Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chip's New Clothes

Many of you know and have met my little dog Chip. I know....I know....the kids think that I love him more than I do them. I teasingly tell them of course....he doesn't talk back!!! Of course they know I'm joking!!!!

Chip got a new T-shirt for Christmas and he's modeling it. I thought you would want to see his new clothes. Sarah and Laura despise "dog clothes", but since Chip doesn't know he's a dog -- this T-shirt is OK!

Til later ~~ Love, Candy

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in the desert. It's not that bad. We don't have the hustle and bustle of a typical Christmas, but we have each other and that's a good thing. Dinner was delicious, the ice sculpture was a 4' green Christmas tree. The senior officers donned Santa hats to serve, and of course a few Santas strolled through the DFAC. I got my annual Christmas afternoon nap--it was a good day culminated with talking to Ed and the kids.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with Santa!!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

41 and Friends

We had a visitor here. What a thrill!!!! There was no time for individual pictures, so we were lined up in groups of 27 or so. I don't know a soul, other than #41 (the guy in the red jacket), and of course yours truly on the right side of the front row.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gearing up for Christmas

Who would ever think that Christmas in the desert, thousands of miles away from family, friends, and loved ones would be nice -- but it's really not as bad as I thought it would be.

I find it truly amazing how those serving in the military always find a way to adapt and overcome; perhaps one of my many reasons for spending way more than one-half of my life in the Army. I've found many military members in my life to become almost like family to me and you know who you are!!! Therefore, getting ready for Christmas has been kind of fun here. You can't believe ALL the decorations that family members have sent over, all the cards & banners from school children and church groups, and all the good will being shared. All of our cubicles (as small as they may be!) are decorated with amazing thoughts and wishes. It's not been too bad. So far, I've seen three Christmas trees. Amazing what a bunch of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen can do when they put their minds to something. The lights are bright, the tinsel sparkling and we're all getting ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour. For me --- I do plan on going to the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Wouldn't be Christmas without it.

Til later ~~ Candy

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Hi -- Many of you have asked for my mailing address. It's....

CW4 Candis Martin
143rd Transcom
APO AE 09366

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Palace

Wow -- the best and only word to describe the palace!! I'm in Baghdad this week. I flew up here Monday morning, to provide some training and assistance to part of the Theater Property Book Team.

The flight up was....interesting. There were about 20 of us in a C17. A C17 is a HUGE aircraft, and they actually had real people airline chairs in the middle of the aircraft. It was about an hour flight, and we each had plenty of room to spread out. I've never flown in an aircraft where they hand you earplugs, and encourage you to wear your body armor and kevlar helmet for the flight!!! The take off was OK. The flight itself was smooth. The combat landing -- yikes!!! But, I guess I'd rather combat land, that get plucked out of the sky.

Now for the palace. I attended a meeting (can't describe the meeting, or attendees), but it was in the Palace. It was Saddam's primary palace, and he spared no money -- or I should say Iraq spared no money when building the palace and the palace grounds. (I promise to post pictures when I get them downloaded!) The U. S. Government has taken all of the furnishings and put them away (for safe keeping) to give back to the Iraqi government once it gets totally on their feet. They have left the thrown just inside the door of the palace -- a place for soldiers (like me!) who love a Kodak moment. Many pictures are taken of those sitting in the thrown. The chandeliers were unbelievable. The big one as you enter the palace is about 3 stories (VERY TALL stories) high. The base of the chandelier is about 25 - 30 foot across. There is no way my camera could take a picture of its entirety. I have two photos to capture all of it's beauty. The sinks and toilets were decorated with filigree gold paint. The Palace grounds have a moat system that intertwines several smaller palace-like houses. Many were for those that worked for Saddam. One -- a quaint and pretty palace -- is called the perfume palace. It's where all of Saddam's wives lived. It was quite a visit. Someday the Palace will go back to the Iraqi government, in the meantime -- it's used by the U. S. as office space.

At breakfast I saw two Iraqi Military officers. They have quite a life. They have to life off post and travel in through the gate each day. They travel in their civilian clothes and change into their uniform at a location where they are checked out by the U. S. forces before going to work. They have to really believe to put themselves and their family in jeopardy every minute of the day when they are outside the gates of this installation.

It's really different here in Baghdad, from where I am at in Kuwait. Here -- you KNOW you're in a combat zone. There are very few lights (don't want to light up a potential target!) and in the evenings no one is outside very much. At night you can hear a lot of gun fire and periodically in the daytime you hear a lot of explosions (RGP's or something). The Palace area is right next to the Baghdad International Airport, so we constantly hear low flying aircraft and helicopters. The walls around the camps are very high, approximately 20-25 foot. We're a few short miles from the green zone, or the International Zone (IZ). It's the 5-mile road from hell where all the car bombings occur frequently. I'm not going to test fate -- I have no need to travel over there! Those that work in that area (to include the American Embassy), life here, but travel daily back and forth. They go either by chopper, or ride in an armored bus. What a gothic-looking mode of transportation.

Til later ~~ Candy