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Biggest Mystery How some people can gain weight out here. I'm down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?
Second Biggest Mystery if there's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?
Favorite Iraqi TV Show Oprah. I have no idea. They all have satellite TV.
Coolest Insurgent Act Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.
Most Memorable Scene In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after over six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past their replacements. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.
Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a band of brothers who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.
Most Surprising Thing I Don't Miss Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.
Worst Smell Porta-johns in 120-degree heat and that's 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.
Highest Temperature I don't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.
Biggest Hassle High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.