Dec. 20, 2004
Al Asad, Iraq White Can City
I live in a place called "White Can City," in a can. It might sound bad, initially, to an American, to say you live in a can, but one of the things I've learned over here is that it all depends on what you are used to. I look on my can with a sense of real happiness. I realize how fortunate I am
to be in a can.
A good can has heat and electricity. Ours is a doublewide, unheard of space for two people. We have a push broom and a plastic table and two plastic chairs. There are two heaters, both next to my bed. When I turn to face the wall my face is right next to the orange glow of one of them. If it gets too hot at night I slide my hand along the wall and click it off for a while.
After heat and electricity the most important thing is water. Al Asad ordinarily has a good water supply, but a couple of days ago terrorists blew up the main water pipe into the camp. They had done this once before and it took a week to get water. They covered the place where the terrorists dropped the bomb with a metal plate, but the terrorists dug up the plate and dropped another bomb in the same place. Right now we're back to ice-cold showers. You walk outside to a doublewide container to take a shower. In most bases there are signs that say "Take Navy Showers. No Hollywood Showers." There are more signs that explain what a Navy shower is. A Navy shower is when you turn on the water for a few seconds then turn it off, lather up, turn the water back on quickly to rinse then get out. The water should not be on more than a minute. I'm always waiting for someone to swear at me, "No Hollywood shower," but it hasn't happened yet. There are no signs that explain in detail the decadence of a Hollywood shower, but some day soon I'm gonna take one.
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I just wanted to say thanks for doing such an awesome job of covering the Marines out there. I am in the Army, but I was in Ramadi from April to August 2003 and Al Asad for the rest of my deployment. I remember thinking that Al Asad was a vacation compared to Ramadi, even when insurgents took out local power for a while. I deploy again in 20 days, and am going to miss reading your writing until I can get to where I'm setting up. God speed to you, and keep up the outstanding work. You do those Marines justice.
Great blog. I just left Al Asad in October. I was fortunate enough to be able to live in one of the permanent buildings with my own shower and head that I shared with one other guy. Many of my friends live in those tin cans of yours, they're really pretty nice. I've lived in much worse, that's for sure! If you run into any CH-53E pilots tell them that Kitten says hello.
Enjoy reading your reports from alasad, I spend 10 months there from June 03 until March 04, I was fortunate in being able to do some civil affairs work with the 3rd ACR during that time, I am really curious how the local population is responding to the Marine presense there, I made several Iraqi friends in the area and would be curious how the locals are doing. It does sound like things are getting hotter in the area. Take care and god bless, good job reporting the facts.
CW2 M. Dommer
Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.