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Lt. Col. Andrew Rohling, right, collects his Thanksgiving dinner from an Iraqi farmer Monday in Owesat, about 15 miles from Baghdad.
Lt. Col. Andrew Rohling, right, collects his Thanksgiving dinner from an Iraqi farmer Monday in Owesat, about 15 miles from Baghdad. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Pfc. Brandon Bock knew he could expect some surprises during his first deployment. But holding up the legs of a woman in labor was way off the radar. Until recently.

Bock helped 101st Airborne Division Dr. (Lt. Col.) Grant Foster deliver an Iraqi baby boy on Nov. 10 at a small outpost 15 miles southwest of Baghdad.

“It’s kind of weird to go from the battlefield to nursing a baby,” said Bock, of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment.

The pregnant woman’s aunt drove her to Patrol Base Inchon because the hospital in Mahmudiyah was too far away, said Sgt. Chawn Cone, a medic who delivered his own children.

The woman gave birth after five hours of labor. The baby received a uniquely Army Airborne welcome to the world.

“We used 550 (parachute) cord to tie off the umbilical. Never done that before,” Cone said.

High-value turkeyLt. Col. Andrew Rohling considers himself an avid turkey hunter around in the countryside nearby the 101st’s Fort Campbell, Ky., stomping grounds.

Unfortunately for Rohling, no one has reported wild turkey roaming the sands of Iraq.

However, soldiers from Rohling’s 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment spotted a farm with a few turkeys following an air assault into Owesat, southwest of Baghdad.

The battalion’s list of high-value targets quickly gained another member. Farmers tried to give Rohling a free bird, but he insisted on paying them.

“This is my third Thanksgiving here and every time we’ve gotten a turkey,” Rohling said.

The turkey made the trip successfully by Humvee to Patrol Base Dragon, except for an accident involving a staff sergeant’s uniform sleeve. Fortunately for him, PB Dragon has its own laundry machines.

Connect with your foodSoldiers from the Team 2 Protective Services Detachment for 3-187 say they do practically everything as a unit, even during their downtime.

Like a lot of close-knit groups, they longed for a way to outwardly display their unity. But shaving everyone’s heads won’t quite work for people who are already in the Army.

“It was when we got to Kuwait two months ago that we realized we were truly wild animals,” Pfc. Nicholas Paugam said from Patrol Base Dragon near Owesat. “That’s when we started eating with our hands.”

The group doesn’t just eat hamburgers and potato chips that way. Paugam pawed at a few last rice kernels before leaving the chow hall Monday.

“You can connect with your food better this way,” Pfc. Michael Densmore said.

More importantly, it’s something that builds camaraderie and makes the team unique, said Staff Sgt. Tony Duran of Braidwood, Ill.

Fortunately for all, a hand-washing station is conveniently located outside the dining facility.

“We try not to be too gross about it,” Duran added.

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