Continuing on a conversation about Iraq and Afghanistan, Lt. Magnum of the US Navy shares experiences from an assignment helping the Philippines recover from a variety of natural disasters aboard the USS Pelilu (named for the Palauan island).
Stories include logistics of engineering, construction projects, diplomatic relations, ingenuity on the ground, pig roasts, helicopter landings and the goodness of the Navy’s construction battalion AKA SeaBees.
With a US Naval Lieutenant at the table, Uncle Weed traces the history of the Tigris and Euphrates crescent and discusses the ground level experience of life in Iraq. Lt. Magnum explains his rebuilding mission to Kurdistan, plus quests to various coalition bases including visits with Korean, Slovakian and Polish forces.
Anecdotes include Haliburton food, hookah shishas sessions in Qatar, religious concessions, cables on marble walls, hiking in rolling hills and meeting local folks getting just getting by in their war-torn world.
They had a call out for Civil Engineer Lieutenants to be liaisons at each of the locations. I volunteered and got selected to spend 16 May – 19 Jul in Manila, Philippines. I will work out of the US Embassy and make trips out to the two project locations in southern islands of the Philippines, closer to Malaysia than Manila. The locations are Tawi Tawi and Cotabato. I already found an aerial picture of Tawi Tawi and it looks like a fabulous tropical island.