Okay so time for a new update, I want to start out with saying thank you for all the Easter care packages, I think I have enough peeps to last me until next year. Life has been pretty good, my deployment is now on the decline as for my time here and recent news of Bin Laden has helped comfort a lot of people. I’ll go more into detail about Bin Laden later on. It has been sometime since I last posted and I apologize this update hasn’t been sooner.
The operations have been going well, although the fighting season has officially started and more of our Squadron’s vehicles have been getting hit. Thankfully the engineers that have designed our vehicles are geniuses and they do a damn good job at keeping us safe. I have seen what IED’s can do to vehicles and it’s amazing that Soldiers can walk out without a scratch or concussion. Your tax dollars really are saving lives and helping this country.
It’s pretty crazy how Afghanistan is so connected with other countries and contracts from the United States. Not too long ago a friend from Virginia Tech informed me that her friend was going to be in Kandahar. At the time I was thinking she was probably a Soldier making her way to a FOB on the outskirts just passing through KAF. I found out it was just the opposite. This friend of a friend “Alex” was from DC and she was actually being sent to Kandahar to prepare an audit for her company. Talk about a business trip straight into a war. Alex and I were able to meet up at the boardwalk and grad a bit to eat while I was at KAF for a convoy. It was awesome to meet up with someone through a friend all the way across the world, as well as get to talk to someone the same age….thanks Maria.
I also ran into someone from my Basic Officer Course from Fort Lee at KAF. The convoy I was on had some extra time so I headed to the USO to relax and maybe take a quick nap. I dosed off and woke up to someone nudging me a couple times to find out it was another Lieutenant that I graduated with. It’s funny how no matter where you are in the world you always have the potential of running into someone you know.
Easter over here was definitely something I’ll never forget. Besides getting care packages exploding with that fake grass and stuffed with peeps it was also a true challenge. For those of you that know me ice cream is my true weakness and the fact that the FOB has ice cream here is definitely something I enjoy. So giving it up for lent was not the easiest thing.
Easter Sunday was also something new. I never went to the Easter Vigil Mass before but I decided to go. There were about 5 Soldiers and maybe 10 contractors from other countries. The priest actually caught me off guard and asked me and several other Soldiers to help out because there were so few Soldiers that showed up. After the mass was interesting, because all the contractors came up and really wanted to talk and get pictures with all the us (the Soldiers). It was nice too because the contractors are the ones that serve us our food, take care of the laundry, and complete random duties around the FOB. I always make a point to ask them how they are doing whenever I’m in line to get a meal. I think most people over look how much work they put in to make sure we the Soldiers are taken care of. Most of them could only speak broken English and it was funny because they all wanted me to visit their hometown of GOA India, which apparently is a really nice tourist area in India.
That Easter mass actually helped me realize how lucky I am to have the family and friends that I have. I really miss everyone, and I can’t wait to get back and see everyone. I thank God for the life I have because the family and friends that I have are incredible.
A couple weeks ago I heard that Gary Veynerchuk came to Virginia Tech. I have to say I was pretty excited to hear that he was coming to VT. Gary Veynerchuk is a big name in the wine world and has a lot of insight to offer in terms of wine and the economy. Last year I took the Geography of Wine course at Virginia Tech and loved it. I have to admit when I started the course I was not a fan of wine at all. The closest thing I drank was…cough.… Arbor Mist…cough…..and that was only at functions like Privates, but by the end of the year I was trying all different types and trying to describe them with friends. In fact one of my favorite things senior year was going to Boudreauxes on Wine Wednesdays. During the class though our professor had us watch clips every week from Gary Veynerchuk and we would get quizzed on the videos. Gary Veynerchuk is very enthusiastic about wine and some of the ways he describes wines are just insane. I talked the class up so much I was able to get my sister to take it this year. I really had to twist her arm….,,not really when the words wine and easy A came out of my mouth I’m pretty sure she was sold. My sister got to talk to Gary after the lecture and the next day I received a personal email from Gary Veynerchuk himself. It wasn’t much but it was pretty cool to get an email from him…Thanks Bethany!
So something new and exciting I took part in the other day was something my Mom probably wouldn’t like me doing…but it was the first time I gunned for a convoy. Officers don’t normally gun but the opportunity arose and snatched it as quick as I could before someone could tell me no. Usually for the convoy I’m the commander of a gun truck so I’m in control of all the personal and actions of that truck. In this case though I was the gunner, so I climbed up in the gunner hatch of a Maxxpro and took the M2 50 Cal. By the time we got off KAF it was pretty late but lucky for me the stars were out in full force and I had a M2 50 Cal. in front of me.……. It was awesome. The ride was incredible although I felt every single bump and my legs were pretty sore the next day, but it was definitely worth it.
OKAY so now I want to shed some light on Mr. Usama Bin Laden. I found out just as I was waking up to a new day in Afghanistan. My Laptop was right next to me after I fell asleep watching a movie, so I checked my email and saw the news all over the Internet. At this point in time all I could think about was we finally got him. I walked outside to go grab a shower and the first thing I always see when I walk out are the Pakistani Mountains that run along the border and eventual help form the Hindu Kush. That morning I didn’t think Oh there’s Pakistan, I thought wow just over those mountains less than 300 miles Northeast was Bin Laden and we got him. As more news came out things became a little clearer and people around the FOB were quickly finding out. Although there were no celebrations, or people running around waving the flag or anything like that. Soldiers on the FOB went about their day like honestly nothing has changed. Reason for that is because we still have a mission to do, which did not include finding Bin Laden. Yes there was obviously a Task Force still focused on him, but as for the US Forces in Afghanistan our mission is something a little different now. For the most part like I stated in an earlier post it’s to conduct COIN operations, not to find and hunt down Bin Laden.
I have to say the amount of pride that I felt being an American was something indescribable. That man was the face of evil, and now he’s nothing but a memory. To think I was in 8th grade when September 11th took place and that event was what helped shaped my aspiration to join the military. It’s pretty crazy that Special Ops were able to raid Bin Laden‘s complex and take him down. It sounds like it was straight out of a movie. America land of the free because of the brave.
“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I’ve read some obituaries with great pleasure” – Mark Twain
Something else I’ve also been doing on my free time is searching for a house when I get back. I think I have it narrowed down to about 3 or 4 that I really like and in the price range I had set for myself. It’s kind of overwhelming thinking I’m going to buy my first house, in addition to finding out about all these extra costs attached. If anyone reading this knows of any realtors that could offer me advice can you send me their contact info please?
I hope everyone is doing well, and it’s hard to believe I’m already on the down slope of the deployment. Even though I’m on the down slope this is now the fighting and harvesting season for the Taliban. So our job now gets more active with everyday that goes by especially leading into the summer.
I want to congratulate everyone that is graduating in the coming weeks, and a special shout out to Steger and O’toole for finishing up their Masters you guys are awesome!