Wednesday, December 22, 2004

 

Home

Made it home last night. All told, the trip took 29 hours. It's good to be back. My neighbors put up signs to greet me. I am humbled. Once I recover from the jet lag, I will get some new pics up.


Monday, December 20, 2004

 

Neat Christmas Greeting

Cindy, one of my readers put a neat holiday greeting on her site for me: See it here:
http://annaqsattic.blogspot.com/


Saturday, December 18, 2004

 

Doha, Qatar

Back in Doha. The flight was good, as there were only 14 passengers instead of the 43 when I went into Afghanistan. Was able to spread out and get some sleep. No matter how you slice it, 6 hours in a C-130 is no walk in the park.



Friday, December 17, 2004

 

The Journey Begins

I am heading home. Since I was on loan from CENTCOM, I had a relatively short trip to Afghanistan. I'll be home for Christmas. (I think there is a song in there) Today, I will fly out of Afghanistan to Qatar, spend a day or two there and then fly home via London and Chicago.

You would think that leaving would be easy. But the truth is, I am going to miss this place and look forward to my next trip. The people at CFC are doing a great job. They are making a difference in this country. The Afghan people are gracious, and they desperately want a better country, and they are getting it. We must see this through to completion.

One word of caution. Please don't apply 21st Century Standards to this country. As a society, I feel that this is about the late 1800's only with electricity and motor vehicles. The social systems will evolve over time. We just need to ensure that they are given the opportunity. The best thing we can offer Afghanistan is security, hope and encouragement. The rest will take care of itself.

For my co-workers at CFC, you guys are the greatest. I admire your resolve and your spirit as you do up to a year away from home. I am not leaving you guys. I am at the other end of the phone line, email and VTC, and I will do all I can to assist. This was an eye opening experience, and although only together for a short period of time, I know I have made lifelong friendships.

I hope to keep this blog going. But life back in the States will seem so mundane compared to this. So we will see what happens.

To the many of you that have commented on the blog, and to all who read this. Thanks.

There are more pictures and stories I want to post, but they will have to wait until I get home.

Cheers!


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

 

This Pisses Me Off

You may have heard the story of Pablo Paredes. He is a Sailor who decided that he did not want to go on deployment to the Middle East with his ship. He may a very public display of his actions. The bottom line is he is a coward. I want to publicly state that he does not represent the typical sailor. Our Navy has thousands of great young people that endure incredible hardships, long working hours and long deployments. They do it with honor, courage and committment. This turkey has none of that, and while he is in Leavenworth, he will have a long time to think about his actions, and My Navy will be better with him gone.

Here is a link with more about him:

http://www.indepundit.com/archive2/2004/12/an_open_letter_1.html#

Here is an email I sent to the misguided youth:

Pablo (FC3)
I have followed your story, and I am quite disappointed in your actions. It is a dark day in our Navy when junior personnel make unilateral decisions to break a promises made when they enlisted. Whether or not you believe in the war in Iraq is not material to your actions. The only thing you accomplished is letting your shipmates down. That to me is unacceptable. While you are in Leavenworth, I hope you have a chance to review the Navy Core Values “Honor, Courage, Commitment”. You hit a homerun in disregarding these values, and that is the worst thing you could have done. Think about your actions. By being as public with your little stunt, you will bring the ire of Navy leadership upon yourself. I have full faith that you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible and that you will be confined, reduced in rank and discharged (hopefully with a dishonorable discharge. (That equates to a felony conviction) look it up, that comes with a lifetime’s worth of baggage that will follow you forever. Nice job, you have embarrassed yourself and my Navy. Hope it was worth it.
Regards
CDR Pete Laches, USN
Combined Forces Command, Afghanistan


Monday, December 13, 2004

 

Good Grammar Not Required:

This is a direct quote from an email from someone relatively high in the chain of command. Please people, read your emails, or have someone else look at them before you hit "send".


"We are currently having too many negligent discharges on this compound; I’m going to recommend to the Commander that we start to issues UCMJ against individuals. Each section needs to ensure that they train their personnel on proper clearing procedures. We can not tolerate this unsafe act, and the lack of individuals to handle loaded weapons."


Sunday, December 12, 2004

 

Awards Ceremony

Here I am receiving a Commander's Coin from our new boss, COL (UK) Stopford:

Maj Patrick, (FR) receives the Army Commendation Medal:

The CFC-A Planners, a motley crew:

Maj Steve, CPT Andy, me and CPT Heidi:


 

Maj Jim's "Present"

Maj Jim begins the task of unwrapping his desk upon his return from Norway. Yes I said Norway, while we remained in Kabul, he went to Norway for a conference. He got to drink real beer, and we got to wrap his desk in Christmas paper. A fair deal, I think:






 

Christmas in the 'Stan

Spending time away from home is difficult. Even more so over the holidays. We try to do as much as we can to get in the holiday spirit. It usually works pretty well.

The stockings were hung by the whiteboard with care....in hopes that a ticket home would soon be there....


Due to security concerns, we need camoflauge Christmas hats...(I am kidding)

I don't think anyone would notice the antlers and bow on the helmet.
In fact, when at the North Pole the wearer could probably get close to the workshop undetected:

Heeerrrrees Santa!

Minimalistic Christmas tree:

Maj. Tim...in real life, he is a Lawyer, yeah, I want HIM on my side....


Capt Heidi, gettin in the Christmas spirit:


Maj Jim went away for a few days...to Norway. We missed him so. Here we are preparing for his return...Nothing like a little desk wrapping to say "we missed you":

The finished product, yes we wrapped the phones, computer, and coffee cup:


 

ND Has a New Coach

The University of Notre Dame hired a new football coach. Charlie Weis, Offensive Coordinator from the New England Patriots, and a '78 graduate. Welcome home Charlie.
I think this is a great hire, and am looking forward to next year.
Now back to your regular programming.


Monday, December 06, 2004

 

Fire is cool....

Here I am burning classified material.

SGT Tim: Hitman...

Crowded bus, just can't imagine a scene like this in the states. Gettin' a little close there buddy aren't you?

Kids like this attach themselves to the sides of vehicles in traffic. They try to sell you things or clean your windshield. But like seagulls, if you feed them, many more will come.

Street scene:

There is a Christmas door decorating contest on the compound. This is my entry, I think it is a lock for winning:


Sunday, December 05, 2004

 

So....What do YOU do for Fun??

Officers, waterguns, and Silly String don't mix....

Col George, from the UK, departed. He was our boss and a pretty good one at that.
Here he is at his farewell party. Yes, the beer is non-alcoholic.

A "friendly" card game.....

The making of "Professor" Jim...."What did you say my waist was?"


Maj Jim gets down to check a rug. He didn't know what I was doing. What am I doing?

Maj Patrick (From France) Doing his Yasser Arafat (He is still dead) impersonation.

Me making the coffee, apparently this doesn't happen too often. Well there are CPTs in the office.

Cleaning up the silly string under a barrage of water pistols:

The aftermath. We better clean this place up before the cleaning guy comes back:

A group goes to a local orphanage each Friday. Maj Chris and some kids:

Soccer is pretty popular in Afghanistan:









Cpt Andy, he is from West Virginia.....


 

Please...

Tell me that this is a joke. http://www.bocanews.com/index.php?src=news&prid=10324&category=Local%20News;

What the heck is going on back home? The election is over. Get on with life. Sheesh!


Thursday, December 02, 2004

 

It's Cold!

Two days ago it rained. It was a cold rain, and now it is cold here in Afghanistan. The day before the rain it was warm. It was warm in Herat. But now it is cold. Not a big fan of the cold.
Whine off.


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