Ed is "Ed" to almost everybody but his mom
and dad. We call him "Charlie" or "Char."
Now it's MAJOR Ed!
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.
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).
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.
||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.)
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.)
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,
|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
I get to brief the Chief of Engineers (3-star) today on what my team is
doing. My 2-minutes of fame.
|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
|Ed trudges home after a hard day
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.
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
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
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.
Lazyboy. Upholstery should be desert camo. Then we
could call it the "Ar-chay,"since Usay and Qusay are Ed-day. (Apologies to
||Water, water all around, nor any
drop to drink!
Charlie seems to know some guy in the motor
pool. Click here.