Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday night

An interesting week. I spent a week at Wazakhwa ( a dump ). I flew in to Bagram Air Base Thursday afternoon, Oct 11. There was a flight scheduled to Warrior base on the 12th, and I signed up for it. I went to the terminal Friday morning, but the flight took no space-available passengers. There was a flight scheduled on the 16th, and I went to the terminal on the 15th, but the flight was cancelled. The next flight from here (Bagram) to Warrior is not until the 23rd. So I am flying back to Sharana base tonight, and then wait there, and try for Warrior base again.

Bagram is not so bad, I stayed in a concrete barracks room that had a real bed. The shower room was downstairs, but it was OK. I was able to walk to the dining hall, and walk to the office, and I spent most of my time this week in the Rec hall, monitoring my systems remotely.

I had to re-enroll for my medical/dental benefits, I could not hit the web page, so I enrolled by telephone.

New post

One individual sent in an inquiry about donating supplies to the troops. I am delighted to answer, that we can always use donations of items. We can use soap, blankets, winter clothing, anything you wish to provide. The individual asked that I not list his posting, and I will respect his request.

Individuals, lodges and other organizations often donate items for the troops here. I try to acknowledge each gift, but I cannot get them all. Believe me, we are grateful.

You may send items to me at:

Charles E. Martin
UNISYS Corporation HHC 36 ENG BDE
FOB Sharana
APO AE 09354

And I will distribute them to the troops, through the Recreation Center and the Chaplain's office. There are a number of brave Afghan nationals who work here on this base, and we often share the items with them. These men risk their lives to work for the USA forces.

If anyone would like a "shopping list" email me, and I will provide one. We can use all types of personal care items, shampoo, candy, soap, etc.

Some individuals and organizations have donated Recreational supplies and sporting goods. We are grateful for these items as well, the US Government does not provide recreational items for the troops. If you would like a list of what items we need, please email me.

If you need more information, or you wish to participate, please email me at:


Saturday, October 13, 2007

13 Oct. Bagram Air Base

Spent a week at Wazakhwa. What a dung-hole! I got the computer reset, and then just enjoyed it there. They have no port-a-johns, just an outhouse where you defecate into a pan, and twice a day, they burn it off with diesel fuel. The dining hall is run by the US Army, and because of the Ramadan schedule (most Muslims work 6 hours per day in the month of Ramadan), all of the mess hall staff were US soldiers on KP. the mess hall was running out of food, so they were on short rations. No eggs, no milk,etc. I had a wonderful room, a real bed, with a mattress, and a decent heater. I slept like a baby. The shower house was around the corner, so I kept clean. I started reading "The clan of the cave bear", and watched some TV while I was there. I was able to fly back to Bagram Air Base, on Thursday. There was a flight scheduled to Warrior base on Friday, so I stayed in the terminal building for a couple of hours, and registered for the helicopter ride to Warrior base. I then went to the barracks, and ate a meal, and slept soundly!

I got up at 0430am, and got a ride to the terminal, and waited until the sergeant called the names for the flight. Unhappily, the flight was full, so I just waited in the terminal building. I tried a breakfast (MRE, meal-ready-to-eat, the modern version of K rations). An egg omelet with vegetables, and hash browns with bacon. The food was so gross, that I just threw it in the trash. I did find a boneless chicken breast, and it was delicious.

I went back to the barracks, and relaxed. I went into the office on Friday afternoon, and tried to see if I could get on the Tuesday 16 Oct flight to Warrior. I will stay here at bagram, and try for that flight, if I cannot get on it, I will fly back to Sharana, and put my trip to Warrior base on hold. I need to get up there to "show the flag", and inspect the system, but the system is functioning normally, so if I have to wait, it is not a big deal.

I spent Friday night in the barracks, and some idiot turned off the heater, and I about froze. I got up at 0200am, and turned the room heater back on. I got up at 0830, and walked down to the mess hall. I got three eggs fried, and two hardboiled. I met up with the Chaplain, and we spent a couple hours talking theology and religion. The mess hall staff kicked us out of the mess hall, so I went down to the Rec hall, to check on the systems.

I really have no duties here, my computers are at four other bases. But I can monitor them from here, and file my reports. My supervisor called on the cell phone, and he wants me to report to the office each day I am here by 0900, I agreed, but there is no real point, I have my cell phone with me, and it is on 24 hours a day. This is no vacation!

I will hang around the Rec Hall, and monitor the systems. There are movies on the wide-screen all day long. I had a small lunch, barbeque pork on a bun, ravioli, and cookies and cream ice cream with maraschino cherries.

Been having a hassle with the anti-masons, all the stuff on their web site is so ridiculous I could just hurl. I want to get back into masonry, and I am going to be gung-ho at Sharara.

Friday, October 05, 2007

100th post 5 Oct

Flew from FOB Sharana Thursday morning. Arrived at Bagram Air Base. Spent the night in the barracks, a real bed with a mattress. I must sign up at the flight terminal tonight at 6pm, then Saturday morning, fly up to Wazakhwa.

I bought some additional cell phone minutes, so that I can use the cell phone. I also had a Burger King Whopper, the first one I have eaten in many months, and it was good. The PX here is the biggest in Afghanistan, which is not saying much. At least they have a barber shop, and several food service sites.

I will stay at Wazakhwa for a couple of days, then fly the reverse. Back to Bagram, then wait here for a day, then back to FOB Sharana.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday Morning

The office across the path from my tent is now operating 24/7. I watched "Patriot Games", starring Harrison Ford last night. The Dining tent is closed for renovations all day today, so I had to skip breakfast. the Doc thinks I should lose some weight anyway. My Blood pressure is a little high, so I am taking blood pressure medicine for the first time in my life.

I will be flying Thursday morning, so I have to be at the terminal at 0130am in the morning. then I will get a C130 airplane to Bagram, then wait for a helicopter to fly up to Wazakhwa. I have to do 30 minutes of work, and it will take me a week, to do all the traveling. Wazakhwa is bleak, the food service is run by the Polish Army, and the port-a-johns have diesel furnaces where the waste is burned off daily. There is no PX.

There is a masonic lodge meeting this Friday, but I will be gone traveling. I had been invited to serve as Senior Deacon, but I had to cancel. I am very excited about participating in Masonry again, especially here in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Letter to the Grand Secretary and the Grand Master of Kentucky

To the Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky, and the Grand Secretary, I am in receipt of your recent letter, and I appreciate your concerns, respecting my assisting the Worshipful Master of Land, Sea, and Air lodge #1 (Grand Lodge of New York, F&AM), and my communications with my Grand Master (in New York). There have been some developments, that you are possibly not aware of, and I wish to bring to your attention. For some time now, I have been a dual member of both my Kentucky lodge, and a (fixed, permanent) lodge in New York, which is under the authority of the Grand Lodge of New York (F&AM). As a bona-fide New York mason, I am therefore permitted and encouraged to communicate directly with the Grand Master of Masons in New York, and any of the Grand Line officers, and with any New York Mason , on New York masonic matters. For the record, I am NOT a member of Land, Sea, and Air Lodge #1. LSA#1 is a traveling military lodge, and has no members. I have never been asked by the Grand Lodge of New York, nor by the Worshipful Master of LSA#1, to stop assisting on the project. I am no longer resident in Iraq. Any objections that you have to my assisting the Grand Lodge of New York, in Iraq, are therefore moot, and no longer applicable. I have NEVER been asked by any (NEW YORK) Grand Line Officer, either telephonically nor in writing, to cease assisting the Worshipful Master of Land, Sea, and Air lodge #1. Until I am asked formally to stop helping the Worshipful Master on this project (by the WM himself) , I intend to proceed. I wish to remind everyone, that I am under an obligation, to help aid and assist any brother master mason who comes to me for assistance. Any assertion that I am contacting a Grand Lodge of which I am not a member, is baseless. I AM a New York Mason. My membership with Master Builder lodge #911, Tonawanda New York has been duly completed and voted upon. I have been informed by the Grand Master of Masons in New York himself, by telephone, that my membership is with this lodge. I have been informed, telephonically, and by email that I am a full voting member of Master Builder 911, Tonawanda New York. Since I am a New York Mason, then I have every right to correspond directly with the Grand Master of Masons in New York, on New York masonic matters. I am NOT attempting to establish a lodge in Iraq, or anywhere else. Land, Sea, and Air Lodge #1, was established in 1917, 37 years before I was born. I am NOT attempting to assume authority for any lodge in Iraq. The Worshipful Master is resident in New York, and he alone is responsible. I am only assisting him in specific tasks that he has directed me to help on. I have every authority to assist in the Land, Sea, and Air lodge project. The Worshipful Master contacted me back in November 2005, and asked me specifically to assist. I am acting under his direct supervision and authority. The Worshipful Master has not rescinded this request. I am seeking NO aid from any (other) lodge or Grand Lodge, on this project. I am a Kentucky Mason (with dual membership in New York). I have asked for advice and guidance from a number of individuals, but I have never solicited any monetary donations. Individuals and lodges have donated certain morale and recreational items to the troops here, on their own initiative. For the record, the treasury balance of LSA#1 is ZERO. I want to make it quite clear, and have no misunderstandings. My work with the Worshipful Master and the Grand Lodge of New York, is at their specific request. I was asked to help on this project back in November 2005. The lodge had been operating in Iraq for some time, long before I was ever involved (see Fall 2005 issue page 32). Everything that I have done has been well-documented, I answer all questions from individuals, and I keep a running account of my progress, on my blog. I am also getting some advice and guidance from the Supreme Council Scottish Rite (Southern Jurisdiction). I am NOT criticizing any individual in Kentucky, with respect to this project, either in Emails, nor in my blog. You can see my blog ( for yourself. Since this is a NEW YORK project, and New York is alone responsible, why would I want to criticize any Kentucky Mason? What would be the point? I am NOT criticizing any individual in New York, with respect to this project, either in Emails nor in my blog. I have offered some suggestions to the Grand Master of Masons in New York, and I have personally appealed to him both telephonically, in postal mail, and in email. As a bona-fide member of a New York lodge, I have every right to do this. I intend to follow every directive and rule of BOTH Grand Lodges of which I am a member. Now that you have a more complete understanding of the situation, with respect to my dual membership, I suggest that you cease any suggestions of possible investigations of my communicating (improperly) with the Grand Lodge of New York, which is my Grand Lodge. Any suggestion that I am in communications with a Grand Lodge of which I am not a member, is baseless and not factual. While we are on this topic, I would like to request that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky be more supportive of my efforts to assist the Grand Lodge of New York ,and the Worshipful Master of Land, Sea, and Air lodge #1, in bringing Masonry to the troops and civilians in Iraq. The masons here risk their lives every day, for your freedom, and they deserve to have a functioning lodge in Iraq, and to have the retreat of Masonry. Up until now, I have received virtually no support or encouragement (from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky) in my efforts to assist the Grand Lodge of New York, and the Worshipful Master of LSA#1 in this endeavour. If you do not wish to support the masons in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least get out of the way, and let the Grand Lodge of New York, (and other Grand Lodges) proceed with this effort. I am no longer resident in Iraq, and therefore not of much value in this project, but I intend to offer every assistance I can, to both the WM, and the Grand Master of Masons in New York, until asked specifically otherwise. After all, I am a New York Mason, and when asked to assist , I will. Here in Afghanistan, the Grand Lodge of Washington (state), as well as the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, are assisting military masons with getting lodges underway here. At my base, there is even going to be an Eastern Star chapter. Although I am not directly involved with these efforts, I wish them well, and I will attend and fellowship with the new lodge here. If asked for help, I will give it. Masonically Thine, Charles E. MartinForward Operating Base Orgun, Afghanistan

Back at Sharana

I got back on Sunday morning. I thought I made a blog entry. While I was gone someone went through my personal items in my tent, and stole my clock, and my sunglasses, and my book about the Panama Canal. If they had wanted that stuff so bad, I would have given it to them.

Now it is Tuesday afternoon, I must fly to Wazakhwa. I will get a flight tonight to bagram, and then wait there for a day, and then fly on to Wazakhwa. Then I will stay there a couple of days, and then return to Bagram, then return here to Sharana.