Updated 18-Sep: Welcome to the Schriefer Blog, my name is Tavis Schriefer. Recently, my wife Jill and I raised money to supply driFIRE shirts to every soldier in Apache Company of the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. We were successful in raising over $6500 and we would like to thank everyone for all their support to make this happen.
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Phone calls from Jonathan

Jonathan called yesterday around 4:30 AM and we talked for almost an hour. He is all packed up and ready to go - they will be leaving very soon to Iraq.

He had a sinus infection a couple days ago trying to get used to the dry climate. He said he was having to run from one CARE package to another, checking contents and it gets hard to catch your breath. He said they drink plenty of water and that there are pallets of bottled water everywhere. They gave him a couple shots and he slept for quite a while - he's better now.

There was some concern over the ballistic goggles he has - they are not prescription lenses and they are of a type that cannot be on your face along with your glasses. I spent some time with the manufacturer discussing his prescription and the goggles he has vs. What he can/should have - then discussed it with Jon when he called again yesterday afternoon. The goggles issued by the military cannot handle his level of prescription, so I'm going to get him new ones here in the States ($220) and ship to him in a few weeks when he has a shipping address. In the meantime, he is using the older, larger goggles that go on over your glasses and are attached to his helmet (these can be seen in many of the pictures of guys who have been over there for a long while)

He hasn't been able to take any more pictures as his new camera's lens cover doesn't want to open - don't know if its sand or some other problem. His computer still works fine, but does make some noise (from the fan) when you first power it on (likely sand).

He has now used all of his phone cards (it died while we were on the phone). He had a WalMart card from Xmas and a AAFES 550 card that was given to them at the departure ceremony in Waco. He bought some other calling card at the shop he was at, from a Kuwaiti shopkeeper, but had to go find someone with an old $20 bill because his was a new one with colors on it and the shopkeeper thought it was counterfeit. I plan to get him another card from AAFES.com in the next couple weeks and have it delivered to the house. We've determined that he doesn't have to have the physical card, just the numbers on the card - so I can email him the info.

They will be shipping out very soon, so that was the last contact we will have for next few weeks, until they arrive at their new base. Without going into specifics, he said they will be at a very large base with around 10K troops. He is on the first flight out and they have been informed to expect a firefight from the time they land until their convoy arrives at the base.

He is doing well and ready to go. They have plenty of ammo and he is wearing all of his safety gear, so we will hear from him again in a couple weeks. -Tavis

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