Good afternoon everyone! It’s just me, cool guy Captain Carter with more adventures of beautiful, exotic Afghanistan.
Well, we move out this past Tuesday and go to our first stop, Chaway in Jajii province. This is the ABP HQ for the district. We meet with the local police and then call the boss to the HQ. We eat lunch with them and I eat the bread and watermelon, not the meat stuff. We drink Chi also (basically green tea). It is very good. We talk about what we need to get done this visit and tell him that we are going to stay the night there and leave for BCP 12 the next day.
When we also get to Chawnay, a local guy comes up in a blue truck and says that we hit his truck and wants us (US) to pay for it. I tell the guy that we did not even touch his truck. Well, he walks over to 1 Humvee and says that is the truck that hit his. There is no blue paint to be found; so he walks over to my Humvee and sees a speck of blue paint and says my truck is the one that hit his. I tell the guy that we did not hit a truck and that the paint is from a jingle truck that we hit earlier that day. I take a measurement of his truck scrape and our mirror and they do not match. He then says that 2 trucks hit his when we turned around. Okay, only 1 Humvee turned around. Then he says that he was parked on the side of the road. He changes this twice. Basically, we tell him that we do not believe any of the 6 versions of his story and to go away. He then says that he heard that the US would fix any vehicle that we damage. This is the only true part of the story so far. He was basically trying to get us to pay for his truck when we did not hit it. That way, it would not come out of his pocket. He finally left.
When we started to leave and go to BCP 12, we notice an oil leak on our brand new vehicle. It only has 512 miles on it now. Turns out, the oil line is leaking and we spend 2 hours trying to fix it. It takes this long because we have to borrow tools from the locals and then fix the leak. I go to town and buy 6 liters of oil so that we can have some. We put 5 liters of oil in the Humvee just to keep the engine from locking up. At 1530, we finally leave for BCP 12.
Once up at BCP 12 (again, this is right on the AF/PK border) we meet up with the contractor and tell him what we want done to this place so that they will have some protection from the enemy. We ask him to just fix it up the best he can and he tells us that he cannot add to the mud walls because they will not hold. He will almost have to tear everything down and build it all from scratch. We talk about a wall 9 feet high the whole length of the building and 2-3 feet thick. He takes measurements and we ask him about wiring and running water and new living quarters for the men there. Where they sleep now is not protected at all.
As you walk into their quarters, you are greeted by a huge hole in the doorway where an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) hit but did not explode. We are going to build them new living quarters that will provide protection from small arms fire.
The contractor takes the measurements and we tell him what we want the place to look like. So he goes back to Kabul and we should meet up with him next week. On this trip, I have to go take some pictures of one of the Afghan buildings so we can make improvements to it. I take 5 men and 1 interpreter with me. On the way there, I tell my men to keep their weapons pointed at the ground. I do not want the PK to fire at us and do not want to give them a reason. I walk up with my terp to the PK border and tell the guards that we are just taking pictures. They see this and lower their weapons. Whew! I take some pictures of the building and where I have to stand is very close to the border. I then ask if I can take some pictures of Pakistan. They do not mind so me and 3 other men walk towards the border and take some pictures of a valley.
It is so beautiful. I can only imagine that this is how it has always looked before. I like to think that this is what it looked like in Biblical times. I also take some pictures of the guards and they do not mind us (US). We spend the night there and go to Spana Shegha the next day. When we are getting ready to leave BCP 12, it is 98 degrees at 3 o’ clock that afternoon and we are at 8000 feet elevation.
When we get to Spana Shegha, it is raining. I notice a family traveling down the road from Pakistan so I grab my interpreter and a beanie baby. I ask the man if I can give this beanie baby to the little girl (about 4 years old) and she takes it and smiles at me. He says that she likes it. They stay until the rain stops a little bit and then leaves. Just to see her face light up was worth a million bucks!
Ok, this is the place made of rock so the building did not burn to the ground but it is gutted. We clean up (try to) a room for us to sleep in. There are 11 of us. We spend the night there and plan to leave before noon on Friday. Once there, we talk about how to fix up the building. We discuss what we need to do to the building and where we want to set up our office. (We are going to live there this winter and we are getting things ready to clean up the whole building and what we need to do to ‘winterize’ the place too). We eat MRE’s for supper and get our bunks ready. I pull guard duty from 0130 to 0240. At 0300 it is 41 degrees and this is at 9300 feet elevation.
Ok, so we start to come back to Gardez at 1030 that morning. Doing fine on time. About 17 klicks out from Gardez, the brand new truck’s brake lines and power steering lines bust so they have no breaks and no power steering. Keep in mind; this is a brand new truck with less than 500 miles on it. We now have to drive the rest of the way with no brakes or wait 3-10 hours for maintenance to arrive to tow the truck. We drive it all the way back to Gardez and park it in front of the maintenance shop.
On the way back to Gardez, we stop by a local bakery in Chawney and buy some bread. It is the local bread and it is really good. We find a place to ‘circle the wagons’ and take a few minutes to eat. When we stop, I tell you that every kid from ½ mile comes and looks at us. We talk to them, give them candy and take pictures with them. They are so adorable and live in tents and are so dirty but so cute and precious. Some of them can speak a little English but my Pashtu is not the best but we still make friends and seeing any of the children smile when you take their picture or give them something like chocolate that many of them have never tasted it just melts your heart.
Today we are in recovery status and we are all taking it easy. We are going to be going to Camp Phoenix soon to get some more supplies to clean up Spana Shegha. All in all, it is not that bad of a mission. Just the normal things.
Talk to everyone soon!!
-Major Jason Carter
Jason lives in Hazel Green, AL with his wife, Linda. He has served for 19 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 and their country.”