Hello all of my friends!  I can’t tell you how much I miss you all!  Things in Baghdad are starting to heat up, in more ways than one!  It is already 100 degrees here in Iraq.  I don’t mind … I like the heat.  Yes, even this heat.  On the other side, the “heating up” is figurative as we are still continuing to get mortared on a regular basis.  We have an area of shops and eateries here on the post that is run by the Iraqis … for my Baltimore friends, it is similar to Power Plant Live. There is sometimes live music from Soldiers and many of the hookah bars will play music as well.  It’s can be a popular spot for Soldiers and contractors to hang out.  It was hit with a rocket one evening.  A few of the Iraqi civilians were injured, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt or killed.  Fortunately, the rocket hit at a time when no one was really there.

We have had some high profile visitors here … including the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.  He came on his FINAL tour of Iraq before he steps down from his position.  He talked with us for about an hour and took questions from the Soldiers.  It’s always nice to hear first-hand what our leaders are saying and doing, as well what they are working on.  For all of us, it’s when are we going home.  In the entourage with the SECDEF, was CBS’s Katie Couric.  I couldn’t resist asking for a picture!!! I did tell her I was a talk show host in Baltimore … so maybe she will remember me down the road! HAHA!

I got a chance to do another promotion!  But this time is it was for my First Lieutenant who got promoted to Captain.  It was a big day for him and honored that he chose me to be the one to promote him.  I can remember when I finally became a captain … it was a day that I thought would never come.  We had a huge cookout afterwards and got to relax a little bit.

I am still able to travel a lot.  Unlike last tour where I drove EVERYWHERE … this time I am usually taking a helicopter.  Blackhawk helicopters are pretty bad-ass!!!! Would be nice to have one of my own … as soon as I hit lotto.  They only cost about $34 million!!! HAHA!

I am glad that spring is coming to all of you!  I hope you are all going outside as often as possible and enjoying the freedoms of America.  It’s things that I miss dearly, but I take happiness in my friends and loved ones who get the opportunity to do so.  Just because we have to be here to do a job, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of freedom!  And don’t feel bad about it either … just remember the sacrifices of many as you do it.  I long for the day when we can all be back in America together celebrating our reunion.  Until that day comes, I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers … and your constant e-mails, messages and texts!  They keep me going!
Coming home with a “W” …


The hole left in the building from the rocket attack. The next day they were already starting to fix the building.

The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.

Katie Couric and Zinno ... maybe the next new talk show tandem???

The pinning of Captain Kurt Rauschenberg.

The promotion certificate signed by the Secretary of the Army.

My next mode of transportation ... nice, right?

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