A honeymoon in Baghdad and serving at "the tip of the spork"

At Night The Sporks Pick On MeImage by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

FSO Aaron Snipe was previously with the PRT in Muthanna (2008/2009). Somewhere in his blog, he writes about what he won’t miss about his PRT experience in Iraq: “Sharing a bathroom trailer with 200 other guys, who might be expert marksmen with a sniper rifle, but possess very little aim in other important areas of life.”  Tee-hee!  He is back in Iraq for a return engagement, this time at the US Embassy in Baghdad as Deputy Spokesman.  He also got married to his “Mrs. Huxtable” and then took his new bride for their honeymoon to where else? Baghdad! That would make a great story for “Huxtable” kids/grand kids later. For now, our best wishes to Aaron and his new bride, Praya.

From FS blog, Wing Tips on the Ground:     

Iraq’s capital would seem an unlikely place for a honeymoon, but we’re here together, and that means everything.  Gone are the days of trying to connect by phone and Skype, only to be denied a connection by a wicked sandstorm or power outage.
While blogging from Muthanna, I realized that I might have taken a few shots at my pin-striped diplomatic colleagues living the high life at the Embassy in Baghdad.  After having spent a year on a PRT in the middle of the desert, some diplomats (like me) have been known to develop a slight swagger in their step.  I won’t lie: I feel a certain pride in having served at the tip of the spear.  I once joked with a colleague that diplomats on PRTs serve at the tip of the spear, while the diplomats at the embassy serve at the tip of the spork  (my colleague from the Embassy was not amused).  When I volunteered to come back, this time to Baghdad, I knew I’d have to eat my words.

So with a napkin on my lap and utensils in hand, here I go: Working in Baghdad is not service at “the tip of the spork.”  Life in the Embassy is no country club – this is still Iraq (though, admittedly there is a pool and tennis court).  Certainly we enjoy amenities that our PRT and military colleagues don’t have out in the field.  But the diplomats and development professionals working at the embassy are engaged in some of the most important work being done in American diplomacy today.  As the US military draws down its forces, civilians who represent the United States in Iraq now take center-stage to implement the new relationship between our two countries.  Folks here put in long hours and are burning the candle at both ends.  I have a newfound appreciation for my colleagues in Baghdad, and I’m proud to count myself among them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a PRTer at heart and there’s still a little swagger left in my step.  But, I’m happy to be in Baghdad, and Mrs. Huxtable and I plan on having one hell of a year.

Check out Aaron’s old and new blog here.