Monday, August 21, 2006

1/4 way done

I guess I can mark the quarter way done mark. It’s not really bad here. I have a place to sleep and hot showers and decent food, even if they can’t figure out what should go together on the menu. Like the other night lasagna and Chinese food night.

It is interesting to see how the new Army does things. To see how much computers have taken over the process we used to do with plastic sheets and grease pencils. It’s also sad to see how much time is spent on slides and briefing prep instead of analysis and collecting. The equipment is better than I had, but the loads you carry are way up. Protective armor, full battle load and weapon by themselves weigh 55 lbs. Add to that all of the gear we carried and body load can reach 150 lbs. The Hummers that were agile in the old days strain under the weight of the add on armor. They have added AC to the vehicles so you don’t roll down the windows. Gunner positions have been enclosed. The vehicles bristle with antennas to get the latest comms.

Personally it has been ups and down. Seeing the caskets go by as we stand and salute our fallen is very sad. Homesickness creeps in on occasion. We were told only two locations and very little travel. It is up to 10 or 12 locations and travel is hard to come by. For the future they should omit things from their orders they don’t stand by. It would lessen confusion and not make for hard feelings. The time frame is unsure. We were told a year, but it may end in Feb or Mar. No one has been able to say if the next group will fall in on the equipment here. If they do then no one seems to be planning to train them on the system stateside. That leaves more travel for me and a delay in getting them up to speed.

There does seem to be improvements in the country but still fighting in parts. Forces are moving into areas little touched over the past 3 years and that spurs some conflict. 10th MTN DIV (LI) is halfway through and the strain is showing, long hours, same thing is fraying nerves and personalities that back home you could leave after work are always with you. The young troops are tired and still fairly new to the Army. The older ones have maturity to fall back on but the new ones don’t have the life experience to cope sometimes. Sometimes this place is very garrison, and does things like soldier of the month boards, 10K’s, PT tests and intramural sports. But then you hear the choppers coming and going all day and night. The A-10’s going on strafing runs and prowlers flying over really low and fast. These remind you that this isn’t garrison.

That's how I see it

your Man in the STAN


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teach the young, honor the dead.

Stay safe and may God keep you in the palm of his hand.

10:08 AM  
Blogger haji-o-matic said...

Accurate assesment!

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Care-bear said...

I have always thought the picture you used, "Afghan Girl" (as the photographer called it) was one of the most awesome ever.

Tonight during a National Geographic channel program they actually found the woman and she agreed to remove her veil to be photographed once again. She was around 15 years old in the first pic, and she's in her 30's now.

It was really amazing. And it went a long, long way to show how little things have really changed for those living their lives in a refugee camp.

Powerful... very powerful.

8:53 PM  

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