Embedded in Iraq: 20 Years Later

subj: belt loops

Posted by jim on June 27, 2004 at 14:24:18:

the next few days could get heavy around here. pray for them all!

Posted by jim on June 28, 2004 at 13:17:23:

there aren’t any scales around, but i’m down four belts loops! 20-25 lbs is my best guess, but i can still afford more. the bad news is that my skin isn’t quite so elastic as it once was. anyway, the food is great at this army base. the dining hall, or DFAC in army vernacular, has several entrees at every meal, with all the fixings.

it’s just the heat. 110+ every day. you sweat like you’re running just from standing around. i also wear a flak and a helmet all the time, so it’s really a workout just to take a walk, and today there was more than a little running. when i get it off, often after 6-8 hours, i look like i’ve been hosed down.

buddies back home are already taking about a pool on how long i take to put the spare tire back on when i get back to philly cheesesteaks and beer, and i fear they may have a point. thanks for the prayers, but spread ’em out to the soldiers and the iraqis too. this aint over.

great to hear from you,
keep in touch,

Posted by jim on July 02, 2004 at 10:30:25:

this no beer thing is hell. i haven’t seen any micros, and all i can get, even when i visit the hotel, are cans of carlsberg and amstel, usually warm, like everything else here.

Posted by jim on July 05, 2004 at 15:47:15:

you hop out of the humvee, you shoot, somebody says “mount up,” and you’re done. there’s just not much time to fool around.

hey, but i have my first week off now. will be back in action 7/14 i think.

seeya all,

About these posts: In 2004, I took a leave from my job at the old Philadelphia Daily News and spent next 12 months photographing the war in Iraq for the Associated Press. I shared my experiences with friends and family on a private mailing list and now I am posting my entries on the same dates 20 years later.

By Jim MacMillan

Jim MacMillan is the founder and director of the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting and the assistant director of the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University. He has been a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and the Knight-Wallace Fellows, as well as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Swarthmore College. Previously, MacMillan spent 17 years at the Philadelphia Daily News and photographed the war in Iraq for The Associated Press, after which he and his team were awarded The Pulitzer Prize.