I put a few pictures on facebook if you want to take a peek, nothing great just a few photos to mark my journey into theater. The process from beginning to end took from February 16th (Ft Dix) United States to Feb 28th landing at NKC (new Kabul compound) Afghanistan. I liked the freedom of moving around figuring out how to get from plane, bus or helicopter place to place. The real challenge was asking a complete stranger at odd hours each night or early morning to help me carry one of my four duffel bags. I took a genuine interest in people; listening to their experiences, some who had arrived recently like myself, others nearing the end of the tour, others leaving or coming back from R&R, either way, excited about reunion with families. These people who were once a stranger now became a quittance. Meeting and talking with people soothed the loneliness of my journey and open opportunities of coordinating peoples help. They help move me to the next stop either with knowledge of the system or physically helping me the ball and chain of all my bags. One place I stayed four days was hell, my lowest point as some of you read in my last email. I was staying at this base (hell) that two days earlier aircraft were damaged on the very runway I landed, while there I had one day of indirect fire close to where I was staying (“The Shack”), not saying that bothered me. What did bother me was not being able to tell who was friendly and who hated you, ironically they all carry a gun (except the locals who cook our meals and clean our buildings)! It bothered me being cold and feeling vulnerable in my shack… defiantly low points (subsequent emails have video footage).
Let me talk about the FB pictures/videos; The picture of the PODS (my living space) or Starbucks, that would be “camp cupcake” Arifjan Kuwait. That’s where people from my Fort Dix’s augmentation unit, (26 soldiers from all part of the US thrown together two weeks before our deployment), will be stationed at for the year. I, and four others, had a change of duty stationed when we stepped into Theater. Our orders where changed from Kuwait to Afghanistan, and yes Donna, one of them is Major Wright. Tent city was my second stop in Kuwait. I stayed a few days, again waiting for a flight on a fixed winged aircraft out of Ali Al Salem. The “Shack” was my welcome to Afghanistan! The flooded area is Master Sergeant Baumkirchner and LTC Motsinger’s quarters a place where they’ve been living for the last six months. Rank does not matter, it’s all a mud hole and you live in a shack. The weather turned foul while here with three days of rain and snow. It was good to get out of indirect fire and all the craziness of many people from varies military coalition (in uniform) and coalition contractors from multiple countries not in uniform, but all having a firearm. Crazy! The journey has been an experience and met many nice people along the way, with that said, I’m happy to have landed at my final destination, NKC. The terrain in Afghanistan with all the high mountainous peaks of 24,000 feet is beautiful. The air quality and poverty can’t be ignored against such a beautiful pristine background. This is a fortress and because of my job I will rarely go outside the walls. The place is about the size of high school, making it feel real small in a matter of months.
My closing remarks can’t help but mention the high school hockey team; Fans, faculty, players and parents know the hard work and determination this group preformed all season under the helm of their coach, Eric Libardoni. The state of Vermont hockey world was very much aware of this team, with said, we are proud of the performance and hard work from this fine group of gentleman!
LTC Christie Turner
APO, AE 09356