Badwater in the Persian Gulf: Major Curt Maples

Many of you know, or are aware of, Curt Maples, the Major in the US Marine Corps who has been a flamboyant and popular participant in quite a few recent Badwater Ultramarathons.

He trained for the 2003 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon while deployed to the Persian Gulf. You can read his 2003 posts about that by clicking here. This year he will run 135 miles in Iraq, simultaneous to the 2004 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, as an honorary race entrant. Scroll down to read all about it and see the photos.


Curt Maples to Run Badwater in Iraq, Help Iraqi Children
(Note, as of August 23, 2004, Curt is headed home shortly, so do not send anymore school supplies.)

Curt Maples, the three time Badwater finisher who received the "Badwater Ambassador Award" at the 2003 race, is currently deployed to Iraq with the US Marine Corps. This July 12-14, he will run 135 miles in Iraq simultaneous to the 2004 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon. As an honorary race entrant, he will wear his customary bib number 13 while doing so. His Marine Corps support crew will be emailing photos to our race headquarters for inclusion in the race webcast.

Curt is asking for support of the local Iraqi school children for this effort: "Really anything people can send will help (but do not send money).  Maybe we can do something to help these kids who have the misfortune to be caught up in all this mess!  Thank you!"

The following items should be sent to Curt at the address below:  School supplies such as spiral-type notebooks, crayons, pencils, coloring books, folders, notebook paper, etc. Soccer balls/Frisbees. Kids' clothing such as t-shirts and socks. Please take the time to help Curt's cause. It's one we can all embrace and it won't take too much time to run to the store and then to the post office with a box of goodies for children who want, and deserve, a bright future!


January 27, 2004

Greetings!

It has been a while since we communicated. I will not be at Badwater this year: I am headed back to Iraq for another 7 month tour of duty where I will endure extreme heat, dust storms, primitive conditions, and flea infested, bad tempered locals who want to do bad things to me (just some of the locals, of course). I will take my running shoes, walkman, camelback, and dreams of Badwater 2005, and train as much as conditions will allow. Although my destination is in a very bad part of Iraq, our base is fairly secure and I should be able to run in relative safety. Thanks again for the wonderful experiences you and the other Badwater folks have provided over the years - tell everyone hello for me! Through thick and thin, my Badwater experiences have given me levels of strength and confidence I might not have otherwise attained. I will send more updates from Iraq, and will try to send something around race time. I might even be able to tap into the webcast. God willing, I'll be sending you an entry form in about 11 more months! Adios!

Curt Maples
Major USMC


February 10, 2004

Greetings from the windswept wasteland!

I hope all is well there with you! I launched you an e-mail back before I left, but do not know if you replied, as our departure date changed. I have a plan: The base I am headed to up north is really big - over twenty miles around. Conditions permitting, I am planning a BIG run to coincide with Badwater. Since I cannot be there in person, I can at least be there in spirit by doing my best to immitate the pain/suffering/joy/triumph of Badwater. I plan to run 135 miles, the same day, and start at the same time as my Badwater Family. If this all works out, we will send real-time photos of my solo event as it unfolds. I will also attempt to find some sort of charity to help raise money for the local Iraqi people. I already have a ready-made support crew - over here I can just order them to help! All of this hinges upon the conditions up there: If things settle down a bit by then, I think I can pull this off. The camp I am in right now is around 5 miles per lap - pretty boring, but I chase army runners down to amuse myself. Since my time is limited I run the 5 miles at around a 6 minute per mile pace, but look forward to longer, slower runs in the near future. Please pass my greetings on to everyone - I really wish I could have been there this year!

Curt Maples
Major USMC


February 11, 2004

Greetings!

I should be at this address for several more days, then I am headed north. The place I am headed to got hit with a rocket attack night before last - nobody hurt. As before, the bad guys are about the worst shots in history and it is pure luck when they actually hit anything. They still don't scare the major one bit! I bounced my Baghdadwater idea off my immediate boss and he thought is was great, conditions permitting. Although I do not need a sponsor, I would like to raise money for some worthy cause with my efforts. How do I go about this? One idea I had was to have Marines pledge money/mile and then donate that to one of the local towns around the base - they are friendly/supportive of our efforts. I have been able to run every day since I got here. It is COLD in the mornings - around 40 degrees. I don't have much in the way of running gear, so I just run in shorts and a lightweight polypropelene top: I freeze for the first mile or so, then I am okay. The Army here all have fancy running suits, but they don't help them run any faster! I ran by some of them yesterday doing a formation run and it looked like the 'Trail of Tears' - soldiers strung out all over the place! I also got a chace to do some speed work last week: We were driving out away from the camp and I spotted a Euromastyx lizard. They grow to nearly four feet and can really move when they are warm. I jumped out of the car and chased him, but he had a good head start. I was almost on him when he reached his hole, where he disappeared. He sat in there and hissed at me, so I left him alone. They don't have much in the way of teeth, but I still did not want to have him grab my finger! I caught a few of them last year - they will stand and fight if you catch them away from their holes: They inflate their bodies, arch their backs, lash their tails back and forth, and open their mouths and hiss like a water moccassin - it is all just a bluff, and they settle right down once you pick them up. I put one in another Major's sleeping bag last year with highly amusing results - the target of my prank squeeled like a school girl and jumped about 20 feet. Anyway, I better get going. Again, I will be at this address for probably a few more days. Take care - it is great to hear from you!

Curt Maples


March 30, 2004

Greetings!

Long time no talk! I arrived at my more permanent base about a month and a half ago after leading a convoy up from Kuwait. We arrived without incident, and I have been really busy setting up security for our base. In keeping with my way of doing things, I have come up with a wild idea (Nothing unusual about that!). My base has a road around it that is just under 12 miles, generally pretty flat and featureless. Since I cannot make my annual pilgrimage to Death Valley this year, I will conduct a 135 mile run right here to maintain some semblance of solidarity with my fellow lunatics back home. I will kick off at 1700 on 12 July, which will coincide with the 0600 start of Badwater. Although my run has no major climbs, it will be comparable in terms of heat, plus with the wind/dust, and occasional explosions, should prove fairly miserable - I would have it no other way! We will take pictures as the event unfolds, complete with close ups of my inevitable regurgitations, and launch them back to you so you can follow my progress. A big part of this run is raising money for charity. My intention is to have my fellow Marines sponsor me by the mile. I will then donate all of the proceeds to a local hospital or schools - maybe I will buy everyone a Frisbee or something. I figure I can raise a good chunk of cash, and will try to get some charity/organization back home to match whatever I raise. As I explained to the locals, "You WILL let me win your hearts and minds. You will smile, and you will like it. Fun is optional!" I think they will warm to the idea. Seriously, I will run regardless, but it would be nice if my efforts went to help someone - most of the people around here are friendly and could use some help. My training goes well: I run just about every day, often all the way around the base. While this does not sound like any great shakes, I do most of this running in my Interceptor Vest, which, with the bulletproof plates in it, weighs nearly 20 pounds. I enjoy the stares I get from the other inmates, as few of them ever run with their vests. I have run the 12 mile loop with my vest in around 1 hour, 20 minutes. The only bad part about running here is the wind: Most days, the wind kicks up and you have to run into it at some point, plus the wind kicks up the dust, and I sometimes have to wear goggles. Anyway, I figured you would appreciate the update. The locals are learning that this area is under new management, and some of those previously disposed to mischief are now enjoying their 50 virgins (Or maybe they are not - I just know they are no longer a problem!). Please pass on my greetings to the rest of the Badwater Family. Time is passing quickly and the big bad Badwater will be here before we know it.

Curt Maples
Major USMC


March 31, 2004

This will be my address for a long time - another several months anyway. Pass my address to the rest of the folks! Ran today in the Interceptor Vest, closely followed by men in white coats with big nets - they kept their distance for now. I enjoy the looks I get, almost as good as those I used to get with the MOPP suit. Of course, here I will not have to find ways to artificially create heat - it is already getting warm. Do you know of any charities that would be interested in matching whatever I can raise here? Do you know of any media that would be interested in this event from both a sports as well as a human interest angle? Maybe if someone printed the story, a charity might get wind of the event and help me win their hearts and minds - or else! This place, our base, was once one of Saddam's premier air bases. There are big hangers, bunkers, and several inoperable aircraft sitting around, including some Mig fighters the Russians sold him. There are also some bombs that are so big that the Iraqis did not have a plane capable of delivering them! There are bunkers stacked to the cielings with bombs - about 20 kilotons worth, or more explosive power than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There is a lake next to the base, which for years was Saddam's exclusive fishing pond. Now the people use it. I have to go - will write again later - run run run....

Curt Maples: MaplesWC@1fssgdm.usmc.mil


April 2, 2004

If the Badwater Family clicks on this link http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/00C7B71D9FB10E6585256E6A006133C3?opendocument, they will see the Major doing what he does best - not running, but making a fool of himself! As opposed to the Badwater 'Fool's Parade' The Taqaddum 135 will only feature one fool - ME. I am pretty fired up about it. We've had a dust storm and high winds the past couple of days. The flak vest/plates weigh a lot, so they actually help me fight through the wind a little better. I will have to buy some new shoes before long - mine are wearing out, and were not really designed for running on pavement (Montrails). I will have my wife send me a couple of big cans of Cytomax, Metabolol, etc. There is plenty of food here, and non-alcoholic beer - all the big drinkers have resorted to drinking Listerine (I don't know how they do it!). I usually go on the wagon before Badwater anyway, so its no big deal for me. Things are fairly hectic over here, and will be for the next several days. Its going to go hard for the bad guys: Hell is coming, and the Marines are coming with it! Anyway, I will keep up the updates on everything. Thanks again, and say hello to everyone for me!

Curt Maples


May 12, 2004

Greetings!

Still here!  I am getting in good training these days:  I run around 10 miles per day with my interceptor vest and often with fleece or sweats.  This would not be that significant other than that it is already over 100 degrees.  Some of my seniors are worried that I will have a heat stroke (We've already had a couple of these but it should be noted that they were way out of shape or not hydrated).  I have attempted with some success, to explain that I must not only train physically, but also mentally, in order to perform over extreme distances in extreme conditions.  We are frequently buffeted by sandstorms and high winds.  I train in spite of them, and explain that you never no what you will get on race day, and we generally don't cancel races on account of bad weather or generally unpleasant conditions.  I also walk at least 4 miles a day, and will be going to two a days within the next week.  This should bump me up to nearly 20 miles per day between walking and running. There was an article, the same one that is on the USMC website, in the Camp Pendleton paper, "The Scout" about my event, and, barring a snowstorm in Hades, I'll be running at 1700, 12 July, Baghdad time.

As for the action, things were intense for a while but have settled down a lot in the past week.  Of some note are the Iraqi workers:  We have locals who come on the base to perform labor - fill sandbags, set up tents, etc.. They find the Major, running out in the heat a curiosity.  I always let out a really loud 'rebel yell' when I go past, which tends to frighten them - one of them jumped into a ditch when I yelled, probably fearing that the angry looking man in the gray fleece was going to hurt him.  Well, now they have been Maplelized:  Whenever I run by now, they line the road, clap, cheer, and give me the thumbs up.  I tried to explain through an interpreter what I was training for and how it would help their communities, but I don't know if they understood.  Probably the best way people can help in this effort is this.  Avoid sending money, as there are a lot of rules for how it is handled and I have no way to cash a check.  If people want to donate via check, there are a number of organizations that are set up to help the Iraqi children - just mention the connection to my event.  

What we would prefer is to donate school supplies (notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, coloring books, etc..) or Frisbees/soccer balls, etc.. by sending them here to my address. I will ensure they are distributed properly to the local children.

My address:

Major W.C. Maples  CE G3
1st FSSG HQSVC Bn, HQ Company
UIC 42095
FPO AP 96426-2095

Please say hello to the Badwater Family for me - it always cheers me up to hear from them!  Thanks again for all your support and for keeping Badwater going!

Curt Maples, Major USMC (Note, as of August 23, 2004, Curt is headed home shortly, so do not send anymore school supplies.)


May 25, 2004

Greetings!

Mail usually takes about two weeks to get here, sometimes longer. I had to order a new pair of Montrails - mine are worn out.  My wife is also sending a 3 new pair of Thorlo socks - the only kind I run in.  I am starting to get some great offers of support with regards to people sending school supplies, frisbees, soccer balls, kids clothes, etc..  People should not send checks, as I have no way of cashing them or using them, and I certainly do not recommend sending cash.  

Things have settled down a lot, at least in our neck of the woods.  Still some activity around Karbala, as they are reporting in the news, but some of the previous 'hot spots' have cooled down.  In addition to security, I also work to acquire various security devices, one of which is called a Phraselator.  This is a really cool gadget:  You speak English into it, and it spits out Arabic, or whatever language has been programed.  Although you cannot really carry on a conversation, you can build literally hundreds of phrases, primarily questions/instructions - "Come with me if you want to live." or "I'll be back.", my best Arnold Schwarzenegar lines.  Of course, since I cannot personally program a VCR, I will leave it to someone with better technical skills to program the devices, otherwise, I might say something inappropriate.

You may have heard something about Camel Spiders - they are not technically spiders, but are arachnids.  They get big, maybe 6 inches or longer, and can run about 10 miles an hour for short distances.  They are also aggressive, but the bite, although painful, is not toxic.

I am still running amok in my flak jacket almost everyday.  One day last week, I ran without the flak jacket and ran faster than I have in a long time - I held a 6 minute per mile pace for 10 miles in 100 degree heat.  I guess when you are used to running with nearly 20 extra pounds, especially when that 20 pounds does not 'breathe', and you run without it, you fly!  The wind around here is worse than the heat:  It blows almost every day, which makes my daily runs a little bit harder, both physically and mentally.  Not much else to report other than that.  I hope all is well on that end - say hello for me!

Curt Maples


May 29, 2004 (Note, as of August 23, 2004, Curt is headed home shortly, so do not send anymore school supplies.)

Greetings and salutations!

Things are still progressing well here - some activity but nothing to get too worked up about.  If you could please pass my address out to anyone who would like to donate to help the kids around here - they need it.

Major Maples, W.C.  CE G3
1FSSG, HQSVC Bn, HQ Co
UIC 42095
FPO AP 96426-2095

Items:

  • School supplies - spiral-type notebooks, crayons, pencils, coloring books, folders, notebook paper, etc.
  • Soccer balls/Frisbees
  • Kids' clothing - t-shirts/socks

Really anything people can send will help.  Division is also asking for my help, so I need to gather as much as I can.  Maybe we can do something to help these kids who have the misfortune to be caught up in all this mess!  Thanks again!

Curt Maples


July 5, 2004

Greetings and salutations!

I received my race number yesterday and will proudly wear it for the duration of my run. I have some really good photographers who will be there with cameras to record my trek and they will send it your way. Training is pretty much over with, and I am just trying to stay loose and used to the heat now. I think I am the best prepared I have ever been: My daily mileage for the past few months has averaged 12 miles of running and another 4 of power walking every day - I have only missed this routine once in the past 2 months, and often ran 14-15 miles per day during June, so I have the best training base I've ever had. I am also better trained for the heat: Back home, I either had to run with a ski parka, fleece, or my MOPP gear, or drive out to the desert: Here, I am in it all the time, so I am quite used to it. No nagging injuries. I have cut down to about 142 pounds from 150 in past years. My daily runs produce no fatigue at all. I am highly confident that this will be a good run - cautiously optimistic!

My running plan is this: I am starting at 1700 local time - 0600 in Death Valley, 12 July. I will hold a scorching 5 mile an hour pace for the first 3 hours. Then, as the temperature drops, I will speed up to a 6 mile an hour pace. My intent is to hold this for 8 hours, then do another 4 hours at a 5 mile an hour pace. This will put me at the 15 hour point with around 80 miles under my belt. From there, I start walking. I will slow to 4.5 miles an hour for the next two hours, then slow to 4, and hold this moderately fast walking pace until I hit 100 miles. From there, if I am on schedule, I'll be around 100 miles, and will slow to a 3.5 mph pace, which I will hold either to the end, or, perhaps I will try to trot the last few miles. If my stomach holds up, I think I can hold this pace - It is pancake flat and I have no other runners to pull me away from my plan. I think I can do it. I am attaching some photos - my photographers are sending these to American Morning, a newspaper insert - they are doing a story on military people here and may have me on the cover. During this photo shoot, we were on the receiving end of a 122mm rocket attack. One of them hit about 100-150 yards away from us. After the debris stopped falling, I resumed my run - "shaken but not stirred!' I would not give the insurgents the satisfaction of scaring me, and I still have nothing but contempt for them! The one picture of me pointing at something is the remains of the rocket sticking out of the ground. Notice my hat!

The donations are starting to arrive and I am very grateful for this - I know the local children will appreciate this. During recent visit to a local village, an Improvised Explosive Device was found, along with some other weapons. These were destroyed, our Marines distributed soccer balls and candy to the kids, and a good time was had by all! Thanks again for all you do!

Curt Maples

Click here to see a new slideshow of Curt training in Iraq.


July 9, 2004

Greetings!

I am coming into the final days before the event, as you are there. We got some more rockets last night - I'm going to be really mad if they interrupt my run with their stupid rockets! If we do have some sort of attack, we will stop the clock and I will restart it when the debris stops falling! The insurgents are not the only thing you have to worry about around here.

Last night I found a scorpion on the floor next to my cot - some of the local species are quite venomous, but I do not know if this was one of the more dangerous types. It was not nearly as big as the one I saw at Stovepipe Wells Village on the wall of my hotel room in 2000.

The night before, I woke up after hearing something moving around, looked around with a flashlight, found nothing, and went back to sleep. This happened a few more times until I got up and turned on the light, and I was treated to the sight of a rat the size of a small possum running along the base of the wall by my cot. I tried to shoot him with a blow gun that I made out of a piece of plastic pipe (Uses nails for darts), but missed. I did not think shooting him with my pistol would be such a great idea, as the room's walls are constructed of concrete and I would have had a tough time explaining how I got shot by my own gun while trying to kill a rat. The rat jumped up on my cot and was hiding amongst the coverings, which I stripped away, hoping to at least smack him with the plastic pipe. The rat managed to jump away and flee through a hole in the wall.

It is probably just as well that I did not hit him with the pipe, as he probably would have gotten mad and taken a hunk out of me. He'd been helping himself to some cookies/chips from home, which I placed in the next room before going back to sleep. If the rat had been wearing a turban, he might have been mistaken for bin laden! At any rate, there is never a dull moment here. Thanks again!

Curt Maples


July 16, 2004:

Greetings Chris!

Congratulations on running another superb event - sounds like an exciting race right up to the end this year. Please pass my congratulations on to Dean Kanarzes on a job well done, as well as all the other runners and crews who had the sand to step up to that starting line. I actually checked the site a couple of times during my run here at the end of some of my laps.

I had an interesting run on this end. I ran well for the first 4 laps (11.5 miles per lap) then suffered from a brief bout of Mapleitis, losing about a half a gallon of fluid in the process. I felt better, but losing that much liquid at a time is sort of a shock to the system, so I took a 40 minute break and ate a Popsicle. I then started off again, walking a couple of miles, then picking it back up to a slow run. I continued running without incident until we got hit with a rocket attack. As usual, the bad guys did not actually hit anything or hurt anyone, but we had to shut things down until the 'all clear' was sounded. As this was not a voluntary stop, we were not penalized for the time, 2 hours and 40 minutes, and adjusted the clock accordingly. The bad thing was that this was in the morning when it was still relatively cool, and I would have gotten in another lap at a run, but by the time I had finished that one, it was getting hot and I had gone over 70 miles, so I shifted to a power walk.

I hit the 100 mile point in 25 hours and 20 minutes, and my General came out to talk to me at the 103 mile point, as they were concerned that I might die on them. I told him I was fine and that he ought to allow me to finish, so he did. I power walked up to the last mile or so, then took the Texas flag and started running. I managed to cross the finish line in 37:59 at a dead sprint. I did not get a single blister, but my feet are a little sore from the pounding.

Badwater is a tougher course than what I ran here: It has Townes Pass, Father Crowley's grade, and the road up to Whitney Portal, whereas my course was pretty flat. Also, I'll bet it was hotter there. We did figure out two notables for the books: We think this was the first ultra marathon ever run in Iraq and, it is the only ultra ever conducted under fire. All the same, I wish I had been there to run with my friend and family in Death Valley, and will be there with everyone next year. I appreciate all of the outstanding support and encouragement, as well as the donations for the Iraqi children.

Thanks again! - Curt Maples

Note: For the first of four slideshows posted of Curt's run within the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon webcast, click here.


August 23, 2004:

Greetings!

Things are winding down here - I should be home in a couple of weeks.  My replacement got in about a week ago, so I don't have a whole lot to do- just tying up loose ends, finishing reports, that type of stuff.  I am still conducting my training in the heat of the afternoon - it was about 112 today.  That is the 'official' temperature, but all the other thermometers on base read a lot higher than that.  The weather guys can never give you a straight answer - the temperature in plain old degrees fahrenheit.  Instead they try to throw in all these variables/heat index, wind effect, etc..  I don't need them to tell me its hot!  The new guys around here are intertaining for a few days at least:  Everytime someone slams the porta-john door too hard, they think we are under attack and run around like idiots.  It gets old fast as you can imagine.  I will not be too sad if I do not come back here between now and my retirement, now less than two years away.  When I come out to Death Valley in 2006, I will be on 'terminal leave' and my run in 2007 will be as W.C. Maples, Major USMC(retired).  I am headed back to my hovel for the evening - my pet rat is probably waiting for me to give him a graham cracker.  He shows up every few nights for a visit.  I was toying with the idea of running Angeles Crest, but I think my wife would get mad and kill me.  Cuyamaca 50k usually goes in October, but part of the course was scorched last year in a big fire, so I don't know if it will run this year or not.  I am going to try to get my wife to run the High Desert Classic this year - it runs out in Ridgecrest and always has a bunch of Badwater veterans.  Anyway, that was kind of Mr. Mendes to mention my efforts over here - he forgot to mention that I am stomp down crazy, but this everyone already knows.  In the next few days, we will be sending you some pictures of the many donations I have received, in large part to your assistance in getting the word out.  Take care and thanks for staying in touch!

Curt


August 23, 2004

Greetings!

Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who think that the quick plane ride home is worse than the slow boat.  A boat ride home took a while, but it allowed the soldiers time to de-compress.  This was true in WWII and even Korea in a lot of cases, but this changed during Vietnam, and has been the same ever since.  This lack of de-compression time may actually make homecomings more traumatic for some people, so they are requiring everyone to attend briefs to help with the transition.  I personally don't feel a lot of stress or anything like that, and I am personally happy about the quick plane ride.  Travelling on a U.S. Naval vessel is not exactly Carnival Cruise lines - I spent 6 months on the USS Tarawa back in the late '80's.  I am retiring in 2 years, which will give me 20 years active duty.  This was always the plan, regardless of my rank.  Even if the Marines got crazy and decided to promote me, I would still retire on schedule.  I am not sure of my next career.  My plans right now are to sell my house there in CA, take the profit, and buy my family some land, 20-30 acres, and a house in East Texas, and live a quiet life.  I'll probably run a few cattle, and will find some sort of job to suppliment my retirement income, but I have no desire at all to work some 80 hour a week corporate job.  I don't know exactly what I will do, but I have already ruled out anything that involves me having to sit in a cubicle/office, parked in front of a computer, attending meetings, etc... I might end up being a greeter at Walmart!  I like people, but detest crowds/traffic, and will not live or work in a city/suberb - I grew up in Dallas and would not live there for all the tea in China.  There are several small cities/large towns in E. Texas with about 30,000 people, which is plenty big enough.  One thing I plan to do is have my books published.  If they sell, maybe I could write for a living - writing is my other hobby.  I have no aversion to hard work, but I am determined to live in a quiet, wholesome setting and find a career/job doing something I really enjoy that will allow me plenty of time with my family - I have missed out on a lot in the last several years.  Wherever I live, if things work out and I get that land, I'll make a running trail just like I did here - by running the same path everyday.  I anticipate more time to run at least and have no plans to retire from running ultras!  Things will workout.

Curt      


August 24, 2004

Greetings!

Today’s run featured about 115 degrees and a man-made sandstorm.  I had been running out on my trail for about an hour when a large cargo helicopter flew over to an area about a quarter of a mile upwind of me and started doing touch downs, which stirs up the talcum powder-like dust.  Well, with all of the sweat, after a few minutes, I had so much dust on me I looked like a human sugar cookie.  I have no doubt the pilots saw me and had themselves a fine old time covering me with dust.  Well, it was no worse than the many sandstorms I’ve run through in the past 7 months, so I guess it was no big deal after all.   The school supplies have been great and I figure to get several more boxes before my departure.  The ones that arrive late will still be distributed.  I have to head back to feed the rat – he didn’t show up last night, so he’ll probably be around tonight for his snack!  Most of the new people rotating over to our unit heard/read about the big run and it only confirmed their suspicions about me.  I encouraged them to set a similar goal, as it will help pass the time.  Its funny, but this deployment really did go by pretty fast.  It seems like yesterday that it was the Friday before the Superbowl and we were getting on a plane to come over here:  We missed half of Winter, all of Spring, and most of the Summer, several birthdays, Badwater, my anniversary, all of little league baseball season, and scout camp.  I have a lot to make up when I get home!  I will give you a yell before I head back.

Curt


September 2, 2004

Greetings!

This will be my final call from Iraq, as we are leaving soon.  I want to thank you and extend that thanks to all of the folks out there who have been so supportive over the past several months – it really makes a difference!  Additionally, I have now received over 60 boxes of school supplies and other items for the Iraqi children in this area.  Those contributions will go towards building a better future for these children as they grow up to take their part in a new, better Iraqi society.  My home e-mail is WJameniram @ cs.com for anyone who wants to give me a yell after I get home in a few days.  Thanks again!

Curt Maples  


2004 Reports about "Baghdad Badwater"

Marine to go the distance for Iraqis, self in extreme foot race
1st FSSG Marine braves heat, rocket attack to finish 135-mile race in less than 38 hours by Sgt. Matt Epright
Major Curt Maples with 52 boxes of School Supplies for Iraqi School Children