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Remember our troops when it gets hot out

Posted: July 6, 2008 1:24 a.m.
Updated: September 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.
I swore that if I made it home, I would never complain about hot summer days again.

As you make the short trip from your air-conditioned car to whatever air-conditioned building you are going to, consider this:

On a June day in Baghdad it was 115 degrees with blowing dust. As they move into this month, the average daily high temperatures there will steadily rise to above 130 degrees.

The temperature will only start to taper off around the middle of September. That is when you sit around commenting what a pleasant day it is when it only hits 105.

If you have a friend or a loved one serving in the military in Iraq, you can bet that they can't wait until September arrives. Why? Because everything is so darn hot.

You can't escape the heat. From May to September nothing ever really cools down, and clouds flee from the sky. Even the bugs don't fly.

Sweat, body odor, feeling sticky, wet socks, wet underwear, dust, sand, dirt and matted hair are all daily companions for those who wear the U.S. uniform.

Many spend days on patrol or in aircraft wearing heavy protective gear and helmets that dig into the skin. When you get into that up-armored Humvee and slam the heavy door shut, it feels like you just closed yourself into a microwave oven.

One of the small pleasures I remember was stripping off all of my flight gear after going through the shutdown sequence in my helicopter.

After a long mission, the rotors would coast to a stop, and the heat would intensify because the air was no longer being blown around.

You would get out of the aircraft as quick as you could, strip off your helmet, take off the gloves, unstrap the 15-pound survival vest, peel off the 25-pound flak vest, unzip your soaked long sleeve nomex flight shirt, step to the shaded side of the aircraft, and feel the breeze momentarily cool your body as your sweat-soaked T-shirt evaporated and cooled you.

Ahhh, it was a small slice of heaven. That shirt would be bone-dry within about three minutes, at which time you put it back on to protect your skin from the searing sun.

You would wake up the next morning, step out of your air-conditioned hootch, and step into 110 degrees at 4 a.m., starting yet another day.

I read the Bible a lot that year. In the 19th chapter of the Book of Psalms, King David wrote of how the heavens declare God's glory.

He describes the power of the sun in its unstoppable course, stating in verse 6 that, "Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them, and nothing is hidden from its heat."
Truer words were never written.

So remember, Santa Clarita, count your blessings. Pray for our troops as they endure another hot summer over there.

We live in a beautiful part of the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world. Sure, it gets a bit warm in the summer, but you'll never hear me complain.


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