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From: Lt. John Johnston
Date: March 29,  2004

The weather here is getting hotter and hotter. We were out walking around today by the river bed. I came up on a group of displaced Kurds. They were living in old tents by the river. They were told to move to Kurdistan by the PUK in the attempt to make Kirkuk the capital of Kurdistan. They were promised a place to live, but have yet to find anywhere. So now they live in tents and sleep on the ground. It reminded me of a scene from a shanty town in pictures of the great depression. Their only source of water is from the river which is where most of the waste from the city flows. The children look as if they have never been properly bathed. We passed out candy to them and they acted as if it was gold. We have now adopted another dog. Her name is AK. She is probally around five. She walks out with us on all our patrols. Today she tried to eat someone’s chicken, it reminded me of watching our dogs chase squirrels.

My future  change in jobs still seems to be in limbo.  I will probably move in June or July. They are now talking about making me the mortar platoon leader. This prospect is a nice honor. Mortars, Scouts, and Anti-Tank are our 3 specialty platoons. The 3 platoon leader positions always go to the most experienced, capable, and worthy Lt’s from the battalion. Walt has been moved to the Scout Platoon. So if I get moved we will be in the same company. Whatever position I get I will be happy with. I love hearing form everyone and I am doing my best to keep you posted on everything. I miss you and Love you
Love John

From: Lt. John Johnston
Date: April 30, 2004

Mom and Dad
I hope ya’ll had a good week. Last night I was up for 26 straight hours. We got some intel about 13 names of suspects. We went out early this morning and rounded them up. Needless to say I slept all day. There was a thunderstorm this afternoon which made the nap even better. Bryan and I built a bookshelf for my room, it looks very professional.  It has helped in my organization. It even has a wardrobe section so I can hang my uniforms.

We started up House guard today, I will do my best to call home this weekend. If you get a chance to go be Wofford, see it they have 4 shirts, hats of something. I would like to give them to my interpreters. I was going to take a picture of all of them wearing them with me and send it into the Wofford Today.

It is midnight, I just got done pulling my night shift in the command room, I am not tired since I slept all day. A fuse blew in our room this afternoon, so we have no power. We had our pool filled up this week, I have looked at it and come to the conclusion that I am not going to be doing much swimming in it.  I will take a picture of it and send it home. The water has a green mucky look…

From: Lt. John Johnston
Date: May 30, 2004

Our generator has been fixed. We now have lights. We still can’t run the A/C but at least we can see.  Today one of SSG Knudson one of my squad leaders is being presented the Purple Heart.  He was guarding the bank downtown (the same one some soldiers threw a party  at) when he was hit with shrapnel from an RPG round.  The round hit the wall 5 feet from where he was standing but didn’t detonate. He caught some minor shrapnel in his back. His guardian angel was definitely watching out for him.

There is a RUMOR that we will redeploy in DEC.  I am not getting my hopes up b/c anything is possible. However it would be the greatest Christmas ever if I could spend it with everyone. Our BBQ is tomorrow, I will take pictures to send home.  I Love you and miss you.
Love John

From: Lt. John Johnston
Date: August 1, 2004

I am glad I was able to talk to every one this morning. It is hard to believe I will be home in one week. I don’t know if I believe it or not. I am looking forward to being able to relax and have a good time. Thank you for getting everything ready for me coming home. For my first meal on Sunday night I would like: Steak, oven brown rice w/out chesnuts, espargus, casserole, onion in the oven, and mushrooms. I told Ainsley to bring either Chicken bites or chicken fingers from Zaxby’s to the airport for me to eat in the car on the way home with a big cup of sweet tea. Others cravings: crab dip, fresh fruit (strawberries), boiled peanuts, crackers and cheese, and SWEET TEA. For meals anything will taste good. Have a good week and I look forward to seeing everyone. Love John

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