September 17, 2007
Hello everyone! Just wanted to send out my weekly e-mail to let everyone know that I am OK. Yes, I m fine. Now, on with the news here.
Yep, we went on our weekly mission with 3 vehicles. When we got about 30
minutes outside of Gardez, the transmission in one of the vehicles started
messing up. We got that taken care he mean time it and it went about 5
minutes and got hot. We stopped on the side of the road and had to add
water to the radiator. It was very low. Keep in mind; this is the same
vehicle GOING on the mission. Not returning but going. Anyhow, a few more
minutes down the line, the rear axle breaks! Yep, same vehicle, more problems.
So there we are, not 30 minutes outside of Gardez and we are down to two
vehicles. SOP would have us tow the vehicle back and continue with two
vehicles. Well, then the 1SG says that he can fix it for now. Well, there we
are on the road, pulling security and trying to fix the vehicle. Three hours
later, we get the vehicle fixed. We have to take bolts out of the other
vehicles to fix it. We are going to CM (Charlie Mike = Continue Mission).
What is normally a 3 ½ – 4 hour drive takes us over 7 hours!!!
We drive the vehicles to Chawney and link up with the engineers there while more men and I go to the store to buy items that we had on order for the ABP. We buy the items and then link up with the engineers. We deliver their mail to them. This is the first mail that they have received in almost a month! They are so happy to get mail and tell us they do not care how messed up our vehicles are. Keep delivering mail and they will fix our vehicles.
We check the status of the vehicles and it is not good. The vehicle with all the
problems gets fixed. We check my vehicle, #H79 (we call her “The Beast”) and
discover that only 1 lug nut is holding the right front tire on! WTF? Where
did it go? Well, when the mechanic starts to look at the wheel, it falls off
by itself! If that would have come loose when we were driving on the
mountain, well, it is a 2000’+ drop to the bottom. Our vehicle is kind of
broken in other parts too so we end up spending the night there in Chawney
with the engineers. We are going to have to fix the vehicle first thing in
Our vehicle gets fixed and we are on the way to Spina Shegha. One more hour
down the road and we are there. The first thing that we do is promote two of
our men. They choose to be promoted in front of the ABP. SPC Thompson is now a Corporal and 1LT Rushing is now a Captain. We end up staying there until time to come home. When we get there, we leave all our personal gear in the vehicles. We are going to paint the rooms we stay in. Remember from my last e-mail how dirty they were. Well, we are going to paint them white. We get our paint ready and while some are painting, others are getting the generator fueled up and serviced.
We paint the room with some paint that is so thick, you could almost chew it.
We do our best and plan to paint the other rooms this week but this time, we
are going to buy some paint thinner too. The room is looking better already.
See the attached pictures.
Well, we are going to help the ABP get structured more like a true entity now
so that the information flow works. We tell the ABP XO to name soldiers to
take positions of the S-1 (Personnel) S-2 (Intelligence) S-3 (Operations) and
S-4 (Supply). Well, he comes up and tells us that he will do everything. We
tell him BS! We are trying to help him and his country and there is too
much for one person to handle. If we are going to help him, he will do as we
ask or we will not help him anymore. Period. The XO calls some men in and
the S-4 guy is sick.
We go over how the new structure of the ABP will be. All of us discuss this
with each other and the XO is pleased. He wants to learn and is willing to
let us help him. The meeting takes most of the day but this is what we needed
(and had) to do.
Well, Friday comes and we get ready to leave at 0830. At 0815, we notice
that, yes, believe it or not, we have yet another FLAT TIRE!!! Yep! The 6th
one that I have had since I’ve been in this country. 4 months here and 6 flat
tires. We get busy and change the tire in a speed that a NASCAR pit crew
would admire and we are on our way.
We stop in Chawney and order some more items for the ABP. We place a very
large order with the shop keeper and ask him to have the items for pick up
when we go there this week. While we are doing this, the crew goes to the
engineers to eat and load up outgoing mail and other duties. Myself, Major B,
CPT R and A1C (Airman First Class) Lopez, our medic and the two terps go to
the clinic to visit and drop off some supplies. Since the medic is a female,
she goes into the female clinic while we pull guard, visits with the women
there, sees a 3 month old baby and drops off supplies. Men are not allowed in
the clinic but when there were some children injured by a bomb, we went in
there to take care of them before they were MEDEVACED out on a Dust-off.
Well, we get ready to go and start our trip home. An uneventful 4 hour trip
home and we are back at FOB Lightning and we are ready for Friday night’s
meal, steak and lobster! Yep another week down. I am not too full and
although I know I can eat even more, I decide not to before I get too sick
from overeating, like how you feel after a buffet.
We have other duties to do this weekend while we are back in camp. Our
vehicles have to be serviced. Our weapons have to be cleaned and we also have a little chance to rest up before next week. Turns out, two vehicles are
deadlined because they have cracked windshields. This would not matter
normally but they are ballistic windshields and are mandatory to be replaced
if they are cracked. They are roughly 3 inches thick and will stop (supposed
to be able to stop) an RPG round. We have to make a trip to Kabul soon because we have to clear FOO funds.
Well, that is about all from here. I’ll write more next week. Talk to everyone soon!!!
-Major Jason Carter
Jason lives in Hazel Green, AL with his wife, Linda. He has served for over 20 years and had a total of 41 months active duty deployed after 9/11/01. He is a senior buyer in the electronic manufacturing industry and serves his country proudly in the Alabama National Guard. In his spare time he likes to metal detect, not only to stumble upon a few treasures, but to learn about the history of a place as well. “My greatest hope is that we all remember the sacrifices soldiers make to each other and their country.”