Kyle decided before he left for Iraq in December of 2006, that he would keep a journal of everything that was going on. That didn’t happen, as he was OBA (Overcome By Activity). However, he did manage to keep it up all throughout, here and there, whether he wrote something every other day or once a month. His journal was for his time there, events, work, emotions, everything; in order to share it for future generations to come, and now for you, our loyal listeners:

Entry #5 of 17:

25 Dec 06
6:00PM

Merry freakin Christmas... Wow, I thought I was grouchy being in Texas on Christmas, go figure it would be worse in Ramadi. All I wanted to do was avoid the whole idea of knowing it was Christmas (happiness/contentness by avoidance/ignorance is bliss method), but instead... "Here, have a candy cane!" and "We're gunna watch A Christmas Story!". I suppose waking up two hours early to the sound of gunfire and helicopters didn't help my mood much. I still haven't moved out of the temporary tent yet. I had a mouse jump out of my bag at me this morning... scared the crap out of me. I'm already jumpy enough, I don't need animals leaping at me too. Outside I can hear the "call to prayer" playing over the neighboring town's loudspeaker. It's a very eerie sound, sounds similar to a ghost, a whale, and a dying moose all together. I got my first capture last night. Typically I don't care if they kill all the insurgents, but I would prefer that they capture the guys I send them out to get. I know it has absolutely nothing to do with empathy, I suppose I'm just afraid of how I would react to knowing that someone was killed because of me. I don't want that kind of weight on my shoulders (let alone blood on my hands). I wish I could take pictures of this place to show people when I get back. My headaches have almost entirely gone away. I think it was just my sinus' adjusting to the sand and dust in the air, as well as sleeping on a cot. Looking back, I can see that I never wrote about the helicopter. There's not much to say except that it's extremely loud, even with hearing protection, as well as very cold. Next time I'll remember to wear more warm clothing. I'm not in the best of moods right now, considering I had to take a cold shower, and heard an explosion on my way to the chow hall. I've pretty much written two pages worth of stuff, so I'll stop for now and get to bed. Maybe next time I write, I'll be able to talk about what it's like to be responsible for another man's death... I hope not. "

Kyle Mills - Path To Chow Hall
Kyle Mills - Temporary Tent Housing
Kyle Mills - View From Temp Tent

From Kyle, today:

Christmas was tough, considering that I had just started with this deployment. After a while, I became more 'hardened' and used to the life there in Ramadi, but since it was all so fresh and new, I took it pretty hard. The group that was there at the time were only trying to raise morale by offering candy canes and Christmas music/etc, but it kind of did the opposite for me. I appreciate their concerns and attempts to liven spirits - and it worked for many, but, like I said, it was still all so new to me and I didn't want to be reminded of where I was versus where I could be. I remember that this was only a couple of days before Saddam Hussein was hung, and how there was a very real concern that there might be an uprising of insurgents around all of the bases. Somehow I now pair that memory with Christmas - or at least, thinking back to Christmas in 2006."

This is the fifth of a 17-part series, that will cover my entire journal, from my deployment to Iraq from December 2006 – July 2007. Check in next week for the next installment, when I begin coming to grips with the whole search and capture/kill job that I will be doing for the remainder of the deployment.

CLICK HERE to see last week’s installment of this 17-part series.