Saturday, October 27, 2007

The GI JOES are ready for the PROS!

I know I have been lax on my postings and I'm sorry but this has been an incredibly busy week. I will post soon, a long post that is long overdue, but for now HERE are some GI JOES stationed in Iraq who are talkin' trash to the PROS! They can't wait for the competitions to begin!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Snapshot of My Life

Here I am before the CLP (Combat Logistics Patrol) I went on outside the wire last week. The vehicle I'm standing in front of is a ASV (Armored Security Vehicle). I am aware I look like a Ninja Turtle but if we are attacked, that gear will help save my life. You can't see it but in addition to my M16, I am also carrying a camera and a tripod. People think our job is easy but any military broadcaster will tell you it's always a challenge being a "one man band" reporter on missions like these. There is nothing easy about that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Adore My Husband

I am back in Balad after a long week visiting Al Asad, Al Taqaddum, and Camp Hit. I am beat up and tired but THIS cheered me up. I had a package waiting on me when I got back to the office. Greg sent me all kinds of goodies that we love to share - gummy letters, Flammin' hot Baked Cheetos, twizzlers, and then my personal favorite (not his), Diet Mountain Dew. The best part is the note he put on each and every one of the cans that came in the box - each a different reason for loving me. I cried for the first time since leaving him over a month ago. Not that I haven't been sad but I've been able to keep the tears at bay because it's wayyyy too early in the game for me to be crying all the time. I am trying to be strong and keep it together but after a great but very tiring week outside the wire, this amazing package from my incredibly sweet husband provoked real tears. They weren't just "i miss him" tears; they were also happy tears because he made me smile when I didn't feel like smiling. I married my best friend five months ago and these cans are just a reminder that I hit the husband jackpot.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Snapshot of Our Life

Our nephew
Michael Anthony Zinone, III

Born October 16, 2007 @ 1:13pm. He weighed 8lbs and has "short blond hair and big lips", says his dad Michael Anthony Zinone, Jr. Congrats to his mommy Linzie, daddy Michael, big sister 2-year-old Isabella, Aunty Jennifer, Great Grandmother Betty and Grandparents Michael Anthony and Gail Zinone!

We love you! Love, Uncle Greg and Aunt Addie (and cousin Gumata!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Snapshots of My Life

My feet hurt. We've been been running around a lot.

I took this pictures for my husband. He LOVES palm trees and this is a particularly beautiful one because it is perched just above Spring Lake on Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, a Marine and Army base that sits between Ramadi and Fallujah.

These sit just to the right of the Palm Tree. I'm not sure of their significance here but for me, it's all about Faith. Sometimes, you've just got to have Faith.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Snapshot of My Life

Here I am covering military operations in Al Asad, a base camp that is roughly a 30-minute flight from Balad. It's not too bad here. There is a chow hall the size of Costco and every component of the military has a presence here. I'm still traveling so details will come later.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Snapshot of My Life

I'm traveling for the next week. I'll post pics of my trip when I can.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Snapshot of My Life

My first Pic of the Day. I've been wanting to post a picture of me in my new fancy Bose headphones but I haven't had an opportunity. These were a going away present from my in-laws and I've wanted these for a while now! I love them because they are noise reducing so they tune out the bombs and blasts and everything! Just kidding....they are perfect for editing my stories (which I am doing here at my desk) and watching movies at night (which I will be doing as soon as I am done with this).

I really do love them so thank you so much to everyone who pitched in to get them for me!

ps...if I look tired, it's because I am.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


So a few posts ago, I mentioned that I had a little announcement to make! The reason I was waiting is because I was waiting on our website to go LIVE so I would have somewhere to send you so you can see what Greg and I have been working so hard on since June! Together, we have started a non-profit organization called PROS VS. GI JOES!

What we do is set up real-time video game competitions between professional athletes (the PROS) and troops stationed overseas (the GI JOES), primarily in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, via the Internet using Xbox and an Xbox Live Gaming Tag!

Greg came up with the idea and soon after, we got to work! We filed the appropriate paperwork to get our official 501c3 status (although we are still awaiting our official tax exempt status; it takes a while for the paperwork to process) and started working out the details and getting support from sponsors we need to make this happen for our troops!

All of this happened before I knew I was being deployed but since I am here we are making the best of it and now, I am working as the overseas coordinator! Greg is the Chief Executive Officer and has been THE person to get all of the sponsorships for us! I am so proud of him and his dedication to making this happen! It’s so exciting!


The first team we’ve partnered up with is the Arizona Cardinals! The guys on the team are ready to take on the troops and we’re getting everything lined up to make it perfect! We are currently working with individual USO Centers in the Middle East, where the GI JOES will play as well as ESPN Zones in the states, where the PROS will play!

It’s the perfect marriage of ideas because professional athletes play these games A LOT and so do the troops! Soldiers spend so much of their down time in front of a TV battling their buddies! Greg and I thought, “why don’t we give the troops a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go head-to-head against a PRO?”

We found a really great company called AWSSports to create, build, and essentially donate a fantastic website for us! Greg and I came up with all the content and the basic structure of the site. We got his friend Mo to help with the graphics and after months of design, format, and content negotiations, we went LIVE on October 1st! We will continue to improve on the design and add more content but are VERY PROUD of what we have been able to accomplish with the limited resources we have available to us.

We've also been able to secure product sponsorship from these great companies!

  • EA Sports: they are donating tons of games like Madden 08, Tiger Woods, NBA Live, etc!
  • Red Bull: donated product for the USO Celebrity Golf Championship at Trump National Golf Course (see pics below)
  • Ultimate Game Chair: donated the coolest gaming chair in the business and will be donating chairs to put in USO Centers in the Middle East
  • donated 6,000 pair of "PROS VS GI JOES" dogtags! Every person who donates get a pair!
  • Fathead: providing images for USO Centers, where we will have a "PROS VS GI JOES" gaming area.
These are just a few of the companies who believe in what we are doing and see the potential of our organization! We're in talks with XBox to solidify that relationship and we are currently planning the first "PROS VS. GI JOES" Cross-Country Tour that will coincide with the NFL Playoffs!

Here is where you can help, if you would like. Please bookmark our website and send the link to as many people as possible, including members of the press! We need as much exposure and help we can get in order to make our vision a reality and truly SUPPORT OUR TROOPS BY GIVING THEM THE COOLEST MORALE BOOSTER AROUND!

Also, if anyone has contacts, associations, friends, etc. with PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, CELEBRITIES, SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS, RADIO AND/OR TV SHOWS, and you think they would be interested in PROS VS. GI JOES, please email me at I have a lot of contacts and am utilizing them as much as possible but every little bit helps!

Also, we are a non-profit organization, and work solely on donations, so click HERE if you'd like to help SUPPORT THE TROOPS through PROS VS. GI JOES!

We are hoping to have our first match in November but we're still working out the details. In August, however, we were lucky enough to be invited to showcase our organization at the USO Celebrity Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Course. We were truly the highlight of the day! This was just a simulation; not our official kick-off so we had troops stationed in Korea playing against the celebs and golfers. They had a blast and it was so much fun! The Airmen and Soldiers in Korea were even trash talking through the headphones even though they were on opposite sides of the world! Now imagine if they are talking smack with their favorite professional athlete?? It's gonna be awesome!

So, there you go! Our GREAT idea is turning in to a GREAT thing for our TROOPS! I will keep you updated here but PLEASE check out our site often for all the updates and latest news on PROS VS. GI JOES! The more support we have from you the more support we'll get from sponsors!

Back to Blogging

I'm still truckin' along people. I've not updated because I've been so busy trying to catch up with the rest of my unit (who have been here for over four months already), figuring out what the mission is exactly, and getting used to way they do things. As I mentioned in an earlier post, ours is a logistics mission so we cover the units that fall under the command of the 316th as well as other units on LSA Anaconda. Our unit is essentially made up of two teams: a print team that writes, edits, and publishes a weekly 16 page newspaper called the Anaconda Times and a broadcast team that writes, edits, and produces a 15 minute + bi-monthly newscast called Newsreel Anaconda. We also submit our stories to Armed Forces Network Bureaus around the world as well as to The Pentagon Channel. Both of these teams are made up of just four soldiers each so the demand on each of us is pretty big. We have a lot to do with very few soldiers and that's not including our other responsibilities like early morning PT (physical training), shift change (mandatory reporting from each section of the days events), occasional guard duty, and of course maintaining our equipment, weapons, living and work areas.

All in all, it's not that bad here. They call Balad "Mortaritaville" because we get blasted a lot with mortar rounds but I haven't experienced much of that. A few come in every now and then but nothing like I experienced when I was in the Green Zone in 2004. This base is big so the mortars would have to land fairly close in order for me to hear them. Sometimes I hear what I think is thunder...then I realize it's not thunder, it's an explosion. So weird! And as odd as I know this sounds to you, on a day to day basis for us, life here feels pretty normal. I get up, go to work, do what I have to do, and I get back to my trailer - uneventful is the key as is working hard to accomplish the mission. So what is my mission exactly? Two things: (1) Tell the soldier's story and tell it well. (2) Get back to my family and friends in one piece.

Truly, the hardest part for me is missing home. I feel that a lot more severely than I did during my last deployment, which makes sense because I'm in a very different place than I was three years ago! Last weekend was very hard for me because of my brother's wedding. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid and I was sick to my stomach knowing my family was together celebrating his big day and welcoming his wife to our family! Those things, along with holidays, are very very tough on us. That is when it's most apparent to us how much we miss home and the realization that we won't get those days back. It's hard to reconcile.

Having said that, Greg and I stay in touch with occasional phone calls and a lot of emailing and IM'ing! I was able to get an internet connection in my trailer (that we are paying a ridiculous amount for) so that helps a lot! Finding time to email is pretty difficult because my day is pretty packed with work so if you emailed me and haven't heard back, I'm really sorry!

I'm finally feeling like I am comfortable and in to the groove of things here so I will be updating more often! My mom was really worried because she didn't hear from me for a couple of days so I will be sure to not let that happen very often! I've also decided I will do a PICTURE OF THE DAY post mostly every day so that you can really get a sense of what I am seeing on a daily basis. Sometimes I will have to go out on missions and won't be able to do it because I'll be off post (we call it "outside the wire")without access to the internet but I'll try to be consistent. I've taken some pics of my office and trailer so we'll start with these for now.

This is my trailer park looks like! Actually very confusing to find my trailer at first!
Our lovely abode, inside and out! I share part of this trailer with SGT Longbine. She's also in my unit. My bed is comfy, we have air conditioning, a television, and a refrigerator - no bathroom unfortunately but I'm not complaining after sleeping on that nasty cot for so long! I just can't escape the Porto potties though!

Here is where I work. It was VERY surreal when I first got here because when I was in Balad in late 2003, this is the EXACT building I lived in. At the time, it was an old Iraqi office building and we just found a room and camped out in it. Now, to see it so clean and like a real office building is so strange. My old bedroom is now my Captain's office. The smell, the air, the rooms...the memories came rushing back to me and I couldn't believe I was really here again! It seemed just like yesterday, not four years ago! But here is the building, the hallway, and the broadcasters work area.

Like I said, I will post a pic or two a day to give you a visual of life for us here on LSA Anaconda. There are about 25,000 troops here and each one has a story. Hopefully through my stories and pictures, you won't feel so detached from what our life is like. I miss you all....