Thursday, January 08, 2004

Happy Birthday Michael Smith

January 8, 2004

This morning I woke up and found a request in the in-box of my email. I was asked if it was possible to wish someone a very Happy Birthday from his wife, Mary, in Ohio and his friend, Rose, in West Virginia. SGT Michael Smith is part of the 1485th Transportation Company and is also based on Camp Anaconda. He has almost 20 years of military service under his belt, including the Marines and Army. He is now part of the Ohio National Guard.
I didn't have anything on my 'to-do' list except pack up my stuff, yet again, and inventory my sensitive items (M-16, ammo, cipro, gas mask,etc). So, I set off on my journey to find Michael Smith, one of 18,000 soldiers on Camp Anaconda. My journalistic instinct set in - first, find the name. Michael Smith...hmmm, that's unique. Turns out he isn't the only Michael Smith in town. Imagine that. So now I am looking for his Unit, the 1485th. Turns out there are several transportation units in town as well. After walking, hitching rides, and wondering around for a while, I found the 1485th. Only problem - he wasn't there. We go by last names around here so everyone in his unit was saying 'I think SGT Smith's first name is Michael...I think but I'm not sure.' Oh Great. I found the unit, now can I please find the man???

Finally, I found him - across the street, in Tent City. He came out to see who was searching for him and I delivered Mary and Rose's Happy Birthday messages, along with a hug for extra credit. He didn't say, but I think he was surprised. And I didn't say, but I was honored. It felt good to deliver a heart felt message from a wife who misses her husband of two years, and to make a new friend. So, to Mary and Rose, mission accomplished. Your message and hug traveled over 8,000 miles and found your husband and friend.

What a great day. My final mission in Balad was a success. And if I do say so myself, I'm the bomb.


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