Thursday, July 30, 2009

Living in box and a new job

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, been pretty busy. After my return from Logar I was asked if I wanted a position as an Advisor, which is different from a Mentor in that instead of going out to the PD’s to monitor how they’re doing, you stay at the base and are basically an Instructor at the training facility, think academy. So I said yes. Then I was told I would be taking over as the Logistics/Advisor Officer for the camp. My main job is running the supply issue for the ANP here and showing the Afghan’s how to complete the necessary paperwork when requesting gear for the police. After that parts done for the different cycles, I can jump in on the classes I want to help with, like the range, handcuffing, baton, car stops, ect. I think I’ll like it.
I also got moved to new living quarters. These metal boxes, conex’s, are generally used for storage. Somewhere, someone came up with the idea of making them into rooms. Mine’s on the second level and it’s actually pretty nice. It’s about 8’ x 16’ with a bathroom and AC. All the comforts of home, minus the kids and my beautiful wife.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leaving Logar

Had to go back to Logar last week to train my replacement. Basically, like camping out for a week. Then caught a flight back to the city, where I’m assigned right now. I go to various Police Departments, meet with the Chief’s, (each PD has its own Chief or General), and go over the basics. I’m working with another New Englander, a guy from Maine, which is rare because northerners are the minority here.
I’ll miss some things about Logar like being away from the flagpole, the clean air, it stinks in the city, and clear nights when you could see millions of stars. Thing is, when you’re on a FOB its you and one other guy and the Military, which I don’t mind. But here, you’re with Cops, and after being one for 20 plus years, it’s comforting.
So, I’ll say so long to Logar, thanks for the memories. Not goodbye, because you never know…

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'd like to mention the passing of a dude I had the pleasure to meet and work with. As a matter of fact, I probably spent most my time here working with this guy. He didn't have any rank, just a Patrolman, but he was in charge of his Check Point because of his experience, dedication to duty and the respect of his men. Gul Alam was taken by an IED recently and he will be missed. He is the model of what the Afghan National Police should strive for. (in the photo's he is meeting with village elders and handing out humanitarian aid to a local village).

On another note;

Witnessed something interesting and disturbing yesterday. I was waiting in line for the DFAC, (dining facility) to open. In line in front of me was an Indian man and in front of him an Army Staff Sergeant. We were in the wash/waiting area with several other people. It was close, but not over crowded. The Sgt turned towards the Indian gentleman and said “Hey, you’re in my personal space, we don’t do that” The other guy just looked at him. He then said “back the **** up” and pushed him back. Nothing serious, the guy wasn’t hurt, it was more a forced step back. I actually thought he knew the dude. Then the doors opened and we moved in to the chow line. I was a couple people behind the Sgt, and meatballs were one of the items available for lunch. There are three or four Indian guys working behind the counter, one behind each section of choices. He hands over his plate and says loudly, “just meatballs, I only want meatballs”. The meatball guy puts one meatball on his plate and the Sgt flips out, steps back and throws his hands in the air, yelling “ what the ****, can’t you people speak English”. He then walks away to the other side of the tent where they serve sandwiches, muttering about how he can’t understand why the people in this country can’t speak English. This guy’s picture should be in the dictionary next to Ugly American.
Several thoughts on this; I’m not sure what kind of training the military gives its guys to acclimated them to the culture of the countries that they may be occupying, but a lot of places in this region of the world don’t have the same views as Americans do as far as personal space goes. It doesn’t mean that much to them. Maybe the Sgt was an FNG to the Stan, didn’t look like it though. As far as the English thing goes, well, do I really need to say that this dumbass is not in Kansas anymore.
It’s people like this moron that are the reason why the US is having such a hard time accomplishing anything over here. It’s the general attitude of a lot of the military. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it, (it’ll be on the test), we are here to mentor and help in the Afghan’s fight against the Taliban. If this nitwit is treating the people that work on our bases like that, you can imagine how he treats the local villagers.
If the Officers here don’t know how their troops are acting, they need to open their eyes. If they do know, they better wake up and smell the Chai, before it’s too late.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wartime Links

Yes Virginia, there is golf in Afghanistan. But, as you can see, the green is actually a grayish gravel. It was actually a minefield at one time. Now its a nine hole par three. No water hazards, but look out for the little mounds, never know, they might have missed a couple. Four...boom!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So I had the opportunity to visit the Queen's Palace in Kabul, (below left). I guess at one time it was quite the place. This is open for us to go inside, which we did. Really amazing. Opposite this is the King's Palace, which you can see behind me and in the photo, above right. That is closed to the public. Back when the Russians invaded, they destroyed both building and they've never been repaired, too bad.

If you want to see them in their original state, you'll have to go online. Due to copyright infringement, I can't show them here. But check it out, they were extraordinary.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Well after a much needed vacation, I’m back on Mars.

The leave was everything I hoped it would be. Fantastic job by Pam, as always, of planning and mapping out the upcoming events. After the graduation, ceremony and party weekend, we, me, Pam and the boys, headed north to Canada. My daughter had to finish school and would fly up the next week to meet us.
The first leg was from RI to St. Johns New Brunswick. As a graduation gift, Nick and I went kayaking and then went into the Reversing Falls in St John’s on a jet boat ride. No kidding that boat went underwater numerous times, frigging cold water too. Very cool. Then we did some sightseeing around town.
The hotel had a water slide in the pool and me and the boys did things that should have gotten us kicked out if they had seen us. Footage available on Facebook. Two nights there then it was on to Halifax Nova Scotia. It was a whole city like Thayer St and Newport mixed together.
After Halifax we went to a little town called Shelburne where we rented a house. Couple things, it was supposed to be a beach house, it wasn’t. I mean we live in the Ocean State. Beaches are everywhere. We wanted a house on the beach. This was near a beach which was overgrown all the way to the water. That and it rained the entire time we were there. Thank god the boys had Xbox because the only internet we had was if we drove into town. It was nice being together though. We cut the stay short and headed back in the direction of Halifax.
We went back towards Halifax to await the arrival of Mel and found a hotel with another waterslide and broke more safety codes. Mel flew from Boston to Halifax and met and sat with Charles Barkly, not Knarles, on the flight.
We left there and drove to a place called Moncton. Checked their claim to fame, the Chocolate River, and Hopewell Rocks, then dinner at a little Mexican restaurant where we learned of the passing of the late great MJ.
We finished up the trip with a two night stay in St Andrews at a great place called the Rossmount Inn. After about 1750 miles we got home.
That two weeks was great, had some real quality time with the family. The week at home, including the 4th, went way to fast. It was nice to see old friends and look forward to the next time.