A fellow Tumblr blogger, Logically Positive, suggested that I write my recollection of Iraq. I suggested that I would begin by republishing some of my firsthand accounts while I was deployed there. Below is a compilation of blogs I posted while stationed at Combat Outpost Rawah in the Al Anbar province in Iraq.

Happy Birthday, Dear Aheram

March 15, 2007

I had the night post last night with Patrick (my model-in-training). We were talking candidly about “girls with huge knockers.” (For someone that has been in service for a while, in fact, a combat veteran from OIF II, Patrick’s discourse is devoid of the regular profanities and vulgar language that are the characteristic of a Marine’s.) I checked the time and became silent as the minutes ticked closer to midnight.

He noticed my sudden silence and turned on his flashlight. As my face was illuminated, he asked, “What is wrong?” I muttered, “It is almost midnight. I will be 23 soon…” He seemed to note the sadness in both my face and my voice. “I have always celebrated my birthday, you know,” I informed him.

I went down from the post to relieve myself, but when I returned, he had placed a matchstick from an MRE (Meals Ready-to-Eat) into an Otis-Spunkmeyer cupcake (double chocolate chip). He grinned as he lit the match and started to sing: “Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you…” Once he was done singing, I blew out the flame from the burning matchstick and we split the cupcake between us. He turned off his flashlight and we ate in the dark.

It was the best birthday party I ever had.

The next morning: I spent the entire day being with just myself and I enjoyed it somewhat. Only two other people on this base were aware that it was my birthday. One is Patrick and the other is Nicholas, both exceptional people. I talked to my sister on AIM during one of my 30-minute internet sessions (there is a 30-minute limit for each session; no limits on how many sessions) and she asked me how I was going to spend my day. “Work,” I told her and then my session ended.