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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Friday, October 27, 2006

Spoke with Nick this morning

Spoke with Nick for a while this morning. He is now at his new home; FOB Iskan. FOB stands for Forward Operating Base. FOB Iskan is also known as Camp Iskandariyah. It took them a while to get there because of attacks - he said that insurgents were dropping mortars into their drop zone.

Nick says that the base is big, but very crude (he had a more colorful expression). He describes their living quarters is an old concrete one-story building with a long hall and concrete rooms on each side. There are nine guys in his room, all sleeping on cots, and he said its the size of his bedroom here at home. When they arrived, there was no power to the building and of course, no A/C. They have now bought several window A/C units and many power extension cables, running them from somewhere else. He said they now have 2 outlets for all 9 people and have to be careful how much stuff is running at once, so they don't overload it. This is somewhat ironic, since I've read that FOB Iskan surrounds a power plant that provides a third of all Iraq's power. He said that the building has a BIG mouse problem and with the rotted ceilings, the mice were literally falling from the rafters. They secured a bunch of trash bags to the ceiling to keep the mice from falling on to the floor. The buildings have tall concrete blast walls surrounding them and in between all walkways, to block shrapnel from mortars.

Nick said its a 30 minute walk to the chow hall, which is about the size of our upstairs. There is no PX - instead, you give a guy some money and a list, and they go to a PX to get it. However, there is an Iraqi market on the FOB and you can buy stuff from them (that's where they got the A/C units). Nick was most impressed by the massive selection of DVD movies. He said you can get a single DVD that has up to 4 full movies on it, all for about $3.

Nick says the area looks like an old Mexican town, with dilapidated concrete buildings, lots of palm trees and jungle type vegetation.

I have shipped a package to Nick to verify the address. He has been told that packages take about 10 days, but for some reason letters take 30 days. Nick asked me to wait on giving his address out, until we know for sure it is correct.

Nick is using an AT&T AAFES calling card when calling home. He is able to use other calling cards as well, but this card is rechargable. It costs $0.25/min to call home from Iraq. Staci has given me the calling card info so that I can recharge it for him. If anyone would like to donate money to his calling card, let me know. While I'm sure everyone would like to get calls from him, I hope you understand that he may have few opportunities to make calls. There is one building with 10 phones and 10 computers w/Internet for the whole FOB. Plus, he will be going on missions quite a bit, some lasting a week at a time.

I don't know when Nick will have opportunity to send any pictures to us, but in the meantime, I have found some pictures of FOB Iskan from someone else posted on YouTube.


Daddy said...

How do we donate money toward a calling card for Nick?

Tavis said...

You can send me a check made out to either me or Nick. Or you can send me the money through PayPal to tavis.schriefer@gmail.com. I can call into his card and transfer the funds to it.