Alright ladies and gents. There are a million other things I need to be doing right now besides this. But what the hell, I might as well let everyone know what is going on. First off, a little disclaimer. In no way shape or form to I speak on behalf of the United States Military, the Army National Guard, or any other government agency. Having said that, let’s move on to business.

This is the condensed version since I really don’t have time to be doing this. I am getting deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom withth roughly 2,500 other Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers. My deployment starts this Wednesday, Oct 5. The end date is unknown at this time. Unless something drastically changes, it will probably be sometime around the spring of 2007. This is the largest deployment for my division since WWII.If you want news story on all this with a lot more facts, click here. Another press release is right here and gives some details on my brigade and what we’ll be going through. Just FYI, we won’t be going to Iraq until early next year. We have a few months of state-side training first, so don’t think I’m going straight into a war zone.

I’m sorry that I’m not going to talk to everyone that I would like before I leave. Don’t take it personally. This is my first deployment and I’m doing everything that I can to get ready. Just when you think you have most everything taken care of, a million other things pop up.

Just FYI, I was NOT receiving any emails via my website for the last few months. My host changed some settings and didn’t tell me. How nice of them. You CAN contact me via the website now. Although I will have to check it through my Army email now, I can still check any email you send, so send away. I have created a weblog that I will hopefully be able to post to over the deployment so people can keep up with me. It is appropriately called Lumberjack In a Desert. Just because I haven’t posted in a while doesn’t mean something happened. Due to training and missions, I may be away from a computer for days or even weeks, so please just try to be patient.

This summer has been probably the greatest competition summer of my life. I remained undefeated the entire summer in log rolling. I won my 14th medal at the Great Outdoor Games and tied for the most medals ever won there. I won an ESPY Award. Hell, I even got to be in a movie and log roll Steve Martin. Other than winning the lottery, what more could I guy ask for? Talk about a summer to remember for the rest of my life.

I believe the good memories you have in life will help you get through the bad times. I’m hoping the deployment goes smoothly, but if stuff goes bad, I have something to fall back on to get me through it. For all of you that were a part of this last summer, thank you. My family, friends, fellow competitors, ESPN and Fox, thanks for the memories.

When I return in 2007, we’ll make a few more.

~J.R. Salzman 

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