Special Reports

Meet Mitch, the Kirkuk eagle

Meet Mitch the eagle.

Roger and Kim weren't able to get much about his story, although Kim was able to take his picture and Roger wrote a pretty funny story about the day Mitch's food -- ie, bunny rabbits -- got loose at Patrol Base Barbarian

To read that story, click on Roger's March 31 blog, "Bravo Company's Great Barbarian Bunny Hunt."

We can tell you that Mitch was injured and the previous soldiers at Barbarian saved him.He was handed over to Bravo Company when the other soldiers left, and Bravo Company's crew is learning how to be raptor rescuers.

Soldiers with Bravo Company think he's a golden eagle, although they are soldiers and not ornithologists. They were told he flew into the Barbarian compound and got stuck in the concertina wire.

A medic from the 25th Infantry Division had to cut away much of his wing, so he no longer flies.

-- The editors

Leaving Patrol Base Barbarian and coming to FOB Warrior was a culture shock.

Barbarian was a small, cozy place where everything I needed was within a couple hundred yards. You could go from one end to the other in about three minutes without even walking fast.

Bravo Company of the 116th Brigade Combat Team is stationed at Barbarian, some kind of former Iraqi recreation camp in Kirkuk. Forward Operating Base Warrior is where Alpha Company and other units of the 116th are based at the Kirkuk Regional Air Base.

I stayed with my Barbarian roommates, Sgt. Chris Irizarry of Boise and Spc. Kevin Harrington of Lewiston, in an upstairs bedroom with a balcony and a bathroom around the corner. They had a television and DVD player in the room, as well as a refrigerator and a respectable junk food stash.

Now I'm alone in an 8-by-10 cubicle with a cement floor, one cement wall with a boarded up window and three plywood walls. I have to go outside and walk about 100 feet to the nearest bathroom.

It's like going from a bachelor pad into solitary confinement. It's not bad, it's just different. I know a lot of the soldiers here crammed into smaller spaces would love to have my room. I can throw my stuff wherever I want.

There are advantages to FOB Warrior. There's so much food here it's ridiculous. My first night they served lobster at the chow hall. Dessert is always a temptation for me, and when someone else is paying, it's irresistible. If I were here another month, I would gain at least 10 pounds.

The guys in Alpha Company have made me feel welcome and bent over backwards to get me anything I need. I asked for a box or a crate or something to use as a makeshift desk. They found me a World War II-era field desk.

It's really cool because it makes me feel like the famous WW II correspondent Ernie Pyle, although I doubt he ever had a desk. He trudged with soldiers through muddy and frozen battlefields in Europe or landed on bloody beaches in the South Pacific. I've got it pretty cush by comparison.

— Roger Phillips