Thursday, March 01, 2007

Still having fun

23 February 2007

I think that this is 5 days without the internet in our area, due to a combination of events, I am sure some one 800 miles is sure about, but really I am not sure about. Satellite internet is subject to weather considerations, like wind and storms. We are currently waiting to get our service back, but it will probably take a week more.

It points out how much I spend on the net, I love to read, but reading is not always relaxing for me. Getting online seems to be a sedative at some point. I am not sure why, but it always relaxes me. One sure reason is that it allows me to talk with my wife and family on a regular basis. It points out how easy from a mental point this deployment is that past deployments for other soldiers have not been. I feel very connected to my family, despite the distance apart. Now after a number of days of basically no communication other than the brief “I love you” on the phone, I am going through some withdrawals. (Makes me kind of bitchy).

This has been a very eventful couple of days; I am working in the capacity of operations officer for my group now, which has increased responsibility, added time requirements and stress. I have been trained for the job, so I am sharing the differences and some of the effects of them.

I have a checkered time in the military, enlisted for a couple of years, ROTC for a couple of years, active duty in the early 90’s and then I got out about the time we decided as a nation to work more as coalition forces rather than US Forces. I won’t go into all the reasons that I had at the time, but I am remembering them here.

Individual soldiers lives are merely footnotes in history, this soldier died at this time in this location. Some become heroes; some are forgotten by all but those that they served with or their families. That really isn’t much different then the rest of our lives. We live, work and raise our families, are a part of our community and pass on to the next stage of our being.

A couple of days ago we had some Spanish coalition forces who struck a mine, wounding one soldier and killing another. This happened very close to where I am stationed. It is unfortunate from two perspectives. The tragedy of a woman who was serving her country as a medic, who was indiscriminately killed far from home, a tragedy just as any untimely death is. The fact that because our coalition does not coordinate effectively means that the Spanish were working in our battle space with out our knowledge, as a result they were traveling on a road that had recently had IEDs emplaced, and they were not aware that we expected more IEDs to be placed. Failure to coordinate. In addition to that, they did not ask our forces on our base for help. Instead they worked with people 45 miles north. I don’t know if our assets would have saved her, and will never know. Our forces sent a reaction force to assist with any injuries, and our assistance was refused. Our soldiers and the Afghan soldiers were treated as a threat to ISAF forces security, kept at a distance of 500 meters from the scene. The intelligence available after the emergency was lost, as ISAF forces collected what they could find and removed it to their base in the north. That means we are less prepared for potential and probable future events.

I know it always sound arrogant to say that US forces should be in control of areas that US forces work, but the fact is that our military culture runs smoothly as a unit. Putting the front end of a Ford 150 Pickup truck in front of a Toyota Corolla while possible is an engineering feat that is still going to look like a mess, despite the quality of both parent vehicles. That same thing can be said in varying degrees of coalition work. Working side by side in separate areas of operation probably works well, just as parking a corolla next to a 150 is fine. However having them occupy the same space at the same time is awkward, and is also the definition of a collision.

1 comment:

Josh said...

I'm sad to hear that you guys where having such a rough time with the internet. Living in China, I kind of got used to it. But I can also relate to the joy of hearing a loved one's voice that you haven't seen for a while and then to NOT be able to do that... sucks.

Thats messed up about those soldiers treating you guys like hostiles. I guess thats their mindset or something political.

I did have to laugh at the "bitchy mood" comment. :-) Maybe cause I'm in one and its amusing to see others in them. Oh well... we move on. As always, thanks for the posts. I really do enjoy them.