But in the last year, much has changed along that nearly 5-mile stretch of road, he said.
"The Iraqi Army has really cleaned it up, taken control of it," Little, 52, said. "It's been at least a month without anything close to hostile happening there."
For Little, Route Irish is a small but important example of what he feels are the leaps and bounds the Iraqi people and government have made since he began working at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, a year ago.
"Don't get me wrong, Baghdad is a dangerous place," Little said. "But it's now a much different place than it was a year ago. It's certainly not as hostile."
Little, who graduated from Glendale High School in 1972, is scheduled to return to his San Diego home in June, after 14 months of volunteer service at the embassy.
But for now, Little will continue to work the usual 12- to 15-hour work days every day. He will continue to brush his teeth with bottled water because the running water in Iraq is not for drinking, he said. And he will continue to share a make-shift trailer ? he calls it a "metal box with tin sides" ? with one other person.
"We share a bathroom but we've got separate bedrooms," Little said. "It's got linoleum floors, the worst of the worst IKEA-type furniture, you know, particle board. But it's home."
Little, a former naval officer, first served for several months as chief of staff for the Ministry of Interior, where he focused on security efforts with the Iraqi police force.
As chief of staff, Little saw first-hand a lot of the hostility, he said.
"I was talking to my son one day, and he's 17, and we got mortared," Little said. "So I had to jump off the phone, and I bet he had a great story to tell the next day, but I could also tell he was upset by it."
Little has watched peers and Iraqis die. He has seen cars explode in front of him and has had his convoy attacked. But, "you deal with it," he said.