Friday, July 17, 2009

Journal 5-9 July

July 5, 2009

Chapel service. Tom Schwartz and I got up for a later breakfast and walked down to the Enduring Faith Chapel (Operation Enduring Freedom) for the liturgical protestant service (Episcopal) at 0830 hours. I noticed the traditional Protestant service was at 1900 hours and decided I would return for that one as well: I did not. Got caught up with doing some work and talking with Lora on Skype. The service was good: Faith was the topic. God is more interested in the quality of our faith than in the quantity. All we need is a small amount for Him to work with. There are certain religious groups, “Name it, Claim it” who believe that the quality of your life is a direct result of the quantity of your faith, that we can somehow manipulate God to give us more if we only show more faith. Never heard it put quite like that. Attended CIDNE training at 1000. CIDNE is the database of IED activity for Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bagram July 5, 2009

July 6-7, 2009

Work at TF Paladin. Got a desk in the CIDNE shop and use of their unclassified WiFi. Found out I am going to FOB Shank, vice FOB Fenty. Lot more IED activity at Shank. Ray is still going to Fenty and is upset that he won’t have another Leonie employee with him. I think he will eventually end up at Shank with me given the amount of activity, but we shall see.

Bagram July 7, 2009

July 8, 2009

Attended Indoctrination training and heard from several different speakers: Assymetric Wargare Group (AWG), Counter-IED Expolitation Cell (CEXC), Counter-IED Operations and Intelligence Center (COIC), Electronic Warfare office (EWO), Counter-IED Radiofrequency & Electronic Warfare (CREW), Law Enforcement (LEP), Counter-Intelligence/Targeting (CITP)
In other words, a lot of different groups all attacking the IED problem. There are others...

Bought a telephone, today. It’s a Samsung Afghani version. I have to load Afghani credits on it and can then call the States at $0.25/minute. Skype wasn’t cutting it – satellite internet too sporadic.

Bagram July 8, 2009

July 9, 2009

Tom Schwartz was told to go to TF South (Kandahar) yesterday. He arranged a flight with S3 Air (a Navy P-3 pilot). Tom got to the PAX terminal only to discover his plane to Kandahar was inoperable. P-3 pilot then said, “OK, try again tomorrow.” Tom did. Same broke plane. Tom went to the PAX desk and arranged his own flight. When he told me how head-up-butt the S3 Air was, I decided to let me fingers do the walking and called around and was able to arrange a Chinook helo the same day heading to FOB Shank! Packed my bags, got a ride to the rotary wing terminal and caught the Chinook (double rotor helicopter). Oh, the rotary PAX terminal had no idea this bird was coming in, nor any of the other birds headed to Shank that day. I had to watch for the thing to land and TELL THEM it was here! So much for customer service. I tell ya, if you don’t know where you are going in this country AND how to get there, you won’t. The helo ride was quite smooth and uneventful – just the way I like my helo rides. The rear gunner sat off the tail which was lowered. I sat toward the back and got to look out and watch the countryside go by. Very beautiful country. Lots of forested areas, fields of wheat, adobe style housing and fences. Such a mountainous country, though. We were climbing, dipping and swerving over, down and around peaks, some of which were snow-capped. I went from 4000 feet elevation at Bagram to 7000 feet at FOB Shank but have not really noticed a breathing problem – even when on the elliptical machine. Arrived at FOB Shank: home of Task Force Spartan and the 3rd Brigade 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, NY here in Logar Province. Got a ride with Specialist Post on a gator, a 6-wheeled heavy lift golf cart over to the East side HQ where I had to charm my way to a ride in an up-armored HMMVV “across the street” to the West side. Crossing the street is a big deal, apparently, because it’s technically off the FOB even though the Army has guard towers posted that can see all angles – no one would be able to do anything without getting shot. This is a rural setting, too, with no trees in the immediate vicinity. MSgt Gonzalez put me up in his 6-man hooch for the night. He will find me a permanent bed-down tomorrow. Good night.

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