Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Soldier has dates in Mexico in 2009 and 2010

Even when you are deployed in Iraq, your life in Wisconsin keeps happening. For Chad and Lindsay, the next step is an October meet-up in Mexico. And that's just the beginning.

Lindsay Herman of Madison is the fiance of Chad Brown, who is deployed with the Wisconsin National Guard in Iraq. You may remember, she spotted him at the 57-second mark of the "Hi Mom" video clip on YouTube. Lindsay agreed to give A World Away this briefing on how you plan a wedding in Mexico.

To get married in Mexico, you first have to choose a place. We wanted an all inclusive resort so that the costs would be up front for our guests. We chose Mexico because it's as cheap if not cheaper to fly there than domestically (unlike someplace like Jamaica or St. Lucia) and our families are spread all across the country. The weddings you can have at these resorts are amazing. They provide the cake, food, decorations, location, officiant, everything, for one set price; you just pick your color scheme...

We're planning on inviting everyone and anyone to come down. The more the merrier! A lot of my extended family is really excited to make this a big family vacation. A lot of my friends are already checking to see if they have that weekend off of work (it's actually Columbus Day weekend 2010 so it will be nice for those that work for the state or schools). The more people you can get for the resort, the cheaper the rates are per person, so everyone has incentive to get the most people to come down as possible, plus that makes it more fun for us!

And about the wedding dress - oh you are very wrong :) I could not have my wedding without a fun wedding dress! I am bringing it on the plane with me and it'll be quite the handful. We're not getting married in Mexico because we like the tropics or Mexico in particular or even the whole destination thing. It's fun, affordable, and (mostly) stress free! So the dress was a must. I actually just bought it 2 weeks ago when I was with my mom at home near Rochester, NY.

We have not been to the Mayan Riviera before. I have been to Mexico on a cruise, but that's it. Chad and I are actually making a first trip down there this October (2009) when he has leave from Iraq. He's meeting me in Cancun, then we'll go to the resort from there. We'll be there for two weeks and at that point, I'll go and scope our our wedding resort. We've already got the resort booked. Now we've just got to wait :)

- Lindsay

Photos: Top - Lindsay and Chad in the limo they rented for Chad's pre-deployment going away party. Right - The happy couple the day after they were engaged in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Nick Druecke on conditions in Iraq

Here's Part Two of our introductory post from Nick Druecke, who is spending the year at Camp Taji, Iraq, roughly 6,339 miles from his home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

I'll shorten up this thing and give you the skinny on conditions here in Iraq. The chow halls here are actually pretty good, from an all around aspect. You can eat whatever and how much of whatever you want, they serve different things every day. Sunday is soul food, Monday is Mongolian night, Tuesday is fish fry, I can’t honestly remember what the rest of them are. Especially since I’m on a pretty intense workout plan (gotta have a good diet!)

The rooms differ, 'important people' have larger ones than others, but honestly the rooms are glorified closets. Two men per, you get a bed, a nightstand and an armoire. The rooms have a small A/C unit which during the middle of the day cools the room down to a cool 95 degrees. Outside will be anywhere from 110-140 with a constant hot wind. The best way to simulate this is to preheat an oven to 150 degrees, and then use a hairdryer to blow the heat onto your face. There are a lot of dust storms here as well. You can’t even imagine what that is like unless you’ve been in one. Kuwait was worse though.

Down time is usually spent sleeping, as we run on a 24 hour schedule here, no days off...ever. Internet and phones are slow to boot and get knocked offline during the many dust storms. You see your coworkers (battle buddies) way more than you wish, and most things we joke about here would be either too gross, inhumane, or just plain immature for normal people. I have a sincere belief that the infantry is home of the oldest and most immature children on the planet. Everything is either a movie quote or a fart joke...and I laugh at all of them. However annoyed you get with your battle buddies, you will never forget them.

Years from now I imagine I will look back remember all of them, and then realize that I didn’t even know most of their first names. It’s funny who you trust your life to.

- Spc Druecke live from Iraq

Meet Spc. Nick Druecke

Nick Druecke is stationed at Camp Taji, Iraq, 6,339 miles from home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

I was born in Waupun hospital, and lived in Beaver Dam for all of my life. My family was split as a result of a divorce I am too young to remember, both of my parents remarried. My mother, Heidi, first to a man named Eric Schoenberger who was in the Army for ten years. My father Lorne Druecke remarried after several years to a woman named Jenni Hart. They are still married today. My mother however passed away not too long ago, I honestly don’t remember the date. Not one of those things you wish to remember, I do remember however that it was shortly before I graduated high school (BD HIGH). I had trouble with that, I began to drink very heavily and only with the help of my friends did I recover. At the time I was working for a small gas station (CENEX) just on the outskirts of town.

After an unsatisfactory month of employment with a satellite TV company, I joined the military on 20 August 2007. My reasoning was the paycheck was steady, and that is about the only thing true to this day about the military. I enlisted as an infantryman and after basic went to Ft. Hood, Tx where I would report to Bravo Co 2/8 CAV and trained with them for the next year in preparation for their next deployment. Shortly before we deployed our platoon was selected to become part of a new unit called 'blues platoon', which is a big deal in Cav history. The last time this unit was around was in Vietnam. If you've ever seen 'We Were Soldiers,' it’s the same basic principle. I'll let you do your own research on that one, but to the big brass this was pretty huge.

So we moved units and became part of Fox Troop (FELONS) 3/227 Attack Helicopter Battalion. We had a train up and deployed to Iraq in late April.

To be continued.

- Nick