Saturday, May 7, 2011

Afghanistan - FOB Joyce

While the FOB I was at was on Delta Alert, Joyce FOB was hit hard. I met a lot of great people there who make a difference everyday and hope that none of them were wounded or worse.

PFC Monqueze McKinney – a smiling face you see when checking into the DEFAC

Manning the Gunline with a Howitzer named “Cherry Popper” Left to Right: Cpl Jeffrey Furr, Tennessee, PV2 Matthew Rutter, New Jersey, Cpl Michael Box, Texas and Sgt Adolph Lemos, California 

Stuckey: Always moving Suckey who along with her crew in the DEFAC bought the TV and managed to get a Christmas tree sent to Afghanistan

PFC Corry McGriff – possibly the Army’s best story teller

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Afghanistan - TOA

Today was the final Transition of Authority Ceremony, here at FOB Fenty in Jalalabad. The last of the 101st leave to go back to the US today. It has been the deadliest deployment for the 101st since Vietnam.

This is the TOA at FOB Joyce.

As I sat in the clamshell tent listening to speeches I couldn't help but hear the gunfire outside wondering if I'd have to run for a bunker. Being the kind of person I am, always looking for the way out of a bad situation, I settled on the large covered trash can instead.

After the ceremony there was the first 'hero send off' for a fallen soldier of the 25ths deployment. It couldn't have been a more poignant day for the 3BCT 25th Division.

The war has become real for a whole new battalion.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Ladin is dead - Afghanistan

Osama Bin Ladin is in Jalalabad we're watching the breaking news holding our breath. What is this going to mean for us here on small outposts in Kunar Province up in the mountains on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Our FOB went from a Charlie Alert, to Delta and back down to Charlie. This means we don't have to walk around vested up with helmets, which I have to tell you is hot as hell, plus if you get a direct hit, mortar or RPG, you're dead. There are sandbagged bunkers everywhere for you to run for cover, but if the Taliban gets in the wire it's not good, especially for us that cannot carry a weapon.

Besides the possible retaliation for the death of Obama there is also the "Transfer of Authority". Last year this was a deadly time as it is spring and the Taliban is coming out from their caves.

So here in northeastern Afghanistan, close to the border of Pakistan, the celebration of the death of Osama Bin Ladin seems surreal.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - Nawa Pass

FOB Joyce is surrounded by the beautiful mountains in Kunar Province. The air is clean and it reminded me of my youth spent in the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, NM. It was eerie walking around susceptable to gun fire and RPG fire.

I read in a book by, Ensam M. Entezar that Afghani's always fought with each other, but the weapons used to be sticks and stones. Now their weapon of choice is an RPG. There is nothing that can protect you from that.

We went into Nawa Pass and met with the CO of that Afghani Post.

From left to right: The Afghan CO, Saffi our interpreter and Lt. Cody Mossberg