News from Iraq

Fellow Rotarians,

I am truly sorry that I have not written since I have been back from leave but things have been very busy. As soon as I got back we were in full swing with the elections preparations and support operations. Although there was a lot of insurgent activity on the day of the elections, it did not dissuade over 60% of the registered Iraqi voters from participating in the elections process. They still have several months to go in the process of seating their new government, electing a president and Prime Minister but they are well on their way.

The Iraqi Police are developing well and instead of teaching basic policing, we are able to focus our efforts on more advanced investigative techniques and crime scene preservation. Through several training initiatives we have instructed them on the Incident Command System, forensic evidence collection and other advanced skills. We are in our final phase of training as we approach our end of mission in a few months.

We have been heavily involved in the response to the major bombings that have taken place over the past weeks. These make for very busy days as we plan our response, assist the Iraqis and then document our actions on very detailed reports.

Additionally, our Headquarters is now also responsible for the Detention Operations as well as police training. Due to this added mission, we have restructured the Brigade Headquarters personnel and the police training mission now falls under the Operations Section and more specifically me. It is a lot more responsibility and a lot more work.

Many of you may have seen the story on Channel 10 News but in case you didn t I will tell you that I am bald. A friend of mine has leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Stanford Hospital. As a show of support, I decided to shave my head so he doesn t have to feel alone in the matter. I sent out an email to the soldiers so they could enjoy seeing the vain Major get his head shaved. To my surprise, about twenty of my fellow soldiers did the same, even though they have never met Mike. I was very touched by the support my fellow soldiers gave to someone they have never met.

That is all for now. Hope all is well with all of you. Can t wait to get home.