Patrick has finally started flying over there and sent me some new pics. We are so proud of you Patrick!
Hover Taxi at sunrise
Patrick on the flight line
One of the offices
Patrick flying in IraqThere is a website for the squadron that should be updated on a regular basis.
On that website there is a phone number that you can call for a message from the CO. (I am still looking for it)
The Commanding Officer
(from the newsletter)
Gunfighter Friends and Families,
Greetings from Iraq! Your Gunfighter has successfully made the transition from Camp Pendleton to Iraq. Getting over here was a rather painless evolution despite the multiple flights and bus rides. We have completed our turnover with our sister Squadron and as of today, November 15th, we now have the mission of providing attack and utility helicopter support to Marines and Coalition Forces in western Iraq.
Leading up to the turnover we celebrated the Marine Corps’ 233rd Birthday. Despite being forward deployed, we took the time to acknowledge our spirit de corps and legacy that has been and will continue to be what makes us proud to be called “Marine”.
The Gunfighter effort in the transfer was up to its professional reputation. The Marines and sailors in the Squadron are motivated to carry out their mission from various forward operating bases. Your Gunfighters are well trained for this mission and are ready to execute any assigned task. Extraordinary accomplishments will match their extraordinary efforts. The Gunfighters, regardless of whether they fly helicopters, fix helicopters or support those who do fly or fix, are a strong, professional, and cohesive Squadron. When you put all the parts together, the Gunfighter team is impressive to watch.
I also want to thank you for your support and efforts on the home front. We all know how important and difficult the task is that you have at home while your Marine or sailor is deployed. Your Gunfighter is able to focus on the mission at hand, when all is well at home. The (KVN) Key Volunteer Network and (FRO) Family Readiness Officer Barbara Greenbush are available to assist if you run into problems or need information and referral. Remember that we will be using the new form of communication the (MCT) Mass Communication Tool during this deployment. If you are on the MCT list, you will receive messages from me regarding the Squadron.
I am privileged and proud to be the Gunfighter Commanding Officer and to work alongside each and every Marine and sailor in this Squadron. Trust me when I say, “There are none better.”
This is the email we received from Patrick's CO (commanding officer):
Family and Friends of HMLA369, Hello to the family and friends of HMLA-369. The squadron has finally arrived at our destination. After an 18 hour flight, with stops in Maine, Germany, and Kuwait, all is well and we are settling in here in Iraq. The Gunfighters are beginning their turnover with HMLA-367, so that they may return home to California.
Patrick hasn't started flying yet because they have to learn the ropes from the HMLA 367 pilots. I am thankful that I have gotten to talk to Patrick everyday and also gotten emails as well. I know that it will not be that way the whole time he is gone but I am thankful for the 3-10 mins that I get each day. Once the 367 guys move out our guys will get to move in and get settled. Patrick is on the night shift in Iraq which means he is working from noon to midnight my time. The only Patrick has said about it so far is that its "weird." When I talk to some of the other wives that's the same thing their husbands say too. Once he starts flying he will have much more to talk about I am sure.
Alex and I are doing good, we had a great first weekend with the girls =) As you can see from the other posts. Next we are excited to head to VA for Thanksgiving!
Thanks again for everyone that has been writing, calling and thinking of our family during this time.
When I got home from the ball Annie was already here...ready for our wifey weekend. We went to the Wilson Creek Winery on Saturday and had a great time. Brianna asked me to be her Matron of Honor a few weeks ago and I can't wait. We looked at the winery wedding site and it was stunning.
Brianna and Chrissy
Annie and I
Annie, Chrissy, Me & Brianna
After the winery we went to the mall to shop because its what we do best! After that we went to Hooters (haha we were craving hot wings) and had a sleepover at my house. Brianna, Joey, Alex, Pete and I all slept in our bed it was surprisingly comfortable.
Sunday we did nothing all day, and then just like that we were 1 week down on this deployment. Only 27 to go!
Even though the guys are gone friday was the USMC Birthday ball for the whole MAG-39 (Marine Air Group - Camp Pendleton) Officers. About 16 of us Gunfighter wives decided to go and have a blast and a blast we had. I truly feel blessed to have these girls here with me during this deployment.
Brianna, Me & Chrissy
Kristi, Brianna, Me, Chrissy & Robin
We got our hair done at the school of beauty in Oceanside and they did an awesome job...$20 including tip. AWESOME! We got down to The San Diego Sheridan just in time for cocktail hour. Once we met up with the rest of the Gunfighter gals we had an awesome dinner, watched the ceremony and danced the night away.
My best friends
This years ball was much more fun than last year but that probably because I am not 8 months pregnant and because none of the guys dance when they are there. We sure missed them a lot but it was nice to get out of the house and get dressed up. I am looking forward to next years ball!
Its official, Barack Obama is the next President of the United States of America! I am excited that Alex was born for such a momentous Election. There is a 106 year old black woman that voted in this election and I can't imagine what Alex will see happen in the next 100 years of America's future. How Exciting!
I want to let everyone know that there is MotoMail. The website is www.motomail.us. Register and account if you wish to send free letters to Patrick while he is in Iraq. The letters are printed out and hand delivered to the guys. ***When you are registering the account, you will need to search Patrick's squadron. 42070-HMLA 369*** I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO USE THIS AND SEND PATRICK MAIL!!! :)
***Here is the site to check out the pictures from the guys in Maine.http://ourstopinmaine.smugmug.com. He is in the November 2008 album on the pictures of Patrick are on the following pages:
14 62 68 133 153
I talked to Patrick this morning and he is in Iraq. He said that it's a strange country and that on the base there they have a nice chow hall and exchange. He won't start working for a few days so they are just hanging out in the mean time. If you want to send Patrick care packages here is the address:
1st Lt. Patrick W Richardson
FPO AP 96426-2070
*****www.USPS.com**** Please check out this website and order the proper boxes to send Patrick packages. If you use your own boxes you will be charged ALOT of money to send stuff. If you call 1-800-610-8734 and ask for the military package (this is what I did, and it only takes a few mins.) they will send you 6 priority boxes, 6 mailing labels, 6 US custom forms, 1 roll of Tape. These supplies will be shipped to your house for FREE! Also, if you want to send him large packages, on the USPS website order the large FPO/APO flat rate box. You can put up to 70 lbs in this box and the flat rate is only $10.95. I must add that you cannot send him alcohol, obscene material, and pork products.
If any of you do not have my email it is: firstname.lastname@example.org. (don't forget the "m") *PLEASE PLEASE write me if you have any questions about mail or if you want to say hi. This is such a tough time for us and I would love to hear from all of you. Please keep us in your prayers.
This blog is for anyone that is interested in looking at it. If you know anyone that would like updates on Alex or Patricks deployment and to check out pictures of our family, please give them the blog address: alexjrich.blogspot.com.