They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Jun 30, 2009

If It Isn't One Thing, Its Another...

Alright, so you already know that about 2 months ago we left Waza Khwa down in southeastern Afghanistan and we moved from there to Kushamond, and from there we went to Sharana, stayed in Sharana for about a month, then we managed to move all the way up to Salerno in Khost province. And we have sat here for another few weeks, damn near a month.

During that time we have run into the biggest obstacle that the military faces in this country.

Moving large amounts of men and material over long distances in this shithole!

I mean we have probably moved about, oh I don’t know, maybe between 100 and 200 miles in 2 fucking months.

Now we have a mission that we are supposed to be accomplishing. We have several district centers that we have to get ready for the upcoming elections.

Rockets, mortars and death from the sky have become daily occurrences here. Not to mention the place we are going to has taken so much indirect fire that it made front page news in the Stars & Stripes.

Now, like I said, we are in Salerno, which is about 18 clicks from Camp Clark which is where our mission is. 18 clicks is 11.25 miles.


So let’s run down the laundry list of shit that the Army has come up with to delay us getting out there and actually doing something.

We got here and needed vehicles for our missions. So we went to draw the vehicles from the motorpool. They didn’t seem to have the vehicles that we needed.

Remember that I told you that you can’t drive humvees in this province because the damn bombs here are so big that they will vaporize a humvee. So we need MRAP’s. Can’t have anything less than the big dogs. Well, for whatever reason they don’t seem to have them. Why would they? Why would our command send us somewhere and actually have the things that we need to accomplish the mission that they throw at us.

The funniest part of this whole thing is that there are a million and one MRAP’s laying around this FOB, not to mention the sea of trucks I saw, sitting idly by in a motor pool up in Bagram. These trucks did nothing, went no where, and weren’t even being well maintained. Now you already know what I think of Bagram. They have all the equipment, but none of the needs. Damnit, there is a war going on down here and we need those fucking trucks. Get off your asses and get them things down here where we can use them!

On top of that, we actually hitched a ride with another unit that was going out to Camp Clark, just so we could see what we were getting into. They drove us out there. But understand this, up here, as opposed to down south, there are paved roads. So that 11.25 miles took us about an hour to negotiate. And that was stopping 3 times along the route.

So the battalion decided that they were going to find us some trucks. They then proceeded to put it out to all the companies in the battalion that ours needed trucks and they wanted some given up so that we could get moving with our mission.

Think about that. They put it out to the companies in the battalion that they wanted them to basically donate some trucks so that we could get on with our mission.

Well, every commander in the battalion did exactly what I would’ve done if I was in his shoes. They found their worst vehicles and gave us those.

We got these damn trucks and they were missing so much shit that it took me two pages just to write it all down. The radios didn’t work. The computer systems were missing little shit, like hard drives. The tires looked like they had just been run over a gigantic cheese grater. The doors wouldn’t lock. And on and on.

There were so many faults that made these trucks unserviceable that we couldn’t have cannibalized them to make one good one out of the whole bunch. And this is what they want us to drive out into the land of 200 pound IED’s with! Well, thank you so much for your obvious concern for our safety. We really appreciate it.

So we went to work on these trucks, and we went to work hard. We were begging, borrowing and stealing from all over post trying to get these things fixed. A platoon of soldiers, 30 some guys, all working on 4 trucks.

And we finally started to make some headway. Finally started to get it to the point where you could drive these pieces of shit. Were maybe a day or two from actually being ready.

Then what do they do?

They take the damn things from us and give them to another platoon. Thanks again, let us do all the work and then pass them off to someone else. Dickbags.

So now we have no trucks. How are we going to do this little mission that they have for us? Well in between rocket and mortar attacks they decide that we are just going to hot seat trucks when we get over to Clark. Which means that the trucks that are already there are going to be run twice as hard. They are going to break twice as much, and they are going to be beaten to death every single day. One thing you have to bear in mind, is that any time you put a vehicle into Afghanistan just going one mile is like going 100 anywhere else. Not to mention the propensity that these vehicles have for being in close proximity to rather large explosions. So we tend to go through vehicles quickly, yet we can’t really do anything without them.

Well, okay, whatever. We’ll figure all this shit out when we get there. So we start the never ending process of trying to fly around this country. Here’s how it goes.

You’re leaving tomorrow at 1300.
Check that, the birds are in for maintenance. You’re now leaving at 2100.
Nope, pilot is sick, you’re leaving in two days at 1400.
(you wait two days)
Flight got cancelled, air just went red.
Next one leaves out, tomorrow at 0900.
(You come back at 0900)
Didn’t you hear, that bird got taken away for medevac. No flights for another 2 days.
(You come back in two days)
No movement, 100% accountability theater wide.

Oh shit. Now this is bad. 100% accountability means only one thing. Someone is missing. Someone, somewhere in this country is missing. Which means that there is some poor sap out there, nobody knows whether he is alive or dead, and all we can hope for is that he is either dead already or that one of ours gets to him before the Taliban does.

Fuck. Nothing like that thought running through a soldier’s mind to really get him wrapped around the axle.

Well, so here I sit. I won’t be going anywhere for a few days at least. At least until this guy shows up. One way or the other. So all I can say is go easy brother, whatever it is, and for whatever its worth my prayers are with you.

I’m done.


I love you Mom...


  1. Wow--I got in. Sorry to hear of all the difficulties. Yikes. Are you eating okay? Access to a shower? Food?

    So are things heating up in Afghanistan? to put it mildly?

    do you see many reporters?

    Take care, Joyce

  2. Remember all those WWII movies that had a mile long line of Army grunts WALKING across Europe? It’s only 11 miles. Hell, you could run that distance fully loaded. Or you could hitch-hike. When the mega-officers come down looking for y’all, they would be told you have already gone to Clark and are waiting for them.