So a good high school friend of mine just recently got back from 15 months in Iraq. So the whole crew got together and spoke with his dad and threw a surprise kegger for him. After the excitement settled down and a few beers into the party, my buddy and another friend had a chance to sit down and have a good chat. Some pretty interesting stuff from him. He spoke about the critical alliances with the local shieks, even told us a funny story about how he single handedly managed to fuck up a shieks SUV with the Bradley he was driving. He also spoke about the jokes that they play on the new guys. For anyone in the service you're already familiar with some. Told me about sending guys out looking for ID-10-Tango form.....which sounds innocent until you write it out....I-D-I-O-T. He also told us about watching a couple guys work in frustration while trying to take "exhaust samples" from a vehicle. He also told us about the conditions they were living in. He said his circumstances were somewhat different than the usual serviceperson as he was, for awhile, at a post that had seen very few Americans. It wasnt unusual for them to come back from a 3 day field excursion and be looking forward to being able to watch a DVD on a laptop, only to find that the electricity was down. He said the longest stint was 5 days without electricity. A few weeks ago, he had dinner with the parents of a dead friend, who had stepped on in the wrong spot and was obliterated by what he said was your basic anti-personell homemade bomb. Evidently they like to make em with circuits that arent connected, if one steps in the right spot the circuits will connect and its good bye time. Anyways, the parents were commenting that they were given a substantial amount of money for their boys death by our government. Enough money that they were able to start a scholarship fund at their local high school in his name, and to renovate their house. The rest they said they were going to fritter away the rest in ways that they thought would make their child happy. After he told a couple stories, I asked him if he agreed with anything that the MSM were saying about conditions in Iraq. He said to a certain extent he did, but at the same time he didnt. As previously mentioned his living conditions werent excatly standard from what he had seen out there, but he got the impression that your average American seemed to think that everyone had seen 3,000 people die from IEDs during their tour and that that wasnt the case. He also said that he thought things were slowly getting better. Anyways, I thought it mightbe worth mentioning. Good to see my buddy home with all ten fingers and toes though, thats the main thing.