US Army Major Rich Spiegel Travels with Flat Stanley
FLAT STANLEY TO DEPLOY
FORT HOOD, TEXAS – – A famous children’s literature character will deploy to Iraq from here Sunday.
Flat Stanley, belonging to Meghan Sheasley of Far Hills, New Jersey will spend approximately one-year, in Iraq, with Meghan’s uncle, U.S. Army Major Richard Spiegel.
Flat Stanley plans to provide periodic updates on life with coalition servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq. Stanley will also report on the Iraqi people as time and security permit.
Spiegel is the Director of Public Affairs for the Army’s 13th Corps Support Command, located here.
This particular Stanley previously traveled with Spiegel to Alaska and Canada. Spiegel took previous Stanleys throughout Europe and the Far East.
March 10, 2004
I arrived in Kuwait today after a long journey from El Paso, Texas. The trip is supposed to be 15 hours long but we stopped in Maine and Germany to refuel and refit the airplane.
Our camp in Kuwait is helping my escort get his pay and allowances changed over to combat zone pay and issuing him some special bullet-proof plates for his “Body Armor”. We also received bullets today, yes my escort will carry a gun because there are still a lot of bad people in Iraq that selfishly do not want the positive changes being made by the international coalition.
Tomorrow we hope to fly into Iraq and get settled in our permanent camp. Sorry I don’t have a picture today but we don’t have a digital camera until we get to Major Spiegel’s office.
I will be happy to answer your questions starting in a week or so when I can borrow his computer.
Hello from Iraq;
I arrived a couple of days ago and have been busy getting settled, in the next few days I hope to get some pictures of our camp and describe the conditions that we are living in.
Today I had the opportunity to go with some doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals and watch them set up a clinic, for two hours, in a small village where many people don’t get good medical care.
I learned that many of the simple medicines or treatments we receive without thinking about are not available to the people here. Sometimes something as simple as aspirin or penicillin can cure a problem, in a few days, that has caused someone to live in discomfort their whole life.
Medical programs like this are a regular part of the Coalition Forces Mission in Iraq.
I have attached a picture of a US Army dentist working on a young Iraqi girl. Unfortunately since it was a medical procedure I could not be in the picture myself
Traveling with the US Army’s
13th Corps Support Command
Public Affairs Office
March 19, 2004
I’m sorry it takes me so long to write but the Army folks here are very busy and I spend alot of time in someone’s pocket. I am travelling with the public affairs office whose job is to tell the Army story to the newspapers and TV stations. We also help out news reporters who are here to interview people and we have our own newspaper as well.
Here I am shown with Specialist Eric Rodriguez of California. He is an Army journalist and he specializes in video production. He has done some wonderful slide shows and in this picture is working on one in the office.
The other picture is of my room. I need to get out more and as soon as my office gets another smaller camera I think you will see more of me.
March 25, 2004
Hello again everyone
we have been really busy this week escorting TV stations and newspaper reporters who are interested in finding out what is going on here in Iraq.
What’s really interesting here is that I have met people from nearly every state in the US and from several countries as well. Many of them know me because they have kids or they read about me when they were little. Although we are far away from home it can be a very small world, just the other day MAJ Spiegel (whose pocket I stay in much of the time) ran into another Major that he went to elementary school with – wow!
If you are interested in me trying to find soldiers from your state, let me know and I’ll go out looking when we have time.
Today I’m attaching a picture of our truck, next week I’m going to get to the Tigris River and I may be able to show you Baghdad soon.
See You Again Soon
March 28, 2004
Today I am with a construction crew from Pampanga, Philippines. They are working for a company that is improving the base where I live, someday this will go back to the Iraqi people much better then when my friends found it.
The Pilipino men come to work for a year or sometimes two because the pay is better than at home and they can provide more for their families.
The work ongoing here to help the Iraqi people is a cooperative effort of many nations. Here at our camp, the Military works together with government civilians, private companies and the Iraqi people to make Iraq a safe and secure place to live.
Next week they told me i may get to meet some Iraqi children and help bring them much needed school supplies.
April 3, 2004
Hello again everyone
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to three of the many schools that my Army friends are helping to fix up. One had not been started yet and was in pretty bad shape, one was about halfway through and yet another was finished and will have its grand opening soon.
Not all of the children go to school, some sit in the fields while their mothers work. The ones that are in school have few if any school supplies and often must share books. They do not learn like you do, they learn with the selected student reading in front of the class and the rest of the class chanting in response.
During our visit we distributed school supplies and backpacks donated by Peperdine University as part of a students project to earn their masters degree. Each pack contained paper, a ruler, pencils and other school supplies, the packs also contained a toothbrush.
The schools are low brick or cement buildings with bare floors. The lighting is not good and desks are about all that is in the room. The bathrooms are outside and not very clean, there is little if any play equipment.
The finished school is bright and colorful and has running water from a tank up on the roof, there is a real bathroom like you and I know.
Most villages in our area have no running water, water for washing and even drinking is taken from the canal in buckets, its very dirty and would make you or me sick since we are not used to it.
The children were very excited and happy to see us, they are very friendly and curious often trying out the few English words they know and trying to convince us to give them candy, we always do. The children are very happy to be back in school and I was happy to visit them.
I’ll see more in the coming days
Traveling with the US Army
April 24, 2004
Hello Again everyone;
I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long but my Army friends have been very busy. The people that have been fighting against them have been very active and its been a little to dangerous for us to go out very much.
Today I helped host a TV crew from Russia TV 1 based in Moscow. They are the biggest TV network in Russia and with sattelites they broadcast all over the world. If you have a sattelite TV system in your house you may be able to watch them.
They came to Camp Anaconda to see how the American soldiers live; unfortunately, Russian soldiers don’t live very well and they wanted to compare.
We took them to see soldiers living in tents, buildings and trailers, they were very impressed, almost everyone has air conditioning and they are allowed to fix their area up to be comfortable.
We also took them to see the indoor pool and the new movie theater where they show the same new movies that you can see back at home. They also went to see all the Army trucks.
Anaconda is a supply base and from here truck convoys drive daily all over Iraq, it is very dangerous work and many soldiers that I know have gotten hurt. Their jib is important, they deliver food, fresh water, gasoline bullets and spare parts so that soldiers from all the countries working here can do their job and help make Iraq a safer and more secure place.
I also just found out that I might get to go to Baghdad with Major Spiegel soon, I’m very exited to meet some new people and to see some new places. For now I hope you enjoy this picture of me, Nickolai, Andre and Michael.
I’ll write again soon
Traveling with the US Army 13th Corps Support Command Logistic Support Area Anaconda Balad, Iraq
May 15, 2004
I’m back and I’ve been to Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq. I flew on a Blackhawk helicopter, what an awesome ride, very fast and very low, much better than any rollercoaster but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t dangerous, the soldiers are always alert for people that might want to harm them.
We passed over a lot of little villages, the homes or huts are made of mud and people that have some money make their homes of cement and brick. We also flew over alot of cows, goats and sheep, alot of the people between my base and Baghdad are farmers. Lamb and goat are very popular for eating here.
Baghdad is huge and there is a lot of traffic except in the Green Zone where the people helping the Iraqis form a new government live. The green zone is heavily protected to keep the people that want to keep Iraq from making progress out. I got to see the Presidential Palace, very big and beautiful but lets say the decorating was not to my liking. There are also many broken down buildings, some because Saddam Hussein neglected his people and some because we had to bomb them to help get rid of him. I also got to see some famous monuments and eat lunch in the Al-Rasheed hotel, that was on the news a lot.
Baghdad is a very dangerous city and at night I could here the sounds of fighting, I was happy to fly back to our temporary home in Balad.
While in Baghdad I got a tour of Freedom Radio. Freedom Radio is run by the US Army and broadcasts for all the people working in the country, some Iraqis even listen to it. I’m sending a picture of me as the DJ, broadcasting all over Iraq.
I’ll see you again soon.
June 2, 2004
Its been so exciting lately, I’ve been out to the villages with my soldiers as they inspect the progress of all the schools they are fixing up. Soon i am going with a medical team to help the villagers near to here get better medical care, some never get to a doctor.
I’m just attaching another picture from my Baghdad trip, here I’m sitting in a couch in the Presidential Palace.
Talk to you soon
June 23, 2004
I’m sorry its been so long since I wrote about my trip to Baghdad, my Army friends have been very busy as usual.This week they took me on a MEDCAP or medical civil action program. Doctors, Dentists and other medical people from my base volunteered to go out into one of the very poor villages and provide medical care for the people, many of whom rarely if ever see a doctor. The doctors use medical supplies donated by various groups and organizations to treat the villagers many of whom are very sick.
The people in most villages don’t have clean drinking water so there are some bad diseases that we no longer have in the United States. A lot of the children are sick with simple things like ear infections that your doctor can cure in a day or two but not here because there is very little medicine available.
Army doctors saw over 170 patients and dentists even pulled six teeth relieving a lifetime of pain in some patients. The dental staff also cleaned teeth, passed out dental care supplies and gave instructions on how to brush properly.
The village is very friendly and were happy to see the medical soldiers, as usual there were hundreds of kids around.
I’ve attached a picture of me with a family, the little boy is protecting his goodies for the day. I’m sorry about the cigarette but many of the men here smoke. Iraq is still a very dangerous place and that is why MAJ Spiegel is carrying a rifle.
I’ll write again soon
with the US Army in Iraq
October, 2004 Final Message
Flat Stanley Redeploys
Flat Stanley here, so sorry its been months since I wrote but my Army friends just haven’t had the time to take me sightseeing. Its been very difficult for them at times and often dangerous. I am glad I came over here though to see all the things they are doing to help the Iraqi people, especially the children.
MAJ Spiegel is sending me back home to his niece Meghan so that I can be put in a memory box and preserved (I’ve been damaged just a little) – a new FS will take my place, maybe on Maj. Spiegel’s next Army adventure.
I’ve enjoyed writing to you