How many parents and relatives were choked up with pride at watching a child you know and adore, collect their diploma on stage at the high school graduation ceremony? I’ll admit, I cried looking at pictures of my niece’s graduation from photos my husband recently sent. What a burst of pride I felt for her far away here in Afghanistan! I can imagine the deep pleasure parents and relatives felt for your Graduate’s, with diploma in hand, as you tried not to cry! Be honest….
Congratulation to my 2013 Graduate, we are very proud of all you accomplish through your four years at BUHS.
Dan Rather visits New Kabul Compound (NKC), I am left front of Dan Rather. He did an interview with BG Steven Shapiro on the Retrograde Operations in Afghanistan.
Dan Rather, with his entourage of filming staff, came to Kabul in March to interview the one star General from the 1st TSC (Theater Sustainment Command), BG Steven Shapiro. Mr. Rather wanted to gather insight on how we will handle Retrograde within timeline and constraints energized by President Obama in his January State of The Union address. Retrograde simply means draw down operation, however, in this point in history it’s also compounded with a Force Management draw down. We need to be at 34K by Feb 2014.. Retrograde is about returning all vehicles, weapons and equipment that have accumulated in Afghanistan during the last ten years back to the United States. The question of the day is how to balance between number of soldiers, force security, transition of security responsibility to Afghans (ANSF- Afghan National Security Force) and the Retrograde itself. The challenge is moving things around a mountainous landlocked country knowing we have space, personnel, equipment and time constraints making it very different then Iraq. “We Can and We Will,” is our motto. It’s been said, “If you think Iraq was difficult, I would call that getting your bachelor’s degree in logistics. Withdrawing from Afghanistan is getting your PhD in logistics and we’re writing our thesis as we speak.”
This is an exciting and busy time for me as a logistics officer. My job is to work equipping and sourcing all units coming into Theater. A group of us meet with stakeholders in Afghanistan who are Redeploying (outgoing) Units with the deploying Units (Incoming). We grind out line by line on equipment and try to agree on what can be sourced from TPE (Theater Positioned Equipment). One of the Units I’m working with (2CR) is featured in May 26th Stars and Stripes. We try and source everything possible here in theater, resulting in the unit bringing little as possible from the states. This directly helps the Retrograde, you can imagine how much visibility the Retrograde process has gained, enough so Dan Rather paid us a visit!
We have soldier’s who at the call of their country carry out missions with professionalism and integrity, mitigating risk where ever possible. Yesterday was an unseen enemy. In prayer I bow my head in silence offering honer and respect to U.S. soldiers who lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan and to their family. This tragic event also comes at a great lose to coalition soldiers and Afghan civilians.
My Husband breathed a little life back into me when he sent my hockey stick to Kabul. You may know the Canadian’s are one of our coalition partners and wherever there are Canadian’s there is hockey! Mix that with a few American states beginning with “M” (and “v”) you have the making of competitive street hockey teams. How nice to shed the realities of what surrounds me to an hour of something I feel enthusiastic about playing…you hockey players know what I’m talking! We play our games
Happy gal…thank you Godfrey!
on track. I hear down at the post in Kandahar (Southern Afghanistan) they built an outdoor hockey rink. We’ve been unable to play for three weeks due to the pluckiness of the insurgents. They like to poison our Afghan guards. Today is hockey day!
I try hard to find things to amuse me here at NKC and in such confined quarters it’s made difficult at best. The lure of the track keeps my sense of well being and is as close as I can bring myself to relating to the spacious Green Mountain State I so long for…as you can tell from the photo I really have to use my imagination! If you look close you can see people walking the track. And over the green fencing is the back drop of Kabul City.
As you have read the Commander in Chief has asked the Army to move a large part of forces out of Afghanistan. We’re like ants in and around an ant hill. We wake each day only to work hard with very long hours moving our soldier’s home to their families, while simultaneously closing bases. I work doing Force Management for ARCENT (Army Central/Third Army; “Patton’s Own”), as an action officer to resource and equip forces in Afghanistan. I interface with other commands in the CJOA-A (Combined/Joint Operation Area-Afghanistan) to include ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces) and USAFOR-A. To include commands outside the CJOA-A, for example; FORSCOM, HQDA and ARCENT MCP/OCP. Lots of VTC’s. Brooks owns us and came to pay a visit. This is a high velocity retrograde with terrain similar to being on the moon when it comes to logistics.
My first day off since being here and I can pretend I’m home. Really, it doesn’t get any better than this…relaxation siping on my Green Mountain coffee and reading the Brattleboro Reformer. Cheryl, thank you for the coffee and Cor the paper. A salute to my coffee buddy back home, Debbie Rancourt. If anyone goes to Bruegger’s please say hello to Dan and his staff for me. Happy Easter everyone!
Bonfires in Kabul is not the same as I remember back whilst a youngster attending YMCA summer camps. The air quality is poor in the city Kabul, and bonfires here are not about sitting around singing campfire songs. Things are difficult for the population, its real survival here and the people need to keep warm. Their houses have no actual windows and are cold and drafty. Being at this elevation, unfortunately, there are no trees to harvest for cordwood. They burn anything and I mean anything, specifically speaking, tires, cardboard, plastic, and human waste. There are no dumps or incinerators to make trash disappear. They burn wherever is convenient. But before burning they separate whatever can be use to keep warm. Where’s Smoky Bear when you need him! Probably similar to what some of you have experienced in China. Some days we can’t breathe outside and smells pretty bad. This explains why my walls in my Micro Mini Kabul Condo are black, and I’ve washed twice since being here. We have half day off for Easter and I plan to put it to good use. I will tape a special filter over my air vent in my room (thanks Scott and Donna for sending this). I’m told when the weather turns warmer things will get better.