Posts Tagged ‘military’

“Get Your Gear on.”

September 1, 2009

April 2009      Kabul, Afghanistan

It took awhile to edit this one, written originally while I was riding the edge of insanity, near the end of a one-year stretch in the ‘Stan.  I did not change the tone of it, just filled in a little of the background.  It is not a short story, but it is probably my last on this topic.  I was not free to post it on these pages at the time due to the discomfort it might cause back home.  Here you go:

“Get your Gear on.”

That was an optimistic order  – I have little of what this unrehearsed mission called for:  a reliable rifle, enough body armor, a helmet, pistol, six magazines of ammunition, hand grenades, a radio, a harness to carry it all, and a personal medical kit strapped to the leg – I had none of that.  (more…)

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News At Eleven

August 10, 2009

August 2009     USA

I no longer look forward to situation reports that occasionally come in from my co-workers in Kabul.   Last week the capital took nine rockets.  This week a truck bomb blew out every window at the guest house that hosted the Halloween party.   In the two months I have been out, five of my friends and work associates have been killed.  (more…)

May I Ask Who is Calling?

May 23, 2009

 

May 2009     Qalat, Afghanistan

Last week we sized up a new contract with a security company by accompanying them for a little night work. The mission involved a convoy of 40 tractor-trailers, carrying shipping containers, new armored vehicles, and loaded fuel tankers on an overnight run to Kandahar and back. Convoys on this route get hit every night with rockets, roadside bombs and machine guns, sometimes in well-organized ambushes. Few of their vehicles are armored, and most have a few holes in them. The military is still stretched too thin to offer air or medical support, so the security companies are on their own to fight through and deliver these high-value targets every time. It is a hugely lucrative contact, but it comes at a steady cost. (more…)

Multiple Choice

May 2, 2009

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May 2009     Afghanistan

The path to the truth is not a straight line in Afghanistan, whether asking directions,  learning tribal customs, or just trying to gather patient history.  Today I asked one question, got five different answers, and came to an ugly conclusion.  (Names changed, as usual.) (more…)

Badakhshan

April 10, 2009

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April 2009    Northern Afghanistan

Spring Break college-style is somewhere in the blurry past, but I am pretty sure it did not include abstinence from alcohol and other pursuits, or 8 days and 800 miles in an unmarked microvan with two bearded Muslim men.  But parts of this country are amazing once out of the bigger cities, and what an epic trip it has been.   I even logged some miles hitch-hiking the country roads. (more…)

Spring is in the Air…

March 17, 2009

March 2009     Kabul, Afghanistan

Most times a backyard BBQ does not include skull fractures, amputations and calling the boss a “fucking wombat,” but this is Kabul. (more…)

Highs and Lows

March 5, 2009

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March 2009     Afghanistan

I have been out on leave for awhile, so no new photos this month.   I don’t have a story yet either, but I have one from a friend who flies C-130s, the same type plane that I snapped awhile ago at a US base, seen above.  It is worth a re-print here.

(more…)