Friday, April 11, 2008
My New Friend, Jason, in Baghdad.
When I got this picture, I was blown away. Let me tell you about it.
The man in the picture is Jason Hughes. He is a Captain in the Army Medical Service Corps currently deployed for a 15 month tour to Baghdad, Iraq. He is the accountable officer and logistician for TF62 Medical Brigade out of Fort Lewis, Washington. This information, and the picture, is posted with his permission.
The building behind him is the Al Faw Palace, former home of Saddam Hussein and current headquarters of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I).
The book in his hand is mine, BOURBON, STRAIGHT: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey. In a post on StraightBourbon.com, Jason mentioned that he had the book and liked it. I noticed his location and commented that I thought it was cool my book was in Iraq.
Taking this picture and posting it on the web was Jason's idea. When I thanked him and told him I was blown away he wrote, "I am glad that I found something interesting to learn about. Most of the time we don't get to show our appreciation for the people that help us discover and provide the history that enhances the enjoyment of new hobbies."
Jason's unit is comprised of more than 3,200 Service Members dispersed over 47 different locations within Iraq. They provide command-and-control for three U.S. Army combat support hospitals in six locations within Iraq, and one Air Force theater hospital, that provide forward life-saving surgical intervention, hospitalization and ancillary services; and two multifunction medical battalions that control the health service support functional areas of evacuation, area medical support, and medical regulating, preventive medicine, medical logistics and blood management, combat stress, laboratory services, veterinary services, dental services and health information systems.
Jason's wife is a CPA and works for the Washington State Auditors Office. Jason will hit his six year mark in the military in May, with most of that time spent in Korea (15 months) or Iraq (27 months). His hobbies include running (five marathons under his belt and he is running one this weekend in Iraq), reading and spending time with his wife.
I don't think I can do justice to all of the thoughts and emotions I have had due to this chance encounter. Most of the words in this post are actually Jason's and I think I'll leave it that way.