Getting it right

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!The following link was sent to me by a new-found friend that I met through BooksforSoldiers.com and whom has sent me a lot of stuff already. She and I also chat via email frequently. This Air Force guys gets it right and says it right. I don’t know of any way to put his topic in better terms. The second link is a person’s editorial response. Good for them too. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/04/AR2006070400790.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/07/AR2006070701192.html

The harsh reality of war

Despite all the happy, feel good things we do like building roads, bringing school supplies to kids, building wells, and putting money into clinics the bottom line is we are fighting a war over here whether anyone believes it or not. Just look at the DOD notice website for the last month. US forces here have lost almost 2-3 soldiers a week here in Afghanistan over the last 6 weeks alone. Of course if you follow the media and listen to what they say you would never know there was a war here. The coverage makes it look like everything is hunky-dory except for some riots in Kabul over an accident. Scott’s BLOG is a great insight into the daily happenings here. I am so glad he is free to document some of the real things that happen here also. As I mentioned before we always roll out of the wire with the thought that every SOB in this country wants to kill us. It does not matter how much they wave, smile or say Tashakor (thank you) we have to believe they would all shoot us if they had the chance. Comlacency kills as is often stated here. We have to take different routes, change schedules, and vary activities because if you fall into a rhythm then you could get killed. This reality of serving here has made itself very visible in the last few days. On July 5th our Task Force lost its first ETT member in a … Continue reading

Fourth of July in A-stan

Holidays don’t seem to mean as much when you cannot be home to enjoy them, and this July 4th was not much different. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the meaning of the holiday means a lot and maybe its intention is more poignant being over here. But the celebration just isn’t the same. It was the same way when I was in Korea or even during the first Gulf War. Birthdays, Christmas, etc. are just days, and are just another day wherever you are. There were some activities planned for by our Brigade staff like tug of war, ping pong, horseshoes, movie night, etc, etc. None of which any person of our team participated in. To us, we are still at war over here, and not at Annual Training. We chilled for most of the day and took it low op-tempo but still kept with war fighting tasks. I think everyone slept in, and some stayed in civvy clothes or PT uniform all day until they had to get in ACUs. Some guys re-arranged or just cleaned their rooms. Others surfed the web and caught up on email. I took the day to put up two flag poles. There is no rope on our big flag pole that is on top of the latrine, so I found a pipe and zip-tied an American Flag to it and then Zip-tied that pole to the 2×4 that holds up our air conditioner. I figured it was July 4th, and by damn … Continue reading

A little mission story

We went on a little mission the other night, and because it was a couple of days ago I will now write about it. It was an operation to snatch up or kill some bad guys that were supposedly planning to attack our FOB. The mission was a success, but we only caught one bad guy. He was definitely bad so at least we got him off the streets and hopefully we delayed or disrupted the attack. Those missions are always nerve-wracking as you never know what will happen. Will it be a dry-hole and have nothing there or will it turn into a Black Hawk Down Part II? The intel was questionable based on where it came from, and you never know if that intel gets to us to really help us or to bait us into an ambush. Based on several facts, the ambush was a high concern. The area was unknown to us and we had to rely on a local to guide us there. But the bottom line was that the intel was not a trap and we got at least one bad guy with no shots fired. It was also nice that it was a night operation. We Americans like night ops because of our technology we like to say “we own the night”. We can see, shoot and operate better at night than anyone else. So that is a little insight into the types of things we do. Troy

Medevac

What and interesting 12 hours I have had. Last night while trying to finally watch the movie, Hart’s War which I have had for well over a year but never watched I was interrupted to get some things ready as we thought it was going to get exciting here in the middle of the night. So after getting some vehicles and equipment ready I finally got back to my movie well after midnight. I watched the rest of my movie and then got to bed close to 0230 in the AM. This morning I was woken by CPT T to ask me if I could get up and help him setup an LZ (landing zone) for a MEDEVAC. I asked him who needed a medevac and he told me that it was for an ANA soldier that apparently had shot himself in the knee with his AK-47 while trying to clean it. It seems the standard of clear your weapon as the first step in cleaning it has not quite been grasped by the ANA yet. So I got up very tired and without even having a cup of coffee, I had to throw on some clothes (apologies to anyone watching my cam at that time as I forgot it was on ). So I got dressed, grabbed my gear, weapon, a VS-17 marking panel and a smoke grenade. CPT T, Aziz the terp, and myself grabbed a truck, confirmed the freq for the radio and then went to recon … Continue reading

Getting Settled

Well we have been here in FOB Sharana for a few days now and finally am starting to get settled in. Yesterday we took all the outgoing guys from the 4.0 rotation who are heading home up to the FOB where our CORPS HQ is so they can process out and work their way back home to the world, where their families, friends and loved ones are waiting for them. They have done their time and now it is time for them to go home. Something I cannot wait for in 11 months, but I will have to as that is to long away now to even think about right now. Anyway, since those guys left it opened up some room here and let us all get moved around so we can finally get unpacked and settled. The Puss, The Prophet and myself are all living together, which is fine since we were all together in Gardez and Orgun-E with 3/2. Now that we are in 4/2 together it only makes sense to stay together since we have all developed that bond together. By the way, in case you are curious Puss is Short for Big Pussy, which was a character on the Sopranos that SFC C reminds us of. Since he is a big Sopranos fan and he reminds us of that character, we call him Puss. Prophet is SFC S, who was marked with that nickname by me because he is able to predict most things before they … Continue reading

Something we could use, PART II

In order to help people with ideas, here are some of the items we have to cook with and some examples of the types of food we get to cook. We have a couple of Propane Gas burners, a microwave, and a huge brick-built outdoor wood grill. We also have several Fridge’s, a chest freezer and a walk in refer-conex. Some of the food we get to cook is 1 GAL canned staples like restaurants have (canned carrots, green beans, zuccini&tomatoes, corn, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, fruit cocktail, etc.), we also have dried pasta, frozen pies, rice-a-roni, cornbread mix, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, steaks, ribs, meatballs, and other pre-made stuff. Wave some spices like garlic powder, cheyenne pepper, salt/pepper, mrs. dash, and a few others. I hope this helps some in coming up with ideas.

Something we could use

As you may know, I am in a new FOB that is primitive and requires us to cook for ourselves. We are able to get food from another FOB down the road that has a Dining Facility, but we have to come up with recipes and creativity on our own. Something that would be great to get, and give us your personal touch would be spices, shippable ingredients, and favorite recipes. Probably not anything too elaborate or something that cannot have ingredients substituted with other items that we would have. If you have a favorite recipe that you think we would all like and that we could make, that would be a great personal touch from you. Myself and one other guy are pretty good cooks and have done it for a long time, however I know many people have time-tested recipes that will knock your socks off and are easy to make. This could be breakfast or dinner items. Test us out, see if we have what it takes to make it and the skills to do it. I will gladly update you with how well it was received. So to my family and friends the challenge is throw down. Send me those recipes in either regular mail or email at troysteward@yahoo.com, and if you have any good spices, non-perishable ingredients, etc, I will take them too. Keep in mind that we share who cooks for the entire FOB, so we are talking for about 50 people. Troy

Moving Day

Well today was moving day. Myself and two of my NY NCOs moved from Orgun-E to Sharona. The guys showed up about 11 AM to get us. Once we chatted for a little bit, we started packing all our stuff in the trailer and Hummers. It has rained a little but every day for the last 4 days, but not much. Just a little shower for 4-5 minutes and that is it. Today it decided to pour for about 10 minutes and of course it did it right when we were loading everything. Luckily we had just about everything wrapped in plastic trash bags because of the dust that would get into everything on the roads. So everything was wrapped and dry, but we got soaked. About the time we finished packing the rain stopped. After everything was packed we took the guys from Sharona to the mess hall for lunch. See, up at Sharona there is no mess hall, so they have to cook all their own meals. This was a chance to be served and sit down and enjoy a lunch. After lunch, some of them hit the PX which is only open 3 hours a day for 3 days of the week. Since they came and got us today, they were able to visit the PX and stock up on Skoal, Copenhagen and cigarettes. By the time we left the hot Afghan sun had already dried out the roads and they were back to being dusty as … Continue reading

When Vehicles go bad….

A few days ago, our ANA had to escort some Ministry of Defense personnel to another town a few hours away. So I loaded up a company of ANA and two of the new Rotation V guys to run this little convoy up the road, grab some supplies that would be at this area along with another new guy and then come back. The whole mission should not have taken more than 6 hours tops. Well on the way through this mountain pass, I noticed the ANA driving slower than normal which was nice because normally they drive like their butts are on fire and someone is putting Tabasco on it to try and put out the flames. It was a good thing they were going slow because as we were getting through the windy pass that I noticed my HUMMER starting to make some weird noises as I gave it gas. At first I though the transmission was acting up and that scared me because there is no way to recover that without a wrecker and we were several hours from any US wrecker. But then I noticed the steering getting very unresponsive and not turning. I was thinking either broken tie rod or power steering pump going out. Finally I stopped and got out, and noticed that some puddles of fluid were building underneath the truck. I opened the hood while the ANA started to gather around me and saw fluid sprayed everywhere underneath the hood with hissing … Continue reading