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Today was even a bigger mail day than before. I received several postcards, envelopes with items in them and a total of twelve (12) boxes today. Ten of them were from wonderful people associated with Books for Soldiers, one was from family and one was from my good buddy Jon W. in the big D (Dallas TX). In a previous post I talked about the Books for Soldiers website and referred to the people that sent me stuff from there as complete strangers. I now think that was not the right choice of words. I would not call them complete strangers, but instead as good friends I have not met yet. The whole team got a ton of stuff today from those boxes. Movies, magazines, books, food of every type, spices, cooking utensils, stickers, magnets, calendars, post cards, and on, and on, and on. I have some pics of before box opening and after-box opening in the pictures section.
See the reason I got so many at one time, is apparently in Baghram Airfield (BAF) which is the main incoming/outgoing point for country, and where all mail comes into country at the mail was held up. The official word is that they were throwing mail into a conex waiting for enough to build up to push it forward and they either forgot about a conex they had full … Continue reading
I just wanted to send an update on where we are and what we need and don’t need. We are good on the flav-o-ice Popsicle things. We have over a 100 that are not even in freezers because the freezers are full. No more need for them right now. We are also pretty good on the small 1 oz bottles of hand sanitizer. We don’t need pop-tarts as we get lots of them through regular channels. I know some people want to make sure they send stuff that is needed and I don’t want people wasting money on things we don’t or on shipping costs when they don’t need to. I hope this list helps.
Some things we could use are:
1. Pancake mix that only needs water
2. long oven mitts that go up to the elbow. ( our outdoor grill is big and we are steadily losing all hair below the elbow).
3. cans of cheez-it. That non-refridgeration needed canned cheese.
4. sliced pepperoni
5. of course spices, recipes, etc like that
6. plasticware of spoons.
7. canned air for computers and weapons
8. one a day vitamins for men
9. Chewable Vitamin C
10. Gold Bond Foot Powder and the body powder
11. lens paper and lens cleaner for optics, scopes, goggles, Ballistic glasses and night vision devices
The start of my day yesterday was early, and the ending was late. In the middle was boring and relaxing at the same time. For OPSEC reasons I have to keep this pretty sterile and will try to do that but get the message across.
The day started at 0300 AM for an early mission start. We had to go out with a large force and look for some bad guys that we heard about. The mission was a bust because the guys (idiots) that were supposed to take us there got lost and we went to the wrong mud huts. Of course the wonderfully smart and experienced ANP (NOT!!) decided to search these kulats anyway and in order to save face PUCed a guy (PUC means Person Under Confinement, i.e. arrest) because he had two weapons in his home which were legal. But they could not go back empty handed so they had to come back with someone. Arenâ€™t you glad our country has laws against such idiocy. Regardless of that FUBAR mission, we did do one good thing. There was a small girl with burns over 30% of her body from something, so we convinced the ANA to give up a truck and run her and her parents into the hospital. We put some burn bandages on her and I gave her a little beanie baby that my brother and his family sent me for the kids over here. After that they whisked her away and … Continue reading
The words spoken by many a First Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant in the history of the Army. I have always said to many of my US soldiers during my career and to the Afghan NCOs more recently that it does not matter what country a soldier is from there are only a few things that motivate a soldier and keeps them happy in the worse of conditions. Those are good hot chow, being paid, time off, and mail call. Of course the latter of those is more important to US soldiers who have a mail system than it is for Afghans who really donâ€™t have a mail system.
Earlier tonight I put up a post, but after I heard those words MAIL CALL, I had to drop one more post tonight. I have been expecting some mail for a while because of all the emails, IMs, and postings on booksforsoldiers.com that I have seen which said boxes were on the way. Mail has been delayed the last few days because of some shots taken at a helicopter recently.
So tonight it rained and poured those red, white, and blue flat rate boxes from our beloved USPS. I personally received 7 boxes and about 5 letters/cards. The ironic thing is that our of 7 boxes, only one was from my family. The rest were from a bunch of wonderful people that are members of Booksforsoldiers.com, that I have never … Continue reading
The Afghanistan calendar is a little bit different than ours. Their week starts on a Saturday, which means Friday is their â€œSundayâ€ and Thursday night is our â€œSaturday nightâ€. What I mean by that is that just like Saturday night is the night a lot of people go out, party, or do whatever, that is what they do on Thursday night. Friday is our down day as they use it to relax, clean weapons, barracks, catch up on laundry, go downtown to buy things or even use that day to take off and head home on leave.
Just as in our country, where Saturday nights mean parties, drunks on the road and weird things happening in nightclubs and house parties, the same is going on here. This has caused us to nickname â€œThursday Night Man Love nightâ€. We love to joke with our terps about this and mess with each other when it is a Thursday. When I say â€œmess with each otherâ€ we will joke like â€œhey are you getting dressed up tonight, because you know it is Thursday?â€ or something like, â€œhey, is your terp coming by for a meeting tonight, because it is Thursday?â€.
It does not matter what the Koran says about homosexuality, it is rampant here. Just like in the US where people ignore the bible where it talks homosexuality, and still practice it and practice their faith. According to my terp Aziz, this southern area of A-stan if very heavy in homosexual … Continue reading
Not much of a day today, pretty quiet all around. I am sure that is something my family likes to hear. Had a lot of paperwork to catch up on with the terps and all. The terps are allowed 4 days off a month to go home, but since we are so far from Kabul where they all live 4 days is not enough when they have to bum rides with the ANA to get back there. So we combine their 4 days per month together from a 2 month stay of 8 days. Yesterday I had to sit down with them all and pencil on a calendar who was going when and all of those details. So today I had to build a calendar and spreadsheet to track all of that. It is a pain because we have to track for which month they take their for days. We are also putting together some training plans for the ANA so I had to work on that also.
I did have a good meeting with the Zabita Kandak (that is Dari for Command Sergeant Major) whom I mentor. He just got back from Emergency Leave in Kabul a few days ago so we have not had a chance to meet yet. He and I walked around the FOB and talked about a variety of issues. For me it was like DÃ©jÃ vu since the things we talked about where just about identical to the things I talked to the … Continue reading
This is a just an FYI entry to let all who read this know there are much easier way to read blogs, like via RSS readers. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, and has been a technology available for a while (originally developed by Netscape) but just not real popular until the last couple of years. I know many like to come to my site to see the webcam and the pics so this tip may not be for you. But if you would like to know when I update this Afghan Blog, you can either use your existing RSS Reader, download many of the free ones out on the internet or add this to the content of something like your Yahoo personalized page. The URL to get this blog via RSS is http://www.bouhammer.com/nucleus/afghanrss.php
You can also check out that cool site I mentioned before called at www.milblogging.com. My site is registered there and when I update the blog here, it also updates the entry on that site also.
RSS is great for people who follow a lot of blogs or just like to have updates to websites delivered to them rather than going to each one and reading it. For example, in my RSS feeds I have latest Yahoo Buffalo Bills news, latest Buffalo Sabres news, latest updates from foxnews.com, latest updates from Scottâ€™s blog that I have talked about here, and the … Continue reading
Yesterday I mentioned a big mission today, and even though it was important, it was very boring. We had an early start so we could be in place for todayâ€™s big meeting. See, the Governor of this province wanted to have what was essentially a fireside chat with all the big Mullahs of this province. This has been planned, but we did not find out until yesterday. Needless to say we were not that happy as it required a lot of last minute planning on our part and did not give the ANA a lot of time to work on their own mission planning and prep.
With this kind of audience, it makes this place a high-priority target for the bad guys to have all the chiefs in one place essentially. So we had to lock this place down. There were lots of ANP guarding the Governors compound, including snipers (if they can really shoot) on the rooftops. The ANP also has various roadblocks and checkpoints setup. The ANA and us went out and conducted random vehicle checkpoints, hasty checkpoints, QRF, and Random Patrols. Our purpose was to be out and about and hopefully interdict any bad guys that wanted to try and infiltrate the town to attack.
I was with Scooter, SFC R and Amail our terp. I was up on the gun all day, which turned out to be a wonderful 6 hours up top, in the sun riding all over the place south of there. We … Continue reading
My good friend, I think I can call him that, CPT T from Syracuse NY has a myspace site up and is keeping a BLOG of his experiences also. He is actually just up the road (in Afghan terms) from us and should hopefully be over here with us pretty soon. Anyway, he has a BLOG at http://www.myspace.com/42094372 and is definitely an accomplished writer of such things. He puts a little more graphic content in his than I do mine, probably because I got a mom and mother-in-law that would not be able to sleep at night if I mentioned everything in this blog. Anyway, Benâ€™s BLOG is good and I think that if you like this one, you will really like his.
While I am at it, if you are finding yourself turning into a blog-aholic, I suggest checking out www.milblogging.com. It is a collection of blogs, including this one all from military members. I have this one registered mine on there and have received a few Favorite votes already. This site is a nice collection that organizes them by country, service, etc. Check it out if you want more of the real deal here in Afghanistan and in Iraq and other places around the world where there is military.
These blogs are good releases of things to talk about. It is not like we can vent to family members when usually only have a few minutes to talk with … Continue reading
When we first got here and worked alongside the guys on the ETT team that were getting ready to leave after their year here, one of the things they said was no matter how long you have been in the Army, been all around the world, or been to combatâ€¦nothing would prepare you for what you are about to see and do here. Boy were they right and we saw that early on. There is no Army regulation, doctrinal handbook, field manual or lessons learned document that can prepare you for being an ETT member. The stuff we have seen here in the last two months amazes me and the scary thing is that we have 10 months left so I cannot even imagine what those days holds for us.
I have a lot of people that read this blog whom I know, and donâ€™t know. But I see blog comments and emails from people that say they follow this blog and others like it from war zones so they can get a glimpse into what life is like here that does not make the 6PM news. So you want to know what a typical day is like here huh? First lets start by saying the word typical does not exist in our vocabulary here. We cannot conceive that word or anything related to it. Second, 75% of actions in combat are reactionary and not proactive, as that is the nature of this business.
Yesterday started out at … Continue reading