Friday, October 13, 2006

Observations on the way to pass

Hello All,

I am in night two of my stay in Bagram Air Force Base, BAF for short. It is in an interesting place, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines here, Egyptian, Korean, Polish, British, American, as well as Afghan soldiers in one area both sexes intermixed to some degree. I am here waiting for a flight to get to Qatar, and I will be here for a number of days as the flight schedule around the country can’t be counted upon. I am here so early because it worked like a charm for me, but that is not the normal course of events, and in fact, we stopped in Kandahar in order to get here, and I believe that was an unscheduled event.

Coming from a post of 100% males, and then being if not surrounded at least consistently in the presence of females is quite a change. Language and thought processes are completely affected, for positive and negative both I am sure. We did have a female Chaplain come out to our location for two days to talk with my guys. Chaplains always want to talk with soldiers, and I think that that is a good thing, they are typically trained in some battlefield psychology and they are not part of the chain of command so soldiers tend to tell them things that they may not share with their peers or people in their unit. She did a fantastic job, but again it is humorous, a nice married female chaplain, you should have seen they guys talk with her, myself included, I decided sometimes it is nice just to have someone other than a guy answer you . It was also interesting to note that she is the first Chaplain I have seen in my location, period, male or female whose stated intention was to minister to my guys. I will caveat the above by saying she was charismatic, appropriate and understood grunts, as she is married to one; I met him in Herat just prior to beginning my journey.

I went to the Bazaar today, and picked up a rock for less than 50 dollars, you should be impressed with my bargaining since the seller wanted 80. I picked up a nice relatively clear piece of lapis and have already sent it home, I would expect that I can eventually get it turned into some jewelry, although who knows if the ladies will like it. It is unique to this country so even if I just put it on a bookshelf, I will be able to point to it and grunt, got it in Afghanistan. It is kind of cool to look at.

Met a SFC from Kansas today who works with people that I worked with in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, at the same time have run into several people here from 141, also today I heard from a friend of mine, Michael, who I have known since about 1988 or 1989, all because of the military.

While it isn’t the same for everyone, and I don’t always approve of the way the military is used by the various administrations, the military in general has truly enriched my life, and as I move along I begin to appreciate it more.

Today just before dinner some of my compatriots decided we should go on a walk around the airfield. I thought no big deal, but at 4700 feet above sea level, 8 or 9 miles is a bit of a hike, and we didn’t quite finish before dark, but we did finish, I think today I am good for at least 12 miles for the day, which is 12 miles more than the last couple of weeks at least. I am not sure exactly what I will be able to share about on the trip to Qatar, and I really don’t know how Qatar is going to be as it is still Ramadan, and that apparently will affect what shops are open or not, but anyway you slice it, I am having fun so far.

All my best.

Keith

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah .... much to the delight of your daughter, and well, probably women everywhere ... you too are engaging in the delights of shopping therapy! Live it up! :)
Be safe. Be well.
We love you.
Amy

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear from you. I was wondering if you really did have a few days off. There may be some changes ahead on Iraq. Too bad the powers can't see the forest for the trees. It is getting cooler these days . going to freeze. I like that.. Corn & beans are about done. No one is complaining. If you know ant farmers that is good!!
My oldest grandson is getting married in July.. already they have a web page with plans. What ever happened to small family weddings??? Eastern IA ia having a "small" crime wave. Too many guns around. Next week, I have to travel the county and see if any one donated to the Salvation Army cans for me to use. LOts of needs, shortage of money & volunteers. Going to see my gr granddaughter Tues home from singapore for a week. She is 5 now. My grandaughter who is a sr at IA. called she received a B+ and an A on 2 test papers. We knew she could, not maybe she will believe it. Lovely girl. Several Haunted houses have not opened due to concern an accidents and law suits. One school in Il stopped tag. One might get hurt running. No wonder we have hefty kids. Election is high on the menu. Almost too much of it as usual. I voted early. so can stop listening to it all.. They will start on 2008 on Nov8th.. It goes on and on... I am hhoping the leader of the UN is better than the last one. Well life goes on, lots of harping about everything, but thanks to you and the rest of the troops, we still can. My best to you... Enjoy your letters . I could not open the one you sent me, but could open the one Ed sent. He write me daily .... great friends. God Bless you... Rose C 7 p.m.

PHS said...

Dear Keith;
That Chaplain is my daughter!! and a very fine one, as you learned. She applies herself to anything that she does and thus does it exceptionally well, because she believes in what she applies herself to do. We miss her and look forward to her return, even though her leaving means that her fellow warriors ( both female and male) will also miss her for being someone to whom they could turn in the time of need. Or when they wanted to learn karate or yoga, she offered them the chance to use their free time in an activity that could bring continual development to them.

Keep safe and come home soon. You and the other ones serving there are our heroes!!!

PHS

Keith said...

You are a lucky set of parents to have such a great daughter, she is fantastic, and we are sure going to miss her when she heads home, which will be soon now. She is a gem.

Keith