Thursday, January 3, 2008, 9:45 AM Hello everyone! It’s me, Captain Carter, coming to you live from Afghanistan where the brutally cold nights are as pretty as the days are. Let’s begin.
Well, this week saw a few different things. We have new people that are part of our team now. They are 4 more men, one from New York State and 3 from Kentucky. They are the new guys that are going to take the place of some men that are leaving. We are losing 2 men (their tour is up) and we are gaining 4. They went to training in Kansas too.
We took 3 of the new men up here to FOB Hererra with us this week so that they can get situated and see the area that they will be working in. We went to Spina Shegha and gave them a tour of where we were and where we lived and what it was like to live there.
We also went to the ABP HQ and met their new commander. He is a nice guy that I think will be good for them. This visit for the new men was to see the area and get a chance to download some of their gear and set up their rooms since their Major is taking over for our Major whose tour is up and is leaving.
One of the new men is a medic. He is an EMT in civilian life but he is a combat medic who has served in Iraq already. He got his ‘baptism by fire’ today. We had one of the 82nd guys get burned over 50% of his body while burning trash. Seems he fell into the fire pit and there was gasoline involved and he got burned badly. He suffered 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns over his arms, legs, groin and torso. He got medevac’d to BAF to go to Germany. He will take a long time to recover but at least he is expected to recover fully. Good thing is that his scars will be covered up and it is not disfiguring. God Speed!
What else…let’s see. It is very cold up here. It has been getting into the low teens and single digits at night. Yes, some of you are used to these temperatures but me, being from and raised in the Deep South, this is something that will take some getting used to. I love the snow though. It’s supposed to snow for the next 7-10 days. WOOHOO!!! I love the snow.
That reminds me. I told you the words for snow in Dari and Pashtu so I will tell you 2 more words. Ok, when you tell someone ‘Thank you’, in Dari you say ‘Tashakur’. In Pashtu, you say ‘Manana’. I’ll start to try to say a new phrase every week. I think that will help you understand just how different the dialects are here. Same country, different languages in different parts of the country. In training, we had over 90 hours of Dari class. We came over here expecting to at least know some words but in the Southern part of Afghanistan, they use Pashtu.
I hope that everyone enjoys reading the letters from a war zone as much as I love writing them. When I was home on leave, I was asked if the war was as bad as the news said that it was. I told them do not believe the news and believe what someone that has firsthand knowledge of what is going on over here is telling them. The news just wants to report the bad. Never mind the smiles on kids when we throw them some candy or beanie babies. Never mind the blessings that we get when we pass out band-aids and other simple medicines to the clinic. You’ll never see those images on TV but take it from me, there are great things happening over here. This is a great mission. The kids are the future of Afghanistan and if we can win the hearts and minds of these children, this country will be a much better place for everyone. Sorry about getting off the subject but I wanted to make that point very clear.
All in all, it has been a really slow week which is great news to be able to tell. Well that’s about it from here for this week. I hope that everyone had a great New Year and hope that 2008 brings you much prosperity and that it will be a great year for all!
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