Date: Monday, January 28, 2008, 2:08 AM
Well, here I am once again telling tall tales of my adventure here in Afghanistan. Kind of a slow week but that is OK. Shall I begin?
Ok, well since this week was still snowing, when it cleared up enough, we got clearance to go to our FOB with our new Major. This is his first time out there and he is glad to get a feel of where he is going to be working. We had a lot of supplies so we had to bring 2 trailers
with us. We got there a little after dark and unloaded our gear but more importantly, unloaded mail! Tonight, was getting really cold so we just got the essentials and we planned on unloading everything the next morning. I think the lowest it got this week was -23 and a high of 36.
Well, all the snow has melted and has turned to ice. Ice is very slippery. Yes, I fell lots of times when I did not have my YAK TRAX on .But since we had to go up there and show the major where everything was, he was getting a tour and I was coordinating putting some more cop-in-the-boxes up there on thehill for the ABP to live in and to work out of.
When the crane started working, I was able to get the connexes unloaded and told the driver to go down the hill and unload the other connexes down at the ABP HQ. He did this but he
needed help getting back up the hill. So, I have to get 4 Humvees, rope and pull him up the hill. This is easier said than done. It just a real big pain in the butt. (Note: a connex is a lot like the trailer on a semi-truck except made of steel). Since we had to leave late from last week, all of our connexes were up here. The 3 cop-in-the-boxes and 1 20’ connex for our gear. We had to unload the gear first so we got 40 sheets of plywood out and 30 100lb bags of concrete out for the ABP. This is all for them. This
is to help with winterization issues. Mainly we were up here to get the new people up here and to get situated more.
We meet with the ABP commander too and introduce ourselves. We tell him that the cement and plywood is for him to get to the OP’s along the border. We cannot go out to them because the roads are still blocked with snow. We just let him know to get the items to the OP’s later that week.
We also got the other team up here finally. They are working the Afghan National Police (ANP) in the area. They make it up Thursday the night before we are supposed to go back to Gardez. They were supposed to come up with us 3 weeks ago but have been snowed in. They make it up and bring some of our mail to us. WOOHOO!!!
We get a SITREP (SITuation REPort) on the road conditions. They say it is not too bad but watch for black ice especially in the shaded areas along the Ahman Kheil pass. We have to travel this pass the next day and have about a 1-hour window to clear the pass.
We travel back to Gardez and the pass is not really that bad. In fact, it was worse when we drove to go there a few days earlier. There has been no snow and the sun has been shining and that melts a lot of the snow. We make plans to go to Camp Phoenix in Kabul for Saturday. We have a lot of work to do there and we are also dropping off one of our men for R&R. He is going home for 15 days.
We make our plans and get our clearance to travel but notice not one, not two but 3 leaks of fluid under a Humvee. We tell the driver to go and just fill the fluids and to bring them to maintenance on Sunday. He goes and we wait and wait and wait and wonder just where the Hell this guy is. Turns out, he had the vehicle checked for services and everything. The major is now irate. We have missed our leave time and we run the risk of not being able to complete our mission there (in Camp Phoenix). We have an appt at 1330 and we tell them that we are going to be late and they are cool with it and set up an appt for us at 1500. That is good. Gives us an extra hour and a half to make it there. Well, we still are almost late to this appt because the corps decided to change radio frequencies and did not tell us so we have to get those filled too. We finally start to roll over 2 hours later!
We go through the Tera Pass (elevation 9800 ft plus) and it is not too bad a drive. We get on the northern side of the pass and there is no snow at all. Even though Kabul is 4 hours north of us, the elevation is over 2000 feet lower. They do not have any snow or ice at all in Kabul. This is good news. Means we can drive faster and make up some time. We get there and have about ½ hour before our appt. We go to the supply store and pick up some supplies and then head over to the
FOO office to clear FOO funds. We do our thing at FOO and since we are late in getting to Kabul and it will be dark in a few hours, we decide to stay the night there at Camp Phoenix. We clear FOO and all my receipts add up correctly so we are good to go. I go to the B-hut where I am staying and the other guy goes to the tent so that he can leave today or tomorrow.
I can’t believe how clear the sky is and it is relatively warm compared to what I am used to (it is actually in the low 20’s) but still feels really nice. The humidity has a lot to play with the temperature.
The humidity stays around 19-20%. I go to the chow hall and have a great supper. Good food and I eat a lot and do not get full but am satisfied at how I feel. I go back to the B-hut and see what time we have to leave and then I go to the PX to look around and see what all stuff they have.
We get up and make our way to the vehicles and go on our merry way back to Gardez. We arrive around noon and then I go to the chow hall, the bazaar and then the mail room to see if I have any mail. (I do!). I just run errands here all day and get my stuff situated for the convoy back to Jaji. Oh, but wait, the vehicles are really torn up and are due for services so it looks like we are going to be here for a while now.
See, not too much going on. Rather boring but that is good at times. I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Talk to everyone soon!
203rd ARSIC-E RPAT
FOB Gardez/Camp Lightning
APO AE 09354
(These e-mails are unedited and straight from this soldier’s mouth).
-Lieutenant Colonel, Jason Carter
Jason lives in Hazel Green, AL with his wife, Linda. He has served for over 21 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