Hokies in Kandahar

Okay sorry I’ve been kind of slacking on the updates I didn’t realize it has been 3 plus weeks since I last posted one.  There has been a lot going on since my last update and things over here have been pretty busy with the weather warming up.

So maybe 3 weeks ago our company did a convoy up to KAF and I got to meet up with another Hokie.  It was funny because in the Corps of Cadets he was my mentor when I was a freshmen and he was a junior.  He just got to KAF and is stationed there for the rest of his deployment with the 101st.  We got lunch down by the boardwalk had a good time catching up and grabbed a picture in front of some of our vehicles.

The boardwalk on KAF is pretty funny to be honest.   I would have never guessed that a Nathans Hot Dog stand and TGIF is located all the way in Afghanistan.  I still haven’t gone to TGIF yet maybe because it cost a fortune to eat there. The reason it cost a fortune is that no one out here is really spending money so all the American food vendors jack up the price because they know people will pay for it.  “Supply and Demand.”

The boardwalk is basically a bunch of shops and places to eat.  It’s a cool place to grab a bit to eat, relax, and just people watch whenever I make the trip up to KAF.  There are people from all over the world that are located at KAF.   In addition to all the contractors here that range from people from third world countries hired to work, to CEOs taking a business trip from the states to check on there defense contracts.  The Canadians built a roller hockey rink in the center of the boardwalk, along with a small softball field, and a basketball court.  All along the boardwalk there are vendors and small jewelry stores.  I think its good that I don’t make it to KAF that often or I might be spending all my money on real food or brass camels.

One thing I really enjoy about my FOB rather than KAF is our barbershop.  At KAF like everything else is contracted out to some guy who doesn’t speak English and thinks everyone wants their whole head zero’d.  At FOB Spin Boldak there are a couple Local Nationals (LN) who cut the hair.  In fact they charge 4 dollars and no joke they are some of the best haircuts I’ve ever gotten.  One time I went in pretty early in the morning and sat down in the chair.  The afghan was getting ready to cut my hair and then all of a sudden the other afghan/local nation opened then door and said “no no come and join us for tea first”  it kind of took me off guard but I had time so I joined them.  So there I was having breakfast with two local nations, who later I found out through broken English and Pashto they were actually brothers.  We talked about what they went through when they were living in Kandahar and what it was like when the Taliban was in control.  They expressed how grateful they were that the United States came and pushed the Taliban out of Kandahar and out of power.  It was a pretty cool experience sitting around Indian style drinking chi tea and sharing a type of bread that was like a peta bread.  Inside the pot we sat around was a dip that had tomatoes, onions, cheese, and some herbs…..it was actually really good.  So after breakfast I had my haircut and went about my day.  I have to say though that was probably the coolest haircut I’ve ever had.

The actually barbershop is in a container or metal conex.  Along with the px (walmat) and post office.  They are basically metal conexes 20 ft long and 6 feet wide.  Needless to say all the walmart has is basically cigarettes and dip……so I have so reason to even go there……..even if I did have a reason its open at the most random time throughout the week.

The weather is starting to get a lot warmer.  The average high has been around 82 degrees and it still rains once in awhile.  But when it rains it pours, they have some pretty intense thunderstorms over here that’s for sure.  With the warmer temperatures though brings more activity from the Taliban.  A lot of it is connected to the poppy harvest.  Due to the fact a lot of the funding from the Taliban comes from harvesting drugs like poppy.  Our FOB has been pretty quite but the surrounding area has not been so lucky.  Especially the closer to Kandahar/KAF the more activity there is.

I’ve also started taking over some of the XO duties and have been more involved within the company in keeping track of certain reports.  These reports are an essential part of our company’s mission and I’m pretty excited that my leadership sees that I’m ready for bigger and better tasks. These reports require me to brief higher-ranking officers on our status and the capabilities of the company.  It’s good because it helps me become more familiar with my unit’s capabilities as well as helps me get to know the other officers in the squadron.

One thing that has happened fairly recently and causing major problems in Afghanistan are the riots going on all over the country.  My question is why isn’t there more news about this back in the states?!  If you haven’t heard what’s going on, basically some pastor from the US decided to use his freedom of speech to burn a Koran. Well word travels fast and as soon as the Taliban found out about this they used it against us and provoked mass riots in major cities.  It’s a pretty serious thing right now, so keep an ear out in the news for it.

Something else in the news that I did catch, was the “government shutdown”  I got to catch a little bit of it in the DFAC and read about the rest of it online.

With all this talk of the military not getting paid and what not, personally I don’t care cause because I know I’m going to get paid either way, and right now its not like I’m headed to Best Buy every weekend…But people that I do care about like my Soldiers with families will definitely be affected by this.  The Soldiers themselves might not be spending money but think about their spouse that has a house payment, bills, and kids to feed.  I really don’t know how this will play out, but why did the government wait until the last second to fix this?

On the same note as spending money I have to say that war is not free.  After seeing the amount of money we spend over here….your tax dollars ……I would think it’s in your best interest to know what your money is being spent on……so follow the news and what’s going on in the world!

Before I head to bed I just want to encourage you to leave a comment so I know who is reading and its nice to hear from people that read my updates. I hope everyone is doing well and thanks for all the support!

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11 Responses to Hokies in Kandahar

  1. Danica A Van Horn says:

    Great to hear you are doing well Darnley! Been praying for ya friend! GOD BLESS

  2. Mark Walczyk says:

    Hey man, always good to see how Iraq and Afghanistan are so different yet so similar. That’s really awesome you got to run into your D in Kandahar! There isnt another Hokie for a hundred miles around here, although there is a VT flag waving victoriously from the central division DFAC here at camp–will have to get a shot of it.

    ..and I will have a new appreciation/will be completely sick of semi-truck trailers when I get back to the states–convenient place to make into shops/PXs haha.

    Keep safe!

  3. Mom says:

    So good to hear about what is going on with you! We love you and miss you! May God bless you, Matthew ! All our love, Mom & family

  4. Terri Roy says:

    Hey Matt! It is soooooooo good to hear from you!!! Another great update! I have been following the news about the riots and wondered how that was affecting you and your area…also contacted our rep and senators about the budget….our family keeps you in our family prayers every day! We love you and are so proud of you and your mission! God bless you, Matt and thanks so much for the update!

  5. Theresa Prince says:

    HeyMatt, I really love reading your blog, I haven’t miss an up date since you sent out the first one. Your insights are incredible. The hair cut story was the best, your too trusting. I my self would have ran. It takes alot of courage to be doing, what you are doing over there. I can tell in your letters your compassion for the people your serving runs deep into your heart. Matt well done, you make us so proud of you. May the Lord blessing be upon you.. I sent a package few days ago, I hope it makes it to you. Let me know if you get it. Love and Prayers Aunt Theresa

  6. Chris Armstrong says:

    Darnley!

    Love the blog man. I’ve been following along since your first update and it’s great to hear how things are going over there. You’re making us all so proud!

    Take care of yourself,
    Chris

  7. Tom Kelton says:

    Hey Matt,
    Got hooked on reading your blog through the Pathfinder School in Bethel Park. It’s very interesting to hear all about what is going on across the world. I look forward to reading your different posts every week. Stay safe and keep up the good work!

  8. Mitch Gordon says:

    Hi Darnley,

    I went through Airborne school with you a few years ago and we played golf together over the 4th of July weekend. I stumbled upon one of your blogs one day and I’ve been reading them ever since. It sounds like you’re doing great job! I’m looking forward to your next update.

    Stay safe,

    Mitch Gordon

  9. Bernadette says:

    Hey Matt,
    I love reading your Blog, also like seeing your pictures on facebook.
    Be safe, love you, God Bless you always!
    Aunt Bernadette

  10. Jeremy Davis says:

    Another wonderful read, so glad to see you grow as a writer. Darnley keep up the good work both in the field and at the keyboard. Can’t wait to read the next one.

    -Jer

  11. Amy and Grandma Wissinger says:

    Grandma and Amy say we love you, and miss you, and can’t believe you’re a full grown man. Be safe. Sorry if I embarrassed you (Aunt Amy). God bless you honey (Grandma). WE LOVE YOU!

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