Positioned as we are in Baghdad, we do hear quite a bit. This morning during PT formation a rather loud explosion was heard to the west, and smoke formed immediatly thereafter. Makes us all rather jumpy when such a thing is heard. Due to an increased threat, we are back in full battle rattle (As we call our armored vests and kevlars), during certain hours. Those are the hours where I stay indoors as much as possible. You can really tell though that we have become accustomed to the constant threat, especially when we crack jokes about mortars and what not. When we first started wearing our gear in Kuwait before driving into Iraq, it was heavy and a pain in the royal behind. Those who were just returning assured us that yes, we would get used to it. I didn't comprehend how, but nowadays I do. While it is still a pain to haul 40 extra pounds around, it isn't so bad as it was.
I know currently that there is a big hubub about the quality of maintainence in one particular company. That whole situation has boggled the mind. While I will not pass judgment on those involved, as we do not know the whole story, I will say that one should be ever ready to perform one's mission. Maintainence is not just the responsibility of the maintainence section, it is also the operators responsibility. It is my job as an operator on my truck to ensure that there are no faults on my truck, and that if there are, to fix them, or have them fixed. A lot of the problems can be fixed by simple operator maintainence. There is a lot that can be found in what is known as a PCI, pre combat inspection, which is to be performed prior to a mission. Having completed a good many convoys myself, I know this to be a vital part of mission planning. Never once on the road did I feel unsafe because of my equipment.