How on earth did I miss this on Saturday? Tons of photos at the link. Go go go.

What struck me about the seven-hour patrol was how tough it was; not only from keyed up nerves that come along with looking for explosives, trying to draw small arms fire and worrying about snipers, but its discomfort (the seats are not La-Z-Boys and the trak is loud), length, tedium and temperature – the January evening in the Iraqi desert quickly became frigid. I can only imagine how uncomfortable these patrols are in the summer, especially when you consider that they lasted 12 hours on Mendoza’s last deployment.

These guys work hard…

I asked him how Fallujah is doing and how he regards the progress of his mission:

“I like to think I’m making a difference. We have to be doing something right, with how the IEDs are going down. Now, with the bad guys shooting at us? We almost invite them too, because it gives us a chance to do some killing ourselves.”

“I keep hearing Fallujah is a safe haven, it’s an oasis compared to what it was last year. It’s such a huge change between last year and now, we must be doing something right. We’re working on the security issue, but the Iraqis have to stand up and do that for themselves, as we’re not gonna be here forever.”

“But we’ll stay as long as necessary to get the job done.”

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