Hello once again, and what a past few days it has been. Yes, I know that I usually send this out on Friday but we were still on a mission yesterday and I got back late.
Let me start by saying that we have been in Gardez for the past 2 weeks waiting on parts for our vehicles to be fixed. We picked up a brand new Humvee the other day and we are breaking it in fine. Oh, we have a new jack in the vehicle, and when we used it for the first time, it broke. More about that later. Ok, our vehicle is deadlined because it needs new ball joints. There are more going down everyday for this problem. We make do with what we have.
We go to Kabul in order to draw FOO funds. These are funds that we can spend with the Afghan people to buy things for improvements. For example, a generator, propane, maintenance on their living quarters, improvements to the living quarters and building walls for protecting against attack and things. After a huge cluster with the paperwork missing for FOO, we finally get to draw FOO. We draw FOO and we get 746,000 Afghan ($15K US). We get this amount every month to spend on the local economy. I am the FOO Pay Agent. I am in charge of all that money, and I am responsible for seeing that it is spent properly. Does not sound too bad, but I have to carry that money everywhere, since I am responsible for it. We spend some FOO on a propane tank and an extension cord. That is for us to use at the checkpoints along the AF/PK border where we live. We were going to buy a generator but we could not find one that was big enough for our use.
At BCP 12 (Border Checkpoint), we meet with an electrician about getting an estimate to run electricity to the BCP. We get an estimate and since he is the only one that shows up to meet with us, he will get the contract on Tuesday. It will cost us 22500 Afghan (50 Afghan = $1.00 US). Of course, if he does a good job, he will continue to get other and larger contracts. We have 9 checkpoints that we need work on.
We spend the night on the AF/PK border that night at BCP 12. I do not feel worried at all even though they had a firefight there last May. We hear of a warning of 8 truckloads of Taliban trying to sneak through Spanna Shigha. This turns out to be nothing so we just stay the night there.
The next day, we go to Spanna Shigha since we have work to do on this CP. This is a place of another firefight last May. The PK overran the position and burned everything inside the building there and shot up 2 trucks full of holes and shot them with an RPG, which caught the cab of the truck on fire, and it too burned up. We meet with contractors and come up with an estimate to build an 8-10 ft. tall wall around the whole building to include 4 watchtowers. This is what the ABP commander wants and he will get it. We stay the night there and when it comes my turn to pull guard duty from 0200-0300, it is so freezing cold. It was 49 when I took over guard and I’d say the temp dropped another 5 degrees or so. It was so cold that by the end of my shift and I woke my replacement, I could not sleep it was so cold. Of course, I still do not have a sleeping bag since mine fell out of the vehicle a month ago. Anyways, the sun comes up and it gets nice and warm and then the clouds move in and with them, rain.
We finish up here and go back to BCP 12 to see about getting a wall built around another CP on the border. By the time we get up there, it is drizzling very nicely and the fog is so thick that we cannot see some of the places we need to see. We do not want to be up here when it rains because it is too dangerous to come down when it is raining. I make the decision to stay there for 10 minutes and no longer. It is starting to rain heavier now and we get the measurements and head back down the mountain to where a 4 wheel drive Ford Ranger got stuck in the mud. After working on that for about 30 minutes, we get it unstuck with the other vehicle’s winch. Now, we see it is out of fuel and they did not fill up the spare tank. It does have enough fuel to get to the bottom of the hill and back to BCP 12. Wee arrive there, meet again with the contractors and tell them to submit a bid by Monday for the contract to be awarded Tuesday.
So we start to go back to Gardez when the people in my vehicle hear a weird sound. Like air rushing out. Turns out, we cut a right front tire down and it is flat. We get our jack out to jack the Humvee up and the jack is broken. We get another brand new jack out of our brand new Humvee and it is broken too. We get another jack and it will not jack the truck up enough so we get yet another jack to discover that it is broken too. We get another one and by hitting it on rocks we get it to work. We use that jack and another one to get the truck up. Oh, before this, we find out that an air drill put on the lug nuts. So we struggle to get them off. We finally get them off and one and a half hours later, we are on the way home again. Along the way, we have to pass a jingle truck that is not over enough and the driver smashes the mirror into them and the mirror shatters into a million pieces.
Along the route back in, we see that we are not going to make it back in time for chow. Remember Friday is steak and lobster. We call back to the FOB and tell them to keep 15 plates for the men coming in that are hungry, tired, wet and miserable and could use a good shower. The DFAC (Dining Facility) saves us some plates. We get them and discover that it is steak and BBQ ribs. Seems they are saving the lobster to serve tomorrow. Good thing that we are off, well, in recovery status until Monday when we get ready to do it all over again. All in all, it was not a bad week.
Well, I hope you enjoy the pictures and I’ll talk to you soon!
-Major Jason Carter
Jason lives in Hazel Green, AL with his wife, Linda. He has served for 19 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.”