Afghanistan, September 28, 2007
Hello everyone! Once again time for the Adventures of Captain Jason Carter here in beautiful (but getting colder) Afghanistan!!! Let me get to my story.
Ok, so this week, I did not go with my team to the border. Instead, I made a 4 day 4 stop convoy down to the south and to the west of us. I was asked to come on this trip because I had to get some gear down in Orgun-e and because I know the area really well. Our first stop was Gahzni. Here we stayed the night and checked out the living arrangements. They still do not have a cook so they cook all their own meals. So we cooked out steaks and had a great time. We enjoyed a cup of coffee after supper. I also ran into Major Mike Tomberlin. He is one of my buddies from Alabama, and he has been recently promoted. I last saw him 2 months ago in Kabul. We talked a lot and got caught up on the latest gossip. I was glad to see him. I also saw some New York guys that I trained with in Kansas that I have not seen since Kuwait. They are good guys. We stayed the night here and then left to go down to Orgun-e the next morning.
We get to Orgun-e in a few hours. It is one of the worst roads that I have traveled on, very bumpy and dusty and the worst driving for 2-3 hours. We get there and then go to eat. We get sleeping arrangements and then do our thing. I went to try and get my gear that I had left when I was stationed there when I first got in country. I try to get the key that should be the right one but it is not. After 3 hours, I find the key and get my gear. I am missing my folding chair and personal cell phone 🙁 but other than that, everything is there to the best of my knowledge. At chow that night, I see now Major Scott Veach. He got his finger slammed in the door of a Humvee. The doors weigh about 650 lbs. His finger got smashed. The doctor put a pin in his finger to help the bones heal. His finger is now black. It was so gross looking. It is swollen to the size of a hot dog but Scott seems to be doing fine. He is a good guy. We finish supper and go to the MWR (Morale Welfare & Recreation) room to use the phones and computers. This is a nice facility now. It is named after 2 of 4 men who were killed by an IED in July. One of the soldiers was 3 days shy of his 20th birthday. We spend a few hours in there and then get ready for bed. I slept like a baby but helicopters that kept landing all night long kept waking other men up. Don’t know what for but it did not bother me any.
The next morning, we plan to go to FOB Rushmore in the town of Sharona (mmmmmm my Sharona)! Remember the cool song by the Knack? If you do, then the joke is funny. Hahaha If not, get someone to explain it to you. Ok, so we plan to drive to Sharona and stay at the FOB there. It is a simple 2-3 hour drive that I have made many, many times before. I’d say close to 30. Anyways, when we are getting briefed that morning, we are told of a possible IED and ambush site there. Close to a town that is Taliban and US unfriendly friendly. The town is named Sar Hawza.
Ok, so we leave and go on our merry way. BTW- we have no commo because of a system we have on our vehicle. We can only communicate with 1 vehicle and then it is only sometimes. Well, we are 2 km from this town and then I see the 1st vehicle gunner fire his M240B machine gun towards the 9 0’clock position. I am like WTF, over? We cannot hear any commo but we find out that he saw 2-3 ACM (Anti-Coalition Militia), look surprised, then take up a fighting position and fire at us! Almost at the same instant, I see puffs of dirt fly up from bullets impacting a few feet in front of me. I ask my gunner if he sees anything and he cannot ID the target. I tell him to continue to scan his sector (away from the firing) in case this is a 2-sided ambush. I can hear the other .50 cal machine gun from the rear truck engage the targets while I scan our sector and look for any signs of another ambush. Our jamming system is going off like crazy. (What I can tell you is that we use a jamming system that jams systems that the enemy use to detonate IED’s). One of the men in the other truck says that he saw a guy with a device in his hand and it looks like he is trying to get it to work. Must be like a detonator for an IED. Since this is only a 2-3-man team, they were most likely trying to detonate an IED under us.
A few minutes later, we eliminate the threat without any losses of US personnel. We travel on to Sar Hawza and realize that the 82nd Airborne Division is conducting a meeting with local officials. What we can tell is that the insurgents had planned an ambush on the 82nd and when we came up unexpectedly, the bad guys panicked and started shooting at us. We were not even supposed to be on that road but we changed at the last minute. Any day that the US forces do not take casualties is a good day indeed. BTW, this is the 2nd TIC that I have been in 5 days! Hopefully, the rest of the trip goes smoothly. We meet up with the 82nd and tell them where and what happened. (I hear later they searched the area and found 2 enemy KIA). We travel the rest of the way and it is uneventful. We arrive at FOB Rushmore and report what happened and then settle down and have lunch and get our accommodations for the night squared away. It had been several months since I had been here but I am familiar with the base. I meet up with a buddy of mine. A Romanian Major that we call ‘Nino’. We talk for a few minutes and it is good to see him again. We stay the rest of the day there. Some sleep, some play cards and some just visit and socialize. This is what I do. I talk to some guys there that my driver SSgt Patterson, USAF, knows. We also relax and write out our witness and sworn statements from our TIC earlier that day. After chow, we go out by the fire pit and have some coffee and socialize some more. There is a Texas Hold ‘em game going on later and I play it. I get out fairly quickly but I have fun anyways. I make a couple of phone calls and then take a shower and go to bed around 2200. The next day, we plan to go back to Gardez.
The route we are taking is not too safe. Out of 26 days that month, there have been 14 attacks on US convoys. We mount up and travel back to Gardez and we get here around 1100 without any incident. I download my gear and unpack my bags and then try to take care of some business. In the chow hall, I see Major Brooks. Turns out, they did not go to Jaji this week. Problems with the weapons mounts for the machine guns kept them from going out. I tell him about what all went on and that some men from his unit told to tell him “Hi”. I then take care of some more paperwork and then just try to relax. I go to bed about 0100 this morning. I watched the Bad News Bears with Billy Bob Thornton, very funny movie.
Today, I finish up my sworn statements and other paperwork involved for my CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) and help SSGT Patterson fill his out. I also go to the bazaar and get some more movies that just came out. Before I left the US, I had like 5 movies on DVD. Now, I think I have over 150! But at $2 each, it is not bad. Even if they are not the best quality (read: bootleg, but that is such a harsh word) the price is worth it. Some of them are actually good copies. They even make some, where they put up to 20 movies on a single DVD. Not bad either.
Tomorrow, we have a meeting with the 82nd Airborne Division about the new policies in the area. Since they are taking over the battle space, we fall under them in our chain of command.
Well, folks, that is about all going on here for this week. Talk to you 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