Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back to Indiana

WELL! I got an email from my firm. I am to report to Camp Atterbury Indiana (Indianapolis) on Jan 3 2013. I will complete the Army processing, and then go on to Kuwait, and then get a military flight to Afghanistan. It is so good, to be going back to work!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back to Afghanistan

I have been in the USA since 28 Sept. I spent a week in Kentucky, then I flew back to my residence in Alexandria VA. I got some good USA food, and watched a lot of TV. I just love "Law and Order" and "Jeapordy". I will be starting with my new firm on 2 Nov. I will do some paperwork, and get my ID badge and all the in-processing at McLean VA. Then I will have some training and orientation, then back to Indianapolis. I have done the Deployment center now 8 (eight) times. Once at Ft. Bliss Tex, 5 times at Fort Benning Georgia, and twice at Camp Atterbury Indiana. I have been informed that my new duty station is going to be Kandahar, Afghanistan. I am looking forward to a great assignment.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

On my way to the USA

On my way to the USA. I am in the holding pen at Ali Al Saleem Air base in Kuwait. It is bloody HOT. There is a roll call at 6pm. The aircraft is not due to take off until 1100pm. Then we will fly all night, and get into Indianapolis at 0800am Sunday. There is a refueling stop in Germany. I have a good feeling that I will be returning to Afghanistan soon. Keep up with me here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I use

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Heading home

Well, the project I was working on is done. I am heading home. I am sitting in the Recreation Center, at Ali-Al-Saleem Air Base, Kuwait. This place really has not changed much, since I first saw it, in July 2005. There is a McDonalds, and Subway, and KFC. There are much fewer people, than when two wars were blazing away. There were mobs of soldiers and civilians, and now the place is nearly empty. I am trying to connect with another project in telecommunications. The new firm's HR person, has been very kind, and she indicates that I will get the word soon. The money is good, and the work is much closer related than the work I was doing on the last project. The last week that I was in Bagram, Afghanistan, there was a real scare. The base went on Force Protection (C), which means that all personnel had to wear bulletproof vest and helmet, any time they went out. The dining hall closed the dining rooms, and you had to go the serving line, with a carry-out tray, and get your food, and then go outside to eat. I have never been under such a condition, since I have been working in this part of the world. I hate rumors. I do not understand how people can spread gossip. I was at Bagram, and the temperature was over 120 degrees. Somehow the word got back to my firm, that I was complaining that it was too cold! This is bizarre. I wish everyone would consider what they say, and not be so bored, that they have to repeat vicious gossip about their co-workers. I completed a training program in Huntsville, ALA. I enjoyed it very much, notwithstanding, that I was working outside in 106 degree heat and stifling humidity. I worked as a curriculum development specialist at a vocational school, in 1991. I made some suggestions, on how to improve the training program. It got back to my firm, that I was criticizing the program, and complaining. Gossip. I enjoyed all of my co-workers. Somehow the word got back, that some of them indicated that they did not wish to work with me. Gossip. Anyway, I am going to fly from Kuwait to Indianapolis, and spend a couple of days there, turning my military Identification card back in. Then I am going to take the Greyhound bus to Bowling Green KY, and see my mother and my sister. I have not been to Kentucky since Oct 2010, my father's funeral. I will go back to my home in Alexandria VA, and wait for the call from the new firm, and also seek work with other firms. The show is about over in Afghanistan, but the pull out is not until 2014. There will be work there, for a man with my background for at least a couple of years.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Here I am at Jalalabad. I was tasked to deliver some tools to a team at Jalalabad. I got up this morning at 0700am. There was no water in our barracks, so I walked across the way, to an adjacent barracks, and took a scalding hot shower there. There was plenty of water pressure, so I just let is spray and spray. I got my body armor and my helmet, and my tote bag, with clothing and personal items. I went to the office, and got the tool kit, and then went to the flight terminal and checked in. The flight was only 25 minutes. In 2004, I rode in an SUV from Kabul to Jalalabad, on a road that was probably laid out by Alexander the Great. There were huge potholes in the road, and my spine was sore for a week. I got a bed in a tent, and met the team here. They only need a few tools, and tomorrow, we will pass on all of the necessary tools, If they get 102% of a standard tool kit, then fine. I will try to get some sleep tonight, and then we will fly back on Friday or Saturday. This is a HOT HOT HOT place, we are at a lower elevation than Bagram, and the desert heat here is terrific. Luckily, the tent where I will sleep tonight is cool. For the time being, I will just pass some time here in the USO tent, and get some food at 5pm.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Completed project at Mez. What a day!

We did the work today. We got up at 0300am, and the job was supposed to last 4-5 hours. We spent almost 12 hours doing the project. I drank about 12 bottles of water, and I still felt thirsty and nauseous. The team lead sent me off site, to rest and drink more fluids. I poured all of the liquid down me, that I could. I am just now getting cool. In a previous posting, I remarked about a co-worker getting terminated for violating a company policy. I am not sure exactly what he did, and I do not wish to speculate. The project I am working is "at-will", Any of us can be terminated at any time, with or without cause. The man is no longer with us, and I will leave it at that. After work, I went to the chow hall. They had some good Salisbury Steak, and also some excellent turkey. I had not eaten in almost 24 hours. I ate slowly, and tried not to stuff myself. I finished off with a slice of pecan pie. I drank some more water and soda, and I am getting re-hydrated. I will soon crawl into the rack, and I will fly back to Bagram in a day or so.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Location: Mez-El-sharif Afghanistan

I am here at Mez. I was informed that I was to fly from Bagram to Mez, and I collected my gear. I was told that we were going to be here for two days. So I took enough clothing for a week. Sure enough, the site was not ready for us to begin work. So I am just sitting here, watching TV, and waiting for the site to be prepared. This is going to be hard, hot work, outside in the heat. Fortunately, Summer is about over, and the Afghan fall will be upon us soon. The work is on deadline, and should be completed by December. If that happens, that will be a miracle. One of my co-workers was terminated. I am sad that he lost his job, but he violated a company policy, and that cost him. Fortunately, I am in good health, healthy enough to pass the military physical. I am 58, and I am amazed that I am in as good health as I am. I am glad that I made the decision not to smoke cigarettes, and my blood pressure is normal. Mez is a typical mid-size post in Afghanistan. I am in a decent plywood "hooch". Air conditioned. Decent chow hall, Today we had spicy italian sausage in red peppers and onions. Rice, and shredded roast beef. Decent pumpkin pie. All I can do is wait, and we should begin work at 0400am this morning.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Arrived at Bagram, Afghanistan

I flew from Indianapolis to Kuwait. I spent two days in the tent city at Ali-Al-Saleem. I got a flight to Bagram, Afghanistan. I am here now, in the transient quarters. I am on a top bunk, with about two square feet of space for my personal gear. This place keeps changing, but it is still the same. Food is OK, I had a crab cake, and rice and chocolate ice cream.
I enjoy hearing from my readers, please feel free to leave a comment here, or email me directly. Thanks.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

On the way to Indianapolis

I finished two months in Huntsville ,ALA. I am now in the airport at Arlington VA (Reagan National Airport). There was a near-miss involving three aircraaft here, last week. This is a horrible airport, and it should have been closed years ago. The runways all end in water (both ends). The approach pattern is all zig-zag, aircraft have to fly down the Potomac river. But this airport is 10 minutes cab ride from the Capitol, and the congressmen/senators use this airport. I will fly to Indianapolis, and the get my rental car. I will drive to a hotel in Edinburgh, IN, and check in. Then I will drive out to Camp Atterbury, and register for the NDC course. I will go back on Sunday, and then spend all week, in processing, and getting my paperwork submitted, and getting an ID card, and all of that hassle. I am scheduled to fly to Kuwait on Friday, 10 August. (Today is August 4, it would have been my father's 82d birthday. I lost him two years ago, and I still miss him)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Going back to Afghanistan

I finished my last project in April 2012. I returned to the USA, and started looking for a new project. I was picked up by a different firm, and offered a project. I started in June 2012. I flew to Huntsville ALA, for a training and orientation course, for the new project. I will working on an unclassifed project, modifying existing observation towers in Afghanistan. I will be flying all over the country, and for the first time, I will be traveling between bases by convoy. I will have to do the NDC (National deployment center) course, in Camp Atterbury IN. I will spend a week there, and then fly on to Kuwait, From Kuwait, I will fly on to Afghanistan, and then I will be flying all over the country of Afghanistan. I had a complete medical work-up, and fortunately I am 100% healthy. I had to get some additional tests and evaluations. All of the exams were normal. I have been eating less, which is not a problem , I want to drop some excess weight. I would be delighted to hear from some of the readers here. Feel free to email or post comments. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tuesday night

Another day in paradise. Slept fairly well. I must get some sheets on the bed. I got up and ate the breakfast. Work went well. I ate the lunch, and went to the tent, and then I took a shower. Put on some clean clothes. Went to supper, and there was fried catfish, and onion rings. They finally had ice cream, I had a dish. I decided to stay in the chow hall until 8pm, so that could watch "Jeapordy". I went back to the recreation center, so I could get some computer time in. The internet is a little slow at night, but it seems to be fine in the day time.

I ordered some chocolate from an internet store. I miss candy.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

spring is here April in Kunduz

Rained last night. Pitter-patter on the tent, kept me up. Got up around 0800, and I went into the office. Lunch today was pork riblets, chili, ravioli. The chow hall has not had ice cream in a while. Sundays are pretty quiet here, but the Army works 24/7. The rain settled the dust, and helped wash everything off, and the air is clean.

Life in Afghanistan is not for sissies. I like the work, and I like the people I work with. I sleep on a lumpy mattress, and eat the Army food. I wish that I had a TV set, with the satellite receiver. AFN TV is available here. I watch the news in the chow hall sometimes, but I don't hang out there for hours.

I paid my 2012 masonic dues today, for Bowling Green and Quincy Mass. I do not get to participate in masonry in this part of the world. But I will be very active when I return to the USA.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Typical day in Kunduz

Get up around 0700. Breakfast if you like. Eggs, juice, english muffin. Go to office, do the work. Then, over to the rec hall, and check out the computers, and get my personal mail. Also fill out the time card, and get the professional mail.

Lunch about 1100. Back to office, check out the work. Off in the afternoon.

Shower every couple of days. Back to tent around 9pm. Mattress fairly good, tent is a little hot.

Back up at 0700. Seven days a week. Same work.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

At Kunduz

I arrived here last night. Cold, damp, rainy, muddy. Typical Afghanistan winter. I got to the transient tent, and crawled in the rack. Unhappily, I left my heavy duty plastic shower shoes in Mazer Al Sharif. No matter, I will get a new set. shower shoes are a necessity in this place, you have to walk 75 yards over gravel to take a shower.

The base is typical for a mid-size base in Afghanistan. There are Germans here, and I get to speak German.

The dining hall is adequate, again, about average for Afghanistan. I had a decent breakfast. I had roast beef for lunch, with a grilled polish sausage.

Looking forward to a decent assignment.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stuck at Mez-al-Sharif

I spent two weeks, at Camp Atterbury Indiana. Then I flew to Afghanistan, where I spent 5 days at Bagram. Then I flew to Mez-al-Sharif, where I am now. My final destination is Kunduz, Afghanistan, which will be my first duty station, on this project. I may stay there many months, I may be there only a short while. Such is the "fog of war".

This is not a good time to be in Afghanistan. A couple of days ago, a soldier went berserk, and went on a shooting rampage, and killed about 15 or so people, including some Afghan children. The shit is going to hit the fan now. I predict there will be riots, and more killing of Americans, like there was after the accidental burning of some Holy Qu'Rans.

I am stuck in the transient tent. The mattress is fair, but the lights are on 24 hours a day. I mostly relax in the USO tent. I can watch TV, and surf the net. The dining hall here is adequate, about average for Afghanistan. The Germans have a dining hall, that is a notch above the USA. They have porcelain plates and real steel knives and forks. I get tired of eating on cardboard, and using a plastic knife and fork.

There is a Green Beans coffee shop here, but I am not happy to pay $5 for a cup of coffee. When I get to my duty station, if there is no Keurig machine, I will buy one!

In the mean time, just relax and enjoy the rest.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

In Bagram, Afghanistan

Well, after two weeks, in Camp Atterbury, IN, we took off for Afghanistan. The flight was supposed to take off at 715pm on Friday, but because the aircraft was too heavy, they had to drain some fuel from the tanks, and we took off at 1015pm. We flew to Hahn Air Base, Germany, where we stopped for refueling and to change crews.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cleared to travel

I have been informed that I am 100% healthy! I should be cleared to travel this week, and I should be able to leave on Friday. Being stuck in the barracks at Camp Atterbury IN, is not too terrible. The food in the dining hall is decent, there is cable TV. Just relax, and enjoy the free time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

week 2 at Camp Atterbury

I am enjoying the hospitality of the US Army for a second week at Camp Atterbury. This morning, the dining hall was closed. I walked over to the Subway, and got a sandwich. I will find out this week, if my medical paperwork is completed, or if I need additional tests. I should be able to fly out on Friday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stuck in Camp Atterbury

I am 40 miles from Indianapolis, in the Indiana prairie. Cold and desolate, and the wind whips right through you. I had a minor medical problem, and I had to get some paperwork submitted. So I will be spending another week as a guest of the Army.

With luck, I will fly to Kuwait on Friday, and spend a week in the tent city of Ali-Al-Saleem. I have been through that place a dozen times. Then on to Bagram. My new duty station is Camp Nathan Smith, a former Canadian base, near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back to Afghanistan again.

I am flying to Indianapolis on Saturday Morning. I will spend a week there, then on to Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan. I hope to stay for a long time, maybe a year. We will see. If I can do the work properly, and I can tolerate the lifestyle, I may make it longer. The USA and NATO forces will be in Afghanistan, maybe through 2014.