DIYALA PROVINCE — North Carolina National Guard Soldiers have had almost five months to get used to life in Iraq. One adjustment they have had to make is figuring out how to get a decent haircut. They did not have to look far.
At a tiny barber shop set up outside Camp Cobra, soldiers with the 30th Heavy Separate Brigade keep their hair cut within military regulations with the help of a local barber.
Mazin Ali made his way to the camp after a few too many close shaves with insurgents in Baghdad for very little money.
"It's very easy, just walk next door. He does a good job," Spc. Ronnie Morgan of Moore County said.
Ali's skills with a set of clippers have become well known among the ranks of the 30th Brigade.
"It's a lot easier than having to go shave your head in the mirror," said Spc. Tommy Lowe of Moore County.
The shop is a money maker for Ali and a bargain for troops.
Ali says before setting up shop he was making about $5 a day. Now, he charges $3 a cut and makes a few extra dollars in tips. Ali has about 20 to 30 customers a day.
"I think I'll come back. I think he's cheaper than the guys I get my hair cut at," Sgt. Richard Ross said.
Stateside, the haircuts would cost between $10 to $15.
Ali was a barber for eight years in Baghdad. He says his uncle taught him the ropes.