Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Beginning of Ramadan, and other observations

Ramadan is here

Ramadan started yesterday, it is a lunar month of fasting during the day during the 9th lunar month. Muslims who follow it, and in this area most do, do not eat or drink or chew gum during Ramadan. They do not smoke either. There day begins at 3 am when they get up to eat. They can not eat during the daylight hours, which fortunately for them, are shorter than they were a few months ago. The impact on this is that missions of both friendly and enemy forces get impacted in some way. Positive or negative depending upon your perspective I guess. When you eat and finish breakfast by 0400 in the morning, you aren’t much good after noon. No water is maybe the biggest significance of combat readiness. After darkness falls around 630 or 700 pm this month, they can begin to eat again, and they typically start out with a sweet drink or pastry to get some sugar into their system.

Early morning missions are good; I haven’t tried an overnight mission yet, but will bring it up, I am not sure if that is well advised or not. The reason for missions decreases as well during Ramadan, as like our Christmas, this is a time for introspection and appreciation of what you have, and your family. I say that knowing that the first ads for Christmas sales will soon or have already begun showing up.

Our last good mission was the route security for the weapons cache raid. Raid is a strong word; it wasn’t guarded, hidden but not guarded. I was happy to find out that we collected enough material to have made about 30 very effective IEDs; I have no idea if it was a recent or old cache, but I don’t think the explosives cared how old they were.

Fuel filters and fuel… wow, this is either really good for GM or I don’t know what, but the fuel we get here is such absolute crap that I have heard it described as containing traces of diesel. I know people are working on it, but meanwhile, a diesel engine which can run off of almost anything flammable, gets a bit more than 150 miles prior to needing a fuel filter change. It is crazy. And because the fuel is and has been so bad, the system has run short on filters, because everyone is using them at ten times the expected usage, But hey, no big deal!!

There are other ironies at work that you just have to learn to laugh at, because if you didn’t you would grind your molars to dust, or paste, or whatever. We train all of the time to be able to conduct logistics re-supply runs out to forward operating bases. In reality what happens is Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) send in convoys to get supplies from the central hub. In someone’s eyes that is how we should do it, as that is how it is being done. So once every week or so, I take every person up to _Herat which is 90 miles north. The folks from Farah do the same thing, but it is another two hours for them, and we get what we need. The risk manager in me wonders why the organization as a whole would rather travel 680 miles round trip for the three southern FOBs to be re-supplied, rather than running 400 miles of road time. (See there, I did it, if you think to logically here, you can get bound up about things that you aren’t going to change.) Then the next thing you know you are irritated with the guy who, like a squirrel waits until your danger close to try and cross the road in front of you. Pretty soon you wonder why more things aren’t the way you think they ought to be, and then you’re in one of those rooms counting flowers on the wall, playing solitaire till dawn, with a deck of 51……

Thank you to Kevin, Charlie and Joyce, and Amy and Darin, I received your packages last night, and while haven’t opened them yet, wanted to let you know I got them and I appreciate your efforts and concern.

All my best,


1 comment:

Jeff said...