Hello everyone! I hope this e-mail finds you all well. As you can tell, I am back from my 15-day leave and it is business as usual here. Just because I was not here does not mean the war takes a vacation (I wish it did). Shall I begin?
Ok, I finally made my way to Gardez and to base camp a full week after I landed in BAF (Bagram Air Field) and we prepare for a mission the next day. We are to go to our new FOB that we will call home. It is called FOB Herrera. It is named after a platoon sergeant killed in a suicide bomber attack last August. We will be moving here in the next few weeks. This is going to be home for the time being. It is located in our AO (Area of Operations) so it is right where we work. No more 5 hour plus drives to get here. That is the good part. Not too bad a place to live. We have computers, a TV, a phone, running water (while it lasts), and a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. See the attached pictures. My team is going to live here until told otherwise but I think it will be the rest of my tour here. I’ve lived in better and worse, but it is what I make it.
We went to Spina Shegha and got the rest of our gear and brought it down to our new home and we are already setting up our bunks. I have to take a picture next time to let everyone see what I am living in. There are 10 of us in the bay. We are building another building so that everyone can stay in the same area. We are going to make it a living quarters/TOC (Tactical Operations Center). It should be built in the next few weeks. Hopefully it will be finished by New Year’s Day.
Well, as you can tell, it is getting really cold here now although since I’ve been back from leave, it has not snowed any. The weather is fairly nice. It is 43.5 outside now and it has not gotten below 20 this week. Not too bad so far but I know that it will get a lot colder as the winter sets in. I guess it something that I have to deal with and it will be an experience for sure.
Well, I spent all day packing and I can’t believe how much stuff I have. I am going to make the Post Office a lot of money shipping a lot of this home. Haha It always amazes me how much stuff I can accumulate by just being here. Well, every time I got deployed (this is my 3rd deployment) I always end up with too much extra stuff. I came here with a few bags and those are already filled, and I still have things to pack. I will pack the rest of it later tonight or even tomorrow. At least I can complain about having a lot compared to other people that complain because they do not have enough.
When we start to leave the FOB, we are told to bring a ‘package’ back with us and drop it off at a FOB on the way. As we were coming back last night, we passed about 150 jingle trucks filled with wood just sitting on the side of the road. I saw some men praying so I figured they just stopped there but I saw the Afghan Police guarding them. Again, not to worry, this is fairly normal procedure. As we get to the end of the convoy, I see US Humvees. This is weird. My vehicle drives up and a guy comes over to us and tells us that an IED has just exploded and killed an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal; what we call the bomb squad) guy that was working on the IED. Although I will not say a lot about it I can say that I have never seen any this far East before. This is very unusual for this area. Anyways, we get the ok to drive by and we do. We get back to Gardez around 6:00 but since we have to drop off a ‘package’ we have to wait for the right people to take possession of the package. Well, we wait and wait and wait. Finally, at 2100 hours, the people show up and we drop off the package and we got back to base camp looking for a hot meal. We get to the kitchen and guess what? The cooks did not get any message about men being out. We tell them and then they go back a cook food for us. We were able to eat steak and crab legs. I was hungry, so I got a few crab legs and ate them while some other guys ate the steaks. We were all tired, dirty and hungry. After that, we stowed our gear and did our things. I was too wound up to go to sleep, so I just stayed up and went to bed around 0200 this morning.
Today, I have spent packing and will finish packing in a few more minutes. I hate moving because I am not a good packer. I know some people that can pack a whole house in a few boxes while I would take a few trucks. Haha
Well, that is about it from here. I hope all of you enjoy reading my adventures of a far-off land.
-Lieutenant Colonel, Jason Carter
Jason lives in Hazel Green, AL with his wife, Linda. He has served for over 21 years and had a total of 41 months active duty deployed after 9/11/01. He is a senior buyer in the electronic manufacturing industry and serves his country proudly in the Alabama National Guard. In his spare time he likes to metal detect, not only to stumble upon a few treasures, but to learn about the history of a place as well. “My greatest hope is that we all remember the sacrifices soldiers make to each other