Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION PRESENTED TO DUSTOFF VOLUNTEERS BY COL. HAMPTON
35 Area Support Group
Certificate of Appreciation
SSG Richard Simmons
For your dedication and professionalism while serving at LSA Anaconda in support of Operation Iraq Freedom. In addition to your courage displayed on every “Dustoff” mission, your selfless service toward high morale and enjoyable recreation is worthy of great recognition. Volunteering countless hours of your off duty time toward the construction and operation of the “Original Java” led to the establishment of one of the best areas of relaxation on LSA Anaconda. Your exhaustive efforts ensured that every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Civilian Contract Worker could seek relaxing camaraderie over a wide variety of cold and hot non-alcoholic beverages. This one selfless act reflects great credit upon you, the 57th Medical Company and LSA Anaconda.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
1SG GLENN DOES SOME VOLUNTEER DUTY TIME
Monday, August 28, 2006
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOUR FAVORITE BARTENDERS
PICTURED ABOVE ARE SOME OF THE REGULAR VOLUNTEER BARTENDERS READY TO SERVE YOU A GOURMET CUP OF JOE , REFRESHING "P.O.I." OR ONE OF THE MANY OTHER DRINKS OF CHOICE.
LEFT TO RIGHT: CPT HUGGINS, SPC GAINEY, CW2 HENDRIX, CPT CHAPPELL, CW2 THORNTON, SSG SIMMONS, CW3 WILLIAMS (NOT PICTURED CW2 MOORE, CW4 SMITH)
OASIS IN THE DESERT
“Oasis in the Desert”
If you’re looking for a little sanity in the middle of a war, what you need is an oasis in the desert. SSG Simmons, of the 57th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), LSA Anaconda, Iraq, provides just that with Original Java. His brain child consists of a trailer with a handmade serving bar, a reading area, a TV/gathering area, dozens of volunteers who man the serving bar 17 of 24 hours a day, and most importantly an ambiance that allows people to come in, relax to some good music and take a break from the tragedies they see every day. Original Java makes coffee drinks and smoothies in an environment that doesn’t even have running water and operates on donations and volunteer time alone. Between SSG Simmons’ daily flights as aero evacuation medic where he witnesses the worst that man can do to each other, he oversees Original Java with the care and love of a father. In fact, many people see him in just that light. He is a listening and caring man; anyone can pony up to the bar and be sure he is there to listen to their daily woes. I often see him come in after a flight and I ask him how the day is going, he answers that “today was a bloody one,” but later he comes back after a shower and says “it’s going to be better because the customers in Original Java always make me smile.” Not only does SSG Simmons provide great coffee with a homelike atmosphere, he takes care of our Soldiers and Airmen before and after they do their service for God and country, he is a true hero.
MAJ Deidra Siddall
LSA Anaconda, Iraq
ORIGINAL JAVA LIGHTS UP
Sunday, August 27, 2006
TEXAS HOLD 'EM
Sunday, August 20, 2006
By Master Sergeant Jeffrey Phipps
Deployed life on Logistics Support Activity (LSA) Anaconda/Balad Air Base is an ongoing effort to maintain a high operations tempo dictated by the critical missions while maintaining some modicum of sanity and relaxation. The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) units for the Army and Air Force offer many activities and services to help with this endeavor.
Quietly tucked away in the corner of the flightline, smack in the interface between the LSA and airfield, sits a caffeine-charged desert oasis called Original Java. This break from the stresses and strains of life in the combat zone is operated by the men and women of the 57th Air Ambulance Company, the Original Dustoff. The brainchild of the flight crews services a small clientele with coffee, frozen drinks, and a (relatively) peaceful setting where warriors can sit and unwind after a hard day.
“The best part about this place is the fact that people come here and get so much enjoyment out of a simple atmosphere. That warms us as much as anything we do.” remarks Staff Sergeant Richard Simmons, a MedEvac Flight Medic and one of the driving forces behind the coffee shop. “That we can bring a smile to the faces of these Soldiers, Airmen and Civilian Contractors with a simple drink and maybe a cigar is amazing.”
Smiles abound. “I didn’t know there was anything like this here until one of the firemen brought me here. Now I try to get here as often as possible.” says Technical Sergeant Donna Casas of the 332nd Expeditionary Communications Squadron at Balad AB. She is but one of the ‘customers’ that frequent the shop near MedEvac Flight Ops. SSG continues “We run entirely off of donations."
With the grim reminder of what man is capable of doing to other men looming ever so close by, Original Java provides a welcome spot to unwind, tell stories and compare notes about the families at home. Lifelong friendships are forged in this alcove slightly removed from the war. SSG Simmons sums it this way: “We are called upon to pick up the broken pieces from the results of the insurgency. By having this place available to ‘get away’ we are serving a greater cause.”
Living under the moniker ‘Mortaritaville’, LSA Anaconda/Balad AB has its’ fair share of drama. Original Java is an oasis, a desert hideaway with the right stuff to make the hard days seem like a mirage…if only for a little while.