Afghanistan, September 8, 2007
Hello all once again. It’s me, Captain Carter again with this weeks’ exciting tales of my missions in Afghanistan. Well, what I can share anyways.
OK, instead of leaving out this past Tuesday, we were told that our vehicles were still down and that we would have to postpone our mission unless they could get another vehicle up and running. Well, one of our vehicles is still down because the frame is bent so that is getting repaired and will take another week. The mechanics got a vehicle for us up and running so we went on our mission later than normal but still, it is a good idea to vary our schedule.
We leave Wednesday and go first to Chawney and then to Spina Shegha. We bring a trailer full of items for us to use and to give to the ABP. We unload the trailer at Spina Shegha and get settled more into our new TOC (Tactical Operations Center). As some men are doing this, others are getting gear that has been donated by people from all over the US to help keep not only us warm but the ABP as well. We have socks, coats, sweaters, toboggans, personal hygiene items and rain coats and we all put them in piles and we tell the ABP to come by one by one and get what items they need. The first one to go through was a guy that was helping us all morning. He got first pick and then the men that were working hard went and then the other men went too. We did this at Spina Shegha, BCP 12 and then in Chawney at the ABP Headquarters. All night long, the men were coming up to us and showing off their ‘new’ clothes. It is really a good feeling to give to those less fortunate. This is for you America. THANK YOU!!!
Since we were only planning on staying 2 days here, it was a real quick mission but one that had to be done. We needed to get the supplies dropped off, pay the carpenter for some more work that he did (he built us 2 tables and 4 benches for us and the Afghans alike) and discuss with the commanders what we were going to be doing the next time we are up here.
Oh, one thing that happened was that the first day, we sent our interpreter into a village called Ali Kheil to buy gasoline and food. He gets it and all is fine. The next day, we need more gas and food so we go back into the same ville and try to buy some more. The word here is ‘try’. We set up security and a few men get out, myself included, to buy some things. First, the gas man tells us that we have to transfer our money to Pakistani rupees first. We tell him that we cannot do that. He then tells us the price for a liter of gas is 95 Afghani. I ask him why the price increase because yesterday, it was only 80 Afghani. He then gets all pissy and tells us that he is sold out of gasoline. I ask him if he is sold out, then why is this other vehicle filling up. What is he getting, air? He then gets even more pissy and leaves. We already do not like this ville but this is the only one close by.
We leave him and go to another gas place and he too is closed. We look for some other items that we need but do not find any. Next, we try to buy some spicy meat and kabobs. Ok, let me explain these new terms. Kabobs are just like back home except it is a few pieces of meat and fat on a stick. They are very, very good. Spicy meat is a term that we came up with to describe meat that is very spicy, hence spicy meat. It is a piece of meat, a lot like sausage but the size of a hamburger patty. It is so spicy that after the second chew, you are ready to drink a bottle of water. We know that the spices are there to kill any bacteria that may be present because their standards of handling meat is a lot different because the USDA does not inspect them. It is good food though.
Getting back to the story, we are in the ville and we can smell the meat cooking so we send our terp to go get some kabobs. They tell us they are sold out. We tell him to get some spicy meat and they are sold out. We look up and see them cooking kabobs and spicy meat. I tell the Major that we need to leave because they are not selling anything to us because we are Americans and the Taliban must be in the town. He agrees and we leave to go back to the next closest town, Chawney which is just 10 miles but over an hours drive away. I do not like going there because of the IED that exploded there last week but we have to. We stop at a place that we have been before. We buy 40 liters of gas for like 3400 Afghani (50 Afghani = $1 US). We try to buy food but we can see the place is closed. While there, we see a child that fell off either a jingle truck or roof but is really scraped up badly. He is about 4 or 5 and he is the shop owner’s son. We call the medic and she comes up and reluctantly, the boy, who is scared, lets her take a look at him. She changes his bandages, cleans his cuts and bruises and gives him some medicine. She also re-wraps his bandage on his head. We get our supplies and leave back to Spina Shegha. We stay the night there and plan to leave early the next morning back to Gardez.
We leave early Friday morning and go back to Chawney to bring them some clothing items (also known as Humanitarian Aid [HA]) and to visit the hospital (clinic) there. We take the medic, terp and 3 escorts. We go in no less than 3 men because of the IED that exploded last week. We go and talk with a doctor and nurse that speaks better English than some Americans. We ask how the two boys that were injured last week are doing. They are doing better. The most seriously injured one is doing really well while his brother, who was hit by shrapnel in the lower back, lost a kidney and is recovering slowly. While we are in the clinic, the vehicles are being topped off with fuel by the engineers that are up there. They take good care of us by giving us fuel and since we go up there every week, we deliver their mail to them. We take some letters to mail home and we pick up mail to take to them next week. It is the least we can do. We then leave there and go to Ahmen Kheil for a very quick visit. It does not take 15 minutes. After that, we are on the road again back to Gardez and Friday night’s meal!
We get to Gardez early (1500) and are told some information. Effective immediately, all passes are cancelled. This means my mid-tour leave in February is gone. However, we are given, not 15 days R&R, but 18 days R&R, 15 day leave and a 3-day pass. This is good news and bad news. Since my leave is at 6 months; I have 6 months left in country with no break. Oh, well. I am not complaining one way or the other. I hear some other information about supper tonight. It is not steak and lobster but steak and crab legs! WOOHOO!!! I love crab legs even better than lobster so I pig out. I get a big T-bone steak and some crab legs. These are the king crab legs and not the smaller snow crab (which is just as good). I devour my steak and start on my crab legs. I finish up around 1820 and chow ends at 1830. Even more special is that mail ran while we were out and I have some mail for me too!
Today is a down day of sorts. Yes, we still have things to do but for the most part, it is a recovery day. I go to the bazaar and buy some movies. They are cheap and some of them will actually work, ha ha. What does not work, we take back anyway.
Well that is about all from here. I took some pictures of our living area in Spina Shegha. It is a building that was burned back in May. We are making do with what we have there. All the black marks are burn marks on the walls.
That is about is here. I’ll talk to everyone soon. Bye!!!
-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.”