19 Apr 07
TSgt Alexander, new ETT, learns to drive in Afghanistan Photo by Maj Rogers
Count yourselves lucky that I’m even writing right now. I’ve been enjoying my Vandread marathon, and I’m down to the last two episodes. The Rossman was right, the second season is better, and I really liked the first. Look for a review next week. I was also able to see the NY Rangers sweep the Atlanta Thrashers in hockey. I don’t watch the regular season, but I enjoy watching the playoffs, and I’ve been a Rangers fan since I was a kid. Since the Jets and Giants let me down in football, maybe the Rangers can bring me a little joy.
As for work, I don’t think I’ll be going in much anymore. The new group is getting a handle on things, and four of our guys, including Maj Apple, don’t leave for another month (they arrived a month later than the main group), so they will provide continuity. The Zombie Project may be dead, at least for me. Last night may (and I do stress “may”) have been the last of my involvement in it.
The weather was perfect today. The last week has been a bit too hot for me, but it cooled down to glorious again. I even went out and ran five miles. Figured I better get some exercise, since soccer seems to be falling apart.
After I did my run, I went out to the helicopter pad, faced the soccer field, enjoyed the breeze, and thought about all the soccer games I’d played on that deadly, rock-hard field. All of the Romanians and French we played against have long since gone home, as have many of the Americans. We will be some of the last of that glorious international league to leave. I still remember our first victory over the French, as well as my first (and only) goal against the Romanians. Despite all the hardships here, there are some good memories.
I was waxing nostalgic as I walked around the camp. Don’t get me wrong; I want to go home NOW! But there are a lot of memories here. Over there was the spot I’d set up my lawn chair and read in the sun. Here’s the spot where eight pieces of plywood had to be laid on the ground so we could walk through all the mud. And here we walked through a foot of snow on Christmas Day to go to chow. Now we are on the verge of leaving it behind. It’s been quite a ride.
Tonya’s Cute Dog of the Day:
Rommel, Zeus, Schatzi, Buffy, Pip
Rat remains intransigent. Perhaps this photo of our five dogs (one of the few photos that has all our dogs, and only our dogs, in it) will weaken his resolve. Here they are doing their favorite thing, mooching during dinner. Yes, they have me trained well. At least I give them dog treats instead of my dinner.
Five Seconds of Fame:
Yesterday’s quotes, “I'm the last of the tiddly-winking leapfroggers from the golden summer of 1914. I don't want to die... I'm really not over keen on dying at all, sir.”
“Rather hoped I'd get through the whole show, go back to work at Pratt and Sons, keep wicket for the Croydon Gentlemen, marry Doris. Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says: "Bugger"”
were from Black Adder Goes Fourth, the fourth season of Black Adder, a British comedy. This one is set in WWI, and the last episode is one of the most moving looks at the madness of war. Winners are Bruno Mota, TSgt Jen Seidl, Chris Manteuffel, Peter Fleming, Maj Teri Centner, and Matthew Gauthier.
Remember, you too can be famous. Just identify the quote (without using Google) and send me an e-mail. You can also send a photo of your choice to be posted.
Quote of the Day:
“Remember the bad guys on the shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys aren't like those guys. They won't exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.”
A nostalgically great day
Here’s Rat -
Here we are just a short time left in Afghanistan, and we have been trying to take a year’s worth of knowledge and transplant it into our replacements. They do seem to be a little overwhelmed at this point. They have met head on some of the cultural differences and are still tying to make sense of all they are seeing, much like we did upon our arrival.
They have the benefit of having us here though to help answer questions that we did not have when we landed on what we thought was the surface of the moon. I’m sure they will be glad to see us turn it over to them and walk away. It is never easy to have someone looking over your shoulder as you work and injecting tidbits of information. I hope they take heed of the pearls of wisdom we carry, or they may find it difficult to move forward as they make the same missteps we did in the beginning. I am sure they will find their way and have as productive a year as we have.
The driver training is still ongoing and they definitely have had their eyes opened to the organized chaos that is commuting around town here. What seems perfectly normal to us is a complete and utter mystery to them at this point. Today we took them to the other camp for convoy commander training and then out to where we work for a meet and greet with our Afghan counterparts. Learning to speak through an interpreter is a skill that is learned, not something that comes naturally, and I have to tell you it was entertaining watching them try to find the words to speak to their new friends.
The Afghans I work with told me today they didn’t want me to leave. They were both happy and sad. Happy I was going home to my family but sad I was leaving them. I feel the same way, and it was a hard moment to get through. The feelings are genuine and to have them drop all pretenses and say it, I’m sure was not easy. Today they had their first dose of the reality that we are leaving and that fact is coming true. The relationships we have built over the past year are bonds that are hard to let go.
Ratman, Moon Walker.
And a special thanks to our readers. I’ve added Jenny Strobel to the staff. Without you all , we might as well be knitting socks.
The AWAC Support Staff
My wife Jancy
My kids, Taylor, Elise, and Ryan
My parents Peter and Nancy Traversa
My sister Susan Carnes
My nephew Daniel Carnes
Matthew and Gloria Gauthier
Pam, Chris, Helen & William Sande
Eve (Black) Iwicki
Anna, Pick, and Rocky Lyman
Maj John Rogers
TSgt Derek Paris
Sharon Van Name
Maj Teri Centner
Linda and Dave King
Peter and Amy Fleming