Long delays and cancelled flights aren’t the only hassles facing soldiers flying in and out of Iraq. With the Rest and Recuperation program still in full swing, dozens of flights a day are going in and out of Baghdad International Airport.
And they’re still occasionally getting shot at.
On a recent early-morning Air Force flight from Kuwait City to Baghdad, passengers were startled when — about 15 minutes before landing — a series of orange flashes shot by the right-side window.
At the same time, the pilots sharply turned and dove the plane in evasive maneuvers. Soldiers, who had been holding their helmets in their laps, strapped them on.
Later, when the plane was on the ground at Baghdad, one soldier turned and asked the C-130 crew chief, “Hey, did we get shot at?”
The crew chief gave a half-smile and simply replied, “We always get shot at.”
Some rumors may never leave Iraq. As new units rotate into Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom’s third wave, troops are hearing the same thing those before them have heard.
Many locals still think the Wiley X goggles — distributed to soldiers as part of the Rapid Fielding Initiative — have special powers.
If you believe the rumors circulating through Iraqi towns, the goggles also give their wearers the power to see through womens’ clothing.
However, none of the glasses possess that power.
Wearing sunglasses while talking with local leaders has already been discouraged by military leaders, as a nod to the cultural norms in Iraq, where someone wearing sunglasses during a conversation is regarded as less than trustworthy.
Three medics in Company C, 141st Engineer Combat Battalion have taken on a new name: “Charlie’s Angels.”
The dynamic trio of Sgt. Jessica Fisher, Sgt. Angela Magnuson and Sgt. Kristen Pagel have worked nonstop since arriving to Iraq more than eight months ago, saving soldiers and civilians’ lives, according to a release from the unit.
Despite their harrowing experiences, the three — all members of the North Dakota National Guard — remain in good spirits, according to the release.
“We’re doing a good job here,” said Magnuson in the release. “It is nerve-racking. We are doing a good thing here for the people and other soldiers … This makes me feel like I am an active part of history.”
Stars and Stripes reporter Joe Giordono contributed to this report.