Some of you may be wondering, “Hey! What happened to StreamingDan?” Indeed, I haven’t been posting regularly the past month or so…and not from a lack of material, as my backlog is filled to the brim with half-begun articles. Truth be told, I’ve become rather fatigued by current events and this modest side-project has had to take a back seat to my other endeavors in life.

Having said that, I present to you a sneak peek at one of those projects! This is one that I’ve been working on for some time now: an excerpt from the book I’m currently working on. Relying heavily on my extensive journal entries during my first combat deployment abroad with the army; recounting my experiences in Baghdad over ten years ago (2007-2008).

August 22, 2007 – 1244 hours

Yesterday “Firas,” one of the Jaysh-al Mahdi (JAM) Company commanders, called us with a tip on a kidnapped Sheikh. Firas claims that he is part of the “real” JAM. Supposedly, the “real” JAM is involved only in community outreach (fuel distribution, finding homes for needy Shi’a, etc.). Our impressions are that he is attempting to convince us he is a reliable informant so that he can set us up for something nasty later. For example, he could conceivably provide a tip on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED)…we investigate it…and then he uses that same IED to blow us up.

We rescued the Sheikh using 1LT Moore and SFC North’s tank Platoon. We found him handcuffed to a staircase in a home in M897. He is actually from M887.

They brought Sheikh Abdullah to the Combat Outpost (COP). I definitely recognized him from when he came to speak with us before. According to his statement he was taken and beaten. That element of the story seemed to check out as he definitely showed us bruises from being kicked on his side, punched in the head, and his broken fingers. The captors’ plan was to kill him that day. Sheikh Abdullah had two suspicions:

  • They simply wanted to steal his car
  • One of his associates informed on him to JAM, regarding his previous work with us. He claimed he recognized his captors as residents of his neighborhood.

As one would expect, given the circumstances, he thanked God for sparing him. It’s most certainly a new feeling for me…seeing not only someone who has been kidnapped, but to see someone who you recognize that has gone through that ordeal.

I remember seeing him clean and pristine in his sheikh’s robes and headdress before – but seeing him dirty, bruised, and beaten really serves as a reminder as to the brutal realities these people live with every day.

Reporting now indicates that due to the pressure from us, Firas is planning on leaving the country…as he is gathering all his citizenship and personal paperwork together.

On another note, I’m still working contracts for the neighborhoods, as well as the numerous security contracts we have. 1LT Parker was kind enough to go on leave without giving us a heads up – so I’m now working through SSG Morton. I gave them our contractors’ contact information yesterday. I just called Ali (from the Legend of Iraq Company, referred to us by Abu Jaleel) today and he informed me that they had yet to contact him. It seems as though everything is a struggle with these guys up at battalion.

Deployment Day: 197

Are you interested in reading more? Please let me know! This modest volume is a work-in-progress and feedback is always appreciated. Things you could expect to see in the final product:

  • Annotations and notes, on recollections not covered in the journal entries; and how (upon reflecting on these entries) my own views and opinions have shifted over the years; shaped by my experiences both in and out of the Army.
  • As you may be well aware from reading this blog, I love a soap box, so you can expect to find some color commentary associated with the topic as well.
  • Pictures! For those of you that crave stimulating visuals to accompany your reading, I’ll be diving into my library of digital photos.
  • An honest, and unvarnished accounting of my year and a half experience being deployed to Iraq. There is some light editing, I’ll be honest on that, but edits will be confined to:
    • Altering names to protect individual identities
    • Correction of shameful typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Most of my journal entries were hand-written, and done so in haste…as a result I wish to correct these errors ten years after-the-fact.
    • Clarification of Terms and Acronyms as required.

As a potential reader of this volume I’d solicit some of initial feedback as I’m still continuing transcribing my entries…and have yet to include any annotations, commentary, introductions, etc. 

  1. In Non-Fiction one sees a list of acronyms at the start of book. I thought to depart from the Norm and define acronyms as they are mentioned in the main body of the book’s text. As a reader, which do you find more appealing/easier to utilize?
  2. Would you ACTUALLY be interested in a book filled with journal entries and commentaries chronicling events from 10 years ago?
  3. Finally, I’m still quite some time away from final publication…I have to finish my draft…review…edit…check again for spelling…etc…Yet, some initial formatting choices are shaped by whether I deliver this as an eBook or Print Book (or both). Be interested to here your preferred version.

Ultimately, this is my story to tell, but I still feel your feedback and input can still help me grow and become better writer. Thanks for reading. Also, don’t forget to follow me on twitter @streamingdan82.