Saturday, October 23, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

Still waiting.
I sent in my embed forms on September 29th; so it hasn't been a full month yet. The forms say it usually takes a month...being that it's the government it will definitely be one month at least.

I'm thinking about all the things I still have to do and think that maybe I better order the flak vest, but only if I can return it. I don't think I'll be needing one even though I do live in the hood. The helmet too. Although I envision myself donning it at news of a nuclear attack...

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - Shoulder to Shoulder

I haven't heard anything from my guardian angel Gabriel.

But I couldn't help but read this:
Virtually all of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers tasked with defending the rugged, volcanic crag were killed in the battle, which became a symbol and rallying point for the United States in the Pacific war after the U.S. flag was raised on its highest ground, Mount Suribachi.

In WWII Ernie Pyle writes about the cemetary. There was a cemetary on Omaha Beach. I wonder...under all the crosses at your local Veterans Cemetary's are there soldiers remains? Or is it in name only?

I know in Vietnam there was "No man left behind".
In Afghanistan it is "Shoulder to Shoulder".

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

I'm still waiting.
I'm wondering if I'll ever get to Afghanistan.

The moon is almost full. I like to think of others around the world looking at the same moon and wonder what they are thinking.

I wonder how many soldiers, American, Afghanistan, Taliban are looking up at the same moon thinking the same thoughts. Thinking about loved ones...thinking how good it is to be alive.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

OMG...I'm still waiting.

This waiting is driving me crazy. I am trying to rationalize this is what it's like for a soldier to get their orders.

Hurry up and wait...I'm sure someone in the armed forces came up with this saying.

Think about what it must have been like waiting on the ship before they stormed Omaha Beach.

I know that a lot of battles are predicated upon the weather.
Napoleon waited one extra day and that was the end of his career. That night it snowed and he couldn't move his men for months.

While I'm waiting to get to Afghanistan,
Soldiers are waiting to come home.

Some of them will do anything to pass the time faster, better and with a little fun.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - designations

Still waiting....

Looking at all the pins, ribbons and patches on unforms I wondered about them.

For instance: How did the 25th division become, Tropic Lightning?
The division's rapid movements during its campaigns led to the adoption of the nickname Tropic Lightning.

Ernie Pyle's boys, the 34th infantry division got it's nickname from the Germans. They wore a patch designed to evoke the desert training grounds of Camp Cody, New Mexico, by superimposing a red steer skull over a black Mexican water jug. German troops in World War II, nicknamed them the Red Bulls.

There's a pin with of a fish that was worn under the collar in WWII. It meant you survived the drink and was fished out.

A dolphin pin means you're a submariner who knows all the systems by heart and can be entrusted both with the submarine and crew.

There are calvary pins, tank and armor pins, pins for the chaplin corp, dental corp, transportation pin. There's a pin for everything!

Besides pins there are slogans!

On the beach at Omaha is where the famous Ranger slogan comes from, when Colonel Max F. Schneider, commanding the 5th Ranger Battalion, Yelled out “RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

Another day of waiting.

Today an article made the news regarding the suicide and drug addiction rate of our soldiers once they get home. I'm not the least bit surprised. I'm sure it's not that different from all wars, probably just better documented.

I want to help our soldiers. I want to do something for them. I want to listen and tell their thoughts and reveal who they were or who they are or who they want to be.

It's important they want to be. To take what they know and pass it on. Maybe we are finally admitting that war is idiotic. There is no value anymore to territory when we're fighting terrorists whose threat is loss of freedom and trust.

The world has changed and war has changed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

Waiting is not easy.
I think of the soldier waiting to go home. Calendaring the days on his or her helmet. The closer it is the harder it gets.

To hope for the best, I decide to check out some gear to see what I'm going to be wearing in Afghanistan. I cannot look military, but I still need a flak vest and a helmet.

The first thing I look at are the flak vests. There are so many to choose from. They are expensive, around $500 to $600. I wonder is these are good enough. I wonder if I should just get a cheaper one figuring that nothing is going to save me from a rocket launcher anyway. I am obsessed with rocket launchers.

Then I look at the weight. I remember in the book "Things That They Carry" stresses such importance on weight. I weigh about 110 lbs. The vest weighs about 5 lbs, my helmet will weigh about 2.5 lbs and I'm going to have to carry a pack that will proabably weigh 20 lbs.

I'm suddenly worried. Will I be able to carry all of this?