Long time no talk

Gardez Travel Blog

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In Gardez after sitting in the turret for 3 hours!

Well, so much for me keeping up with my writing. I’m sorry it’s been such a long time. It doesn’t feel like much has happened, but quite a bit has. I’ve been in Gardez for about 2 months now. The FOB is pretty small. There can’t be more than 500 people here. It’s a mixture of Army, Navy, Air Force, Polish, Romanian and of course Afghans. Everyone seems to be getting along.

I found out that I’m actually filling a YN Billet. I thought it was going to be kind of crappy because I don’t know anything about YN stuff, but the Warrant Officer I work for says I do work as good or even better than YN’s he’s worked with before. It’s always nice to hear. I guess the guy I replaced was a major crap bag, so looking good became a very easy task.

Afghan Sunset

The warrant officer I work for is the Admin (S1) mentor for Shukor. He’s an officer in the ANA. I’m pretty impressed with him. He’s a hard worker and seems honest. One of the good guys. There are a lot of guys in the ANA that don’t seem to take their job or anything seriously. The work ethic is definitely different. The motto seems to be “In Sh’allah”, or “God willing”. Meaning, if it’s meant to be, it will be. I think if the people could just change a little bit, our progress would be a lot more rapid.My job deals with a lot of paperwork. I’m actually a little disappointed because I do almost the same things here as I did back in Pensacola. Even my work hours are the same. I wanted to try to do something completely different.

Hiking/Climbing
I start my day at 0800. I pretty much do personal stuff until 0825, when I have to pick up the interpreters. After that, I do the daily/weekly reports. From then on, I just work on whatever the warrant assigns me. Usually, my work consists of doing evaluations, awards, letters, and a lot of scanning. I also have the menial work like cleaning the officer sections, tracking down people and objects and filing. I have to do a lot of the chores because I’m the lowest ranking person here L by far! I work with a bunch of chiefs and officers. It’s probably a good experience for me though. I like working with an older crowd because they’re more mature, but I don’t like being the ONLY young person.
I’ve pretty much gotten used to it. Oh, I also go to the ANA side once in a while. I go to command meetings that they have or command formations. They’re kind of cool. I like when I don’t have to go and I get the office to myself. Then I just play my music and get whatever work I need to do out of the way.

The interpreters are pretty cool. They gave me an Afghan name, its something like Nafas gau, it’s supposed to mean a flower’s breath, I’m not positive though. I thought it was sweet. I go to lunch with them regularly and have chai after. We talk about each other’s cultures a lot. I always try to convince them to see things my way, haha. Hopefully some of it sticks.

I haven’t been able to do a lot of humanitarian stuff.

That upsets me a little bit because I thought I would have a lot of opportunities. As soon as we start going out, I totally want to be involved. I made that pretty clear from day one. I’d like to have contact with the civilians here. I want to know about them on a personal level.

Even though I haven’t really been on humanitarian missions, I’ve gone outside the wire quite a bit. I went rock climbing! I think I was at 7800 ft. The view was pretty cool, and I have pictures. It was hard but pretty awesome. I’ve also been to the range. We shot at stuffed animals, lol, sad, right? I’ve been on a few convoys too. I told two of the Army sergeants that plan the convoys to put me on some whenever they can. They ask me to go pretty regularly now.

Market on the way to Gardez
I’ve been a Truck Commander, driver, and gunner. Once, I had to drive the lead vehicle to Camp Phoenix. It was crazy because there are no road rules here. Also, being in front means I have to clear the way for everyone behind me. We had an incident where one of the 5-tons flipped over. It was pretty scary. I thought an IED went off because when I looked in my mirror, all I could see was a cloud of dust. The two people in the truck got out okay. The guy that was hurt pretty bad is fine now. He was on my FOB for a bit, but he wasn’t stationed here. On the way back, it was dark! I hated it. People had their brights on and they were blinding me. I was afraid I was going to drive off a cliff. The Army guys said they would try to let me to go some of the other FOBs around the area, just because I want to see as many places as possible.

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In Gardez after sitting in the tur…
In Gardez after sitting in the tu…
Afghan Sunset
Afghan Sunset
Hiking/Climbing
Hiking/Climbing
Market on the way to Gardez
Market on the way to Gardez
Getting chased!
Getting chased!
The mountain we went up.
The mountain we went up.
A flowers breath (and bootleg DVD…
A flower's breath (and bootleg DV…
Lunch with interpreters
Lunch with interpreters
Strikin a pose
Strikin' a pose
Gardez
photo by: ambria