Good Morning Cardinals Fans!
We started off our morning bright and early anxiously awaiting to hop on some Black Hawks in hopes to travel to a few of the more remote bases located here in Baghdad. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so due to the dust in the air reducing the visibility for the pilot. So, our awesome tour manager set up a super fun day for us here at Camp Victory where we were able to do some things that we will probably never get to do or see again in our lifetime. We started off our day shooting some simulated artillery weapons. Our instructor, Randy is a retired ARMY veteran with 21 years of service under his belt! Randy, walked us through a series of real simulated scenarios that a typical soldier would encounter while doing a normal convoy patrol here in Iraq. I was shocked how real these simulated scenarios felt and how much we (soldiers) had to take into account before firing their weapons. This is a phenomenal tool that our military has developed in order to better prepare our troops before they encounter the real deal, this technology has definitely helped save innocent lives.
After our simulation practice, we were taken to another one of Saddam's palaces, this one he named "Victory Over America". I find the name quite Ironic considering this palace was given the name long before 9-11 was even thought of and before war was brought to Iraq. This name states his intentions all too clear. We've been informed that Saddam had about 70 different palaces in Iraq however this was by far the largest of them all and the one he spent the most time in. Some interesting facts in this particular palace was that the main staircase was purposely made uneven and only Saddam memorized the quickest way to run up the stairs. Making each stair a different level than the next makes walking/running up the stairs tricky and if your not careful one could easily trip and fall. The Victory Over America palace was incredible in terms of how large it was but the negative energy it possessed still lingered on. Just across the way, another interesting structure stood out as it resembled much of what the "Flinstones" cartoon looked like. Ironically, Saddam named this structure "Flinstone Village". Our tour guide informed us that Saddam admired the Flintones cartoon enough to replicate it. Sadly, this is where he kept all the orphaned children that he created after he killed their parents. Seeing all of this, has certainly been a lot to take in as I have learned so much.
To finish off our day, we were pleasantly surprised when we were told we were heading to go shoot some REAL guns at the shooting range! Honestly, I can't remember the names of all the different guns we got to shoot because there was so many. We shot everything from pistols and assault rifles to shotguns and sniper rifles we had a blast! After the range, it was now time to head to the SP (Special Forces) compound to do our last and final show of the tour. These men a women make up the finest of our military as there are only about 300 currently stationed here in Iraq. It was an honor to say the least to meet these soldiers and they made our last show of the tour something to remember! What a perfect ending to such an eventful day, one that I will always remember.