Reporters' notebook: Hundreds of knots later, a hammock
August 4, 2004
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GABE, Iraq — If there were ever a shortage of beds or cots in Battery C, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, Spc. Charles Copp could take care of it.
The unit’s Mr. Fix-it is nearly finished with a full-size hammock he’s made with 550 cord meticulously tied into hundreds of square knots.
Copp said he’s been working occasionally on the hammock since March.
While he may not be willing to make a hammock for each of his buddies, he has made them handles for knives, watches and radios by weaving the 550 cord into a sturdy band.
“I’ve always been into making things and taking them apart,” Copp said.
“Then someone showed me 550 cord and that was it.”
Copp, who brought a bag of tools with him, also makes items such as door handles in the unit’s living and work spaces.
The hammock is made of 16 lengths of cord measuring 25 feet each that Copp purchased on his own.
Stuck with a slogan
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s capital may be about as far off the U.S. presidential campaign trail as possible, but it didn’t seem to stop a little politicking Monday morning.
When members of Company G, 759th Military Police Battalion stopped to take photos at one of Baghdad’s most famous monuments, known as Victory Arch, they invited an Iraqi Facility Protection Service officer, Salman Mohammad, to join them.
As they gathered near the two giant sword-holding hands commemorating the Iran-Iraq war, Mohammad reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded-up “Veteran for Kerry” bumper sticker, holding it up to the laughs and cheers of the New York City natives.
A few days earlier, Mohammad explained, other troops stopped in for photos and gave him the bumper sticker, which he now carries with him when he stands guard at the monument.
Camp honors fallen
FOB GABE — Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment out of Bamberg, Germany, are paying their respects to fallen comrades by dedicating new facilities in their names.
Three facilities have taken on the names of soldiers killed in action from March to June, said 1st Lt. Jae Marquis, a spokesman for the battalion.
The 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment’s post exchange was named in honor of Spc. Allen J. Vandayburg, a gunner who was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his Bradley fighting vehicle while defending the governor’s mansion in Buhriz on April 9.
The battalion’s recently opened gym was dedicated to Pfc. Jason Lynch, who was killed June 18 in a firefight in Baqouba.
One of the forward operating base’s living areas, previously called “The Alamo,” was renamed Froehlich Square after Spc. Adam D. Froehlich, who was killed March 25 when his patrol was attacked by a makeshift bomb in Baqouba, just one week after 1st Infantry Division’s transfer of authority.
[CAPTION]Photo by Rick Emert/Stars and Stripes
Spc. Charles Copp on Monday shows the hammock he’s been making since he arrived at Forward Operating Base Gabe in Baqouba, Iraq, in March. Copp, the go-to guy for repairs in Battery C, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, adds several inches to the hammock at a time “whenever I get bored,” he said. He also crafts watch, radio and knife handles made out of 550 cord and said he gets many requests for these items from other soldiers in his unit.