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Our man in Baghdad

Post by News Tribune Staff on Oct. 17, 2007 at 11:00 am with No Comments »
October 17, 2007 11:00 am

You don’t often hear about guys like Tony Painter. He’s working in Baghdad, but he’s not in the military. Nor is he a diplomat. He’s a contractor – and not that kind of contractor. He’s one of the thousands of Americans working in the shattered country.

Who is Tony? He’s a 37-year-old Tacoma guy who, when living stateside, is within easy walking distance of Frisko Freeze. He graduated from Wilson and UW-Tacoma. He’s worked in Tacoma and also spent some time with KBR in Afghanistan.

I’ve asked him to provide occasional slice-of-life pieces for us. I thought his perspective on things could be a bit different than the usual stuff we read coming out of the Baghdad. Here’s his first letter

I can only give you an account from my perspective, which is limited since (thankfully) I am confined to the base. We don’t go driving around in the streets like the military. I can tell you that our base still experiences multiple daily ‘indirect fire attacks’ – mil-talk for insurgents lobbing in random mortars and/or rockets. There were just a number of people lost a few days ago. I was woken up twice last night by two large explosions, once at about 10 p.m. and another around 1 a.m. Tends to make you think what the heck you’re doing working over here.

It’s not as hot now as it was during the summer…our highs are only reaching about 100 degrees during the day, which is much better than the 120-130s it was during the summer.

I occasionally run into guys that area based out of Fort Lewis and it’s always fun to talk about where they’ve been in T-Town…nightlife-wise, I’d say the Loft comes up more than any other place. I can only imagine the increase in business the downtown clubs are going to experience when (or if) these guys (and gals) get to go home. Other than that, don’t often run into people from the Northwest.

Letters from afar
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