Tim Murphy Checks In From Iraq

Pictured: Predator drone plane

Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Head Coach for Harvard Football, is embarking on a week-long journey overseas to speak with men and women of the United States military as part of the Coaches Tour 2010. The purpose of the trip is to essentially provide service men and women with a break from the rigors of active duty while providing a temporary outlet of something sports-related.

Murphy is joined on the trip by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Illinois coach Ron Zook and West Point head coach Rich Ellerson. Murphy and Kelly were recently guest lecturers at the USC Coach of the Year Clinic at The Galen Center Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif. 

Murphy is contributing periodic updates about the trip and the sixth installment is below. 

On our first day in Iraq, our group is immediately struck by the "seasonal" temperatures of 120 plus degrees and dust storms at Balad Air Force Base. Despite the drawdown in Iraq, Balad still is the largest military instillation in southwest Aisa and is still on full alert. 

We appreciated that fact greatly, as we did have an isolated mortar attack nearby while conducting a touch football game at 10 p.m. Iraq time. We had the opportunity to meet, greet and sign autographs with the flight, defense and medical wings of the base and we also witnessed midnight F-16 launches and flight line operations.

We have all heard a great deal about the Predator pilotless drones and we had a chance to witness them up close and personal at the base while being tutored on their technical capabilities.

Everywhere our group has been, we have been met by warm receptions with people standing in line for up to two hours to shake hands and get an autograph and T-shirt from someone back home. It has truly been an amazing experience.

After two days in Iraq we are awaiting our 10-hour military flight to a small base in the Azores in preparation for our 10-hour flight to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day.