followed by the walk of shame. I will be praying for you.

  • Kimy

    Looks like it’s a nicer place than Afghanistan, but still much the same – – at war far from home. Thanks for your service and fighting for the mission. Stay safe and keep your head down!

  • Mom

    You are my special hero….always have been and always will be. Thanks so much for being the special person that you are and for the ultimate sacrfice you are making. Keep dreaming of that vacation when you get home. Be safe my son….in my thoughts and prayers every minute of every day! Stay strong and know that we all love you! With all my heart, Mom

  • laura

    Thank you!!! miss u ;( Hang in there


    No gaga belt?

  • KB

    Wow Zinno it looks like u have it pretty good over there.. At least u are at a desk n hopefully u r bossing everyone else @.. lol The view looks amazing but I’m sure the whole country doesn’t look like that.. I’m sure it’s an amazing feeling goin in from the beginning n now hoping that u will all be the last to go for history.. Come home with a W.. Stay strong n just remember u have someone special waiting for U when u come home with the W… I hope u have a vacation planned when u return.. How did it feel to miss Media Row this yr for the super bowl?? Love the posts keep them coming.
    Urs truly

  • Susan Ferraracci - Wright

    Prayers always your way Zinno! Care package to come shortly, I hope! I will be sending it on Friday! Be safe and like you said bring us home a big “W”! We all love and miss you!

  • Phil Hauswald

    mark,as avietnam vet I appreciate everything you are doing. stay safe!!!!

  • Kenny Lockerman

    Hey Zinno, got your answer to my text tue at 2:25 am. time recieving doesn’t matter. I know you are buisy to say the least. At the time i was pushing snow at work even so it still wouldn’t matter if i were asleep i still would have gotten up to read it. Thank you for taking the time to answer,not many people would have given it a 2nd thought. Again thank you for your sacrifice and thoughtfulness to your fans,friends and the good nation of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

  • Lorraine A.(friend of Tracey at HBT)

    Thank you for your service Mark, and God bless, be safe.

  • Richard


    You are the greatest, man! I hope you and Bruce get your show back together when you return. You guys were the best sports talk team Baltimore has ever had. You guys are the sports talk equivalent of Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. In fact, here’s a fitting Carnac the Magnificent envelope that describes what happened when you were recalled to Iraq and Bruce left the show last Friday: “Sis Boom Bah! (Carnac opens the envelope)…Describe the sound made when a sheep (show) explodes!”

    White Marsh

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