Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ft Carson Colorado Overall very good clearing experience

There has been lots of negative press about clearing at Fort Carson. We had a soldier earlier in the clearing process drink too much alcohol, and he assaulted a police officer in Colorado Springs. As a result, the powers that be decided no soldiers could drink. A little overkill, our chain of command addressed that issue and we were able to enjoy our two beers without fear of legal reprisal, Thank you.

Just a note on that; The guy who assaulted the police officer, should be charged with the appropriate crime, do the time, get out, be charged with the appropriate UCMJ charge, and be dealt with according to the rule of law.

We arrived at Fort Carson and turned in our sensitive items. Guns, Night Vision, those things that let us do our job in the combat zone. Then we were off to barracks. Yes the barracks are 6 miles away from main post. But there is a shuttle bus that runs every 30 minutes back to post, so it isn't a hardship. Colorado Springs is beautiful this time of year. I have lived here in the past, and if I were not going to live in Oregon, it would be one of my first choices. We had 2 very very full days of out processing. The hardest part was the lines that we sat in to wait. It just takes time to process a couple hundred soldiers each day. The staff in charge of getting us through did what I think was a pretty damn good job. They have been going daily for 3 weeks, and they managed to be pleasant and professional, quite the good combination.

Sleeping in barracks with 40 guys is quite an experience although not a quiet experience. It is a veritable symphony of rumblings, gurglings and sudden explosions in the night. Some of those guys need showers on an hourly basis. However..... The Barracks are brand new. The beds are brand new; the lockers are in great condition. The showers and American style toilets are also brand new. All of that is fantastic.

I had the opportunity to be taken to dinner by my cousin Heather and her husband Pat. We went down town to find a little spring’s festival going on, it was warm, the ladies were tan, and I kept thinking that it is truly good to be an American in America, over and over.... Flank Steak, Blue cheese and a little calamari... Thanks Pat and Heather wow.

Today, fully packed, ready for home, waiting, again with the patience.

A quick note though, I really appreciate the folks who have supported me through out this, I think a lot of the time it is harder to be concerned about a soldier who you worry might be in harms way, than it is to be the soldier. Thank you for keeping me and my fellow soldiers in your thoughts and prayers, I know it made a difference to me.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2007

I hadn't started to write about this adventure yet when I arrived at Kabul last year. So I will do a little description.

Kabul is one step closer to home for me and a number of my fellow soldiers.
Kabul is dirty. The air is foul with burning trash, burning fuel, and whatever else might be tossed into the fire. I recently saw a picture that was painted about one hundred years ago (I saw a print) and it was of the Kabul bazaar. It doesn't look that different now, although there were no hubcaps on walls in the picture I saw.
Kabul smells; In order for that to register, let me tell you I can not smell much of anything good or bad. A lady with perfume or a truck with garbage gets equally ignored by me if I can't see them.... So when I say Kabul smells, it must really be getting with it.

Camp Phoenix is a mostly concrete paved compound that is leased by the Government. Because it is leased, the improvements are sparse. So the buildings are all temporary housing, most made of plywood. Plywood is hard to clean, creates its own dirt, and is a fire hazard. The two other alternatives are Connex housing; Think about the boxes on the back of 18 wheelers; or group tents, where I am currently residing with about 80 or 100 other fine soldiers. Based on the way people overlap in country, we are living about as well as can be expected, unless of course you are in the Air Force or Navy, in which case we are truly suffering. I don't know why, but the Air Force has figured out how to take care of airmen far better then the Army ever will, it is almost a reverse snobbish attitude on the Army's part. I wish it would suck some more....

Anyway. Weather is 75-100, not bad. Rained the other day, that was nice.

The South Carolina Guard is here, they seem like good folks, of course, I / We stay mostly out of there way.

When I got here I had my Cholesterol checked, it was 162, one year later it is 188. That is still doing okay, but not as okay as before I arrived. Based upon plane availability and other logistic considerations we will be here around 4 days by the time we leave. Apparently those same logistic considerations will negatively impact our arrival date in the states as well, which is to be expected.

The hardest part of this again is the infiltration, and the exfiltration, or the coming and going. The doing is the relatively easy part.

Hmmm Okay, I think that is the extent of my information for the day.

Take care