Date: Friday, February 1, 2008, 8:42 AM Hello everyone once again.
This is Captain Jason Carter coming to you from the beautiful mountain of Afghanistan. Shall I begin my tale of this week’s exciting adventures? Shall I?
This week found us on several convoys for our missions. We spent a
few days in Kabul and Gardez. We went to Kabul to drop off a soldier so he can go on leave. We had to take care of some administrative business this week as well. Before we leave Gardez on this very cold morning, we notice that one of the vehicles has three leaks. We tell the maintenance sergeant, and we get enough fluid to get us to and back from Kabul. Oh, when we get ready to leave, we discover that the radio freqs have changed, so we have to get that filled too. We leave
Gardez roughly 3 hours late.
We took our snow chains off earlier that day because it has been reported that the Tera Pass is clear to all traffic. This is the pass that is over 9500ft elevation. We are on the south side of the pass heading north to Kabul. The pass is not bad at all. There are
some slick, icy spots but this is easier driving than the pass at Ahman
Kheil. We get to the top of the pass, and it is like a totally different place. There is no snow or ice at all! Even though we are heading north, the elevation is over 2000 feet lower than Gardez.
They have no snow on the roads, and the roads are dry. We drive the
Humvees faster so they can ‘stretch their legs,’ and it is good for the
engine too. We make up a lot of time on this part of the road. This
is one of the few paved roads in the country. It is not a bad road at
all. I’ve seen worse and driven on worse than this in the United States.
We arrive in Kabul just as lunch is ending but the men go to the PX
and get something to eat there. I have business to take care of. I
take care of my business and by the time I finish up, it is after
1700. No use in going back to Gardez tonight, so we stay the night in
Kabul. It is fairly warm tonight compared to what I am used to. We
will drive to Gardez the next day and get our vehicles looked at there
when we get back.
The next morning, it is very calm but blistering cold! (I later learn
that the high was 5). Before we leave, I stop to see a buddy of mine
and see how his leave was. We are talking, and the subject of the ice
and snow comes up, and I tell him that we all keep falling, and he
says ‘hold on.’ He then gives me these things for my boots that have spikes on the bottom, and they are made for walking on the ice. I tell him thank you, and we talk a bit more and then it is time to leave.
We make it back to Gardez by noon, and I still have time to go to the bazaar. I go and buy a lot of movies. Since I have not been able to go there in a few weeks, I buy several of the latest releases. After lunch, we take our vehicles to the shop. Surprise, surprise! The vehicle with the leaks is deadlined so we cannot drive it at all until it is fixed. It looks like we are going to be here for a few days. Not too bad. We have work that needs to be done here.
One of the things that we have to get settled in our new Nomex uniforms. They are fire retardant, and since there was a soldier that died from burns after he hit an IED, they issue the new uniforms to us. They look the same as regular ACU’s but have a few things different on them.
On Tuesday, we get cleared to come up to Jaji. There is little snow on the ground since a lot of it has melted with the warmer temperatures. We stop by the 82nd HQ and get their mail. There are twenty-two bags of mail to arrive. It seems all flights have been canceled lately, and they have not received any mail in two weeks. We are glad to help where we can. The road is still snow covered but not icy. Since the skies are clear, you can see the blue sky, but that means it will be that much colder that night. Not to worry since we are going back to our b-hut and it is warm in there.
Wednesday finds us taking care of our connex and shed. We organize the shed (finally) and get our connex organized. The entire 20′ connex is ours, but we share with our sister unit here, the ANP ETT’s (Afghan National Police). We are Border Police ETT’s.
We do this and then paperwork for some, for some other issues. The officers and senior NCO’s have a meeting to discuss what the rest of he week will entail. Not too much to happen up here. We want to take a trip to the border, but it is still snowed in and impassable.
We are working on something for the ABP HQ here, so we all have work to do.
Thursday, as usual, we start the day with a meeting. During this meeting, the major calls me upfront. He then asks me if today is my birthday, it is, and then the team sings Happy Birthday to me! This is really nice, and I am a little embarrassed. Things are looking good
today. When we finish up the meeting, the major tells us that we have a formation at 1300 at the flagpole. There, another soldier, SPC White and I, are awarded our Combat
Infantryman’s Badges! It is awarded for being actively engaged in ground combat with an enemy of the United States. He is presented his award first, and then I am. The
major tells me to stand fast, and a decoration order is read. It is for my Purple Heart! This is for wounds received in action. (If you remember I was wounded by shrapnel in a firefight on 11-12 October). I am so happy to be awarded both awards and on my birthday to boot!! Not too bad for a 36th birthday. It is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Ok, a little trivia time.
The Purple Heart is the oldest award in the US Armed Forces. In 1782, George Washington ordered a decoration made for military merit. It was awarded times. On the back of the medal are the words ‘For Military Merit.’ On the front is a portrait of George Washington. Now, it is awarded for wounds or death resulting from Combat. Aside from today being my birthday, for supper, we have steak, lobster tails, and crab legs. YUMMY! This reminds me of back home where we celebrate my birthday and my dad’s by going to an all you can eat seafood buffet.
Today is spent finishing up more paperwork and other things that have to be done. We get our reports finished and tonight is shower night. YEAH!!
Well, I know this may be long, but a lot happened this past week. I hope you enjoyed reading this e-mail. The pictures are some mountains east of Gardez, a close up of a CIB, a closeup of a PH certificate and me with our unit guide on. I hope everyone has a great week and I will talk to everyone soon!
-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