Reporter's Notebook: Nothing speeds recovery time like an Xbox 360
Stars and Stripes June 8, 2007
The Navy corpsman takes care of Marines wounded in battle or suffering from fatigue or illness in camp. But Petty Officer 3rd Class William Jordan knows a healthy Marine requires more than painkillers or an IV bag.
A Marine needs his Xbox 360.
So Jordan, 26, of Cleveland, asked his sister to put one in the mail. It arrived at Forward Operating Base Saqlawiyah, Iraq, a Marine outpost, in April for Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
He set it up in the company’s only TV room, which also serves as the base’s mess hall and triage area. Within a couple of days, the Marines were boxing on the big screen, and many had no idea where the game player came from.
“Jordan?” one Marine said. “Really?”
This seven-month tour in Iraq is Jordan’s second, as it is for many in Fox Company. He knows about the awful days. During one day in their first tour, they lost 10 guys, he said. As a corpsman, he said, he wants to make sure morale is as high as possible.
“I do what I can,” he said.
Never too late to say thanksAfter more than 20 years in the Army, Sgt. 1st Class Demetrio Torres finally deployed for the first time, to Iraq.
When he and the 1st Battalion, 7th Artillery Regiment got to Camp Liberty, he signed up for care packages from www.anysoldier.com, a service that matches well- wishers at home with soldiers at war.
A woman in Montana started sending boxes.
“I never even been to Montana,” said Torres, 42, of Puerto Rico. After more than a dozen boxes arrived, he decided to call her to say thanks.
“I said, ‘This is Sgt. Torres,’ ” he said. “She said, ‘Who?’ ”
When she understood that the call came from a command center in Baghdad, where Torres runs the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. shift, she couldn’t believe it.
“She said she’s been doing this for six years, and nobody ever called to thank her.”
Torres’ contributors have grown. Now there are packages from Idaho — “Where’s Idaho?” he joked. “Pull it up on the map.” Another man in the States sends packages and a joke by e-mail every day or two.
“Those families are doing their part,” Torres said. “I’ll probably do the same thing when I retire.” That will be in less than 180 days.
For 1st ID, black is the new redThe Big Red One is going black.
At war, when soldiers don their battle dress uniforms, they are also supposed to wear a muted version of their unit patch.
Somehow, at least in recent times, that never applied to the red No. 1 that signifies 1st Infantry Division, the oldest division in the Army.
Now, orders have come down that those units in Baghdad with the Big Red One must switch to black.
Lt. Col. Michael Griffith, 42, of Tooele, Utah, has been with the division for nine years and has never worn anything but red even during three deployments.
“We got an order,” he said. “We’re gonna switch.”
But just not yet. The patches have just been ordered, and Griffith has told his men to wait until all the black ones are in.