News Of Char

Ed is "Ed" to almost everybody but his mom and dad. We call him "Charlie" or "Char."

Now it's MAJOR Ed!

 

June 6 '04

Char is now back home in Wiesbaden. The Army had told him that it might be August before the rank of Major he was promised was actually conferred, but he called us on this day and said his Colonel had just then attached his oak leaves. (Note: oak leaf outlined in red below. Slightly enlarged to show detail.)

This is the highest rank a Chamberlayne has achieved since our distant ancestor arrived at Hastings with William the Conqueror. That Chamberlayne was one of only a few dozen warriors recorded as being a warrior there. He was a Chamberlayne to William but used as a sort of surname "de Tancarville," the place in France that he came from. I don't know what his rank was or even whether they had the concept of rank as we know it. He was, plainly, an important soldier in addition to being William's chief-of-staff. Char is posing here in front of his apartment building. His wife Allison took the picture.

 

 

 

 

Dec 15 '03

Dear Ma and Da:

(Ed could have been on a plane headed home today but he decided to go sight-seeing in Northern Iraq for a couple of days .. )

Was in Sulaymaniya (Kurdish area of Northern Iraq) last night when we got word of Saddam's capture.  Celebratory AK-47 gunfire everywhere.  Lots of drinking and partying in the streets.  It was nuts.  The Kurds were extremely happy (although more than 40 were injured in the city from the gunfire).
 

Love,

Ed

Dec 13 '03

Dear Ma and Da:

Brigadier General Davis awarded me with the Bronze Star for my 6-month tour in Iraq.  Pretty cool.  I always thought you had to kill people to get this award?!  A big honor. 
Ed

Criteria: a. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States, ... distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force ....
Right: Ed with his boss, Adm. David Nash USN (Ret.) head of the Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Office, one of the most important construction officials in history. Good boss, too, according to our kid.

(On balance, our kid is probably the snappier dresser of the two, although, like the 500-lb canary who sings whenever he wants, the admiral can skip coat and tie whenever HE wants.)

 

04 Oct ‘03

Dear Ma and Da:

(Char starts with a reference to our plan to cast the countertops in concrete when we re-do the kitchen eventually.)

Air entrainment involves putting in an additive to the concrete mix that will make the concrete slab lighter.  I've never done it so it might not work for what you are doing.  I definitely wouldn't use rebar -- maybe a light mesh (We’ll use rebar and re-mesh).  It is not like you will have heavy loads on the countertop. (Each section of slab will weigh more than 300 lbs with nothing on it.) Let me know how it goes (or I'll see it in December).

What did the doctors say?  That X-ray picture on your website is pretty incredible.  It really gives me a good idea of what was happening.

My replacement gets here in 10 days and we expect to leave here around the 24th.  It may take a few days to get back but hopefully we are home before Halloween.  I promised Emma that I would go "trick-or-treating" with her.

I have never been shot at while in a helicopter.  Some have but I haven't heard of any injuries or damages.  Now....some helicopters have crashed and soldiers have been killed in them but we have been lucky so far.  Most of the locals wave to us when we fly overhead (sometimes at 20 feet!).  It is safer for us to fly as low as possible.  That way the guys with the RPGs don't have enough time to aim.

Can't wait to get out of here!  Talk to you soon, 

Love, 

Char

 

9 Sep 03

Emailing from Baghdad today.  We've had a conference here -- the first National Conference of the Ministry of Housing and Construction.  Big room with lots of Iraqi engineers and contractors.  They have lots of opinions and really want to get started rebuilding their country.  It was surprising to see them ask hard questions and voice their opinion -- under Saddam they couldn't do that.  It was actually very encouraging.

I get to brief the Chief of Engineers (3-star) today on what my team is doing.  My 2-minutes of fame.

Love,

Char
 

4 Sep 03

I did get selected for promotion.  However, it will be several more months and probably next calendar year before I'm actually promoted.  So I'm still a Captain.

Life is good.  We are over the half-way point (Ed was told his team would be withdrawn from Iraq in October -- things do change in military service, of course, especially in wartime) and folks are getting excited about going home.  It still is about 50 days away but it doesn't seem like forever anymore.  I just returned from a trip to three different camps - an airfield west of Baghdad, a special forces camp, and the Baghdad International Airport (affectionally named BIAP now).  We took helicopters to each camp - I think I've spent over 10 hours in Blackhawks or Chinooks now.  That is incredible!  I've turned into a pro at finding helicopters and convincing folks to put us on them.  It is no easy task...believe me.
Our work goes slowly but should have real impact in the future.  We are repairing existing buildings for troops to use and planning new military construction for facilities at the camps like post offices, fire stations, training buildings, etc.  It is difficult to get the plans, designs, and funding for these projects but I hope it makes a big difference someday. 

It is still very dangerous here.  We have been very lucky so far and have not been directly shot at, bombed, or had any accidents.  I'm am now knocking three times on the wall...  Most of the people that are attacking Americans are foreign fighters and I think the common Iraqi is happy that we are here.  I don't remember if I told you but I was in downtown Baghdad one day (unfortunately near the UN HQ) and everyone that passed me on the street had something nice to say or at least waved.  I felt very welcome.  But then someone bombed the UN 5 blocks away three days later!

I've got some good pictures from the last 2 weeks of travels.  I've been to 9 camps in about 8 weeks.  We've been able to see a lot of what Iraq is like.

Love,

Char


 

Ed trudges home after a hard day of peacekeeping

 I am heading back up to our camp in Balad today.  Every time we drive anywhere, I lock and load my pistol, chamber a round, and stick it out the window.  The Iraqis respect guns and are less likely to attack you that way.  Their latest trick is placing improvised explosive devices along the routes here hidden in trash. 

        Every trip we make is pretty dangerous so we bring lots of vehicles, soldiers, and guns!  This place is much more dangerous than my time in Kuwait three years ago.  Our camp up north has been shelled by mortars every night since we've been here.  Luckily they can't range that far and they usually land outside the camp or just inside the wire.  We sleep in an existing building with A/C in the center of camp so I think we are safe.

I'll attach some pictures.  Our bandwidth is not great here and doesn't always work.

 Love,

Char

 

16 July, 2003

Ma & Da,      

I've been in Iraq for about two weeks now.  Life here is pretty strange - different from anything I have ever seen.  I initially flew into our camp outside of Balad on an Australian airforce cargo plane.  When we got off the plane, we hit dust and 120 degree heat.         

I was ordered back down into Baghdad last Friday with one of my team members (an architect) to work with the big coalition army staff here.  We are working on plans to improve the base camps for our soldiers in Iraq.  Some are living in existing buildings with A/C and some are living in tents in the dust (not much sand here - just fine dust).        

I've been living in one of Uday's pleasure palaces outside of the Baghdad International Airport for the last few days.  Beautiful palace but very hot inside and no water (thanks to the Air Force bombs!).     

  

Ed, shown here thinking of ways to get ahead.

 

Iraqi Lazyboy. Upholstery should be desert camo. Then we could call it the "Ar-chay,"since Usay and Qusay are Ed-day. (Apologies to Keith Olberman.) Water, water all around, nor any drop to drink!

Charlie seems to know some guy in the motor pool. Click here.

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