Ian Thornhill in Iraq–I

LCBA Member Ian Thornhill of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids has been deployed to Iraq as a member of the Navy Reserve. He is going to be working on a task force that is helping to re-establish the Iraqi criminal court system. The LCBA will be posting his email updates, with permission.

I am in Kuwait. We arrived last night at about midnight local time. For those of you I haven’t talked to in a while, I spent the last three weeks at Camp McCrady (part of Ft. Jackson) in South Carolina. We Navy guys got put through some basic Army training, most of which was shooting. For the duration of my deployment I will be carrying an M-9 pistol. We got to shoot this at McCrady along with the M-16. You will be happy to know that I qualified on both weapons – a lawyer with a gun, that’s a brilliant idea! We also got to shoot some bigger weapons like a .50 caliber machine gun, the SAW machine gun (M249), and a grenade launcher. All very enjoyable at a range when you are shooting at targets, but let’s hope I never have to do it for real. We also received training on running and defending convoys, first aid, IEDs, etc. Much of the time we were wearing body armor which includes the IBA (individual body armor vest with steel plates) and a Kevlar helmet. This gear weighed between 40-50 pounds. I know there are some photos of me in it floating around out there. If you want, I can send some more after I get to Iraq and break out my personal laptop.

For the next couple of days we will be adjusting to the climate and the time change here. Then we spend two days even deeper in the desert (if that is possible) doing more convoy training, including live-fire. Fortunately it was not that hot in South Carolina and is not as hot as it usually is here.