Friday, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Congratulations Lt Col M. Joy Mann, PRT Nangarhar Commander, on your selection to Colonel.

Never have I know a commander who understands better the quote, "Put the mission first and the people always." You comprehend how important our mission is to the people of Afghanistan and the American people. How important our job is in extinguishing the center of world terrorism and you motivate us everyday to go out and be the best Airmen and Soldiers we can be for this important cause. You also understand risk vs. reward; how we put our lives on the line every day but it's worth it because our job is so important.

You take care of your people and they take care of you.
You go above and beyond to see that your people have everything that they need personally and professionally. And that is precisely why I joined the military--a brotherhood/sisterhood in arms where the people care about each other and take care of each other just because they wear the same thing to work every day.

I have never been in a more cohesive unit with such high morale. And that is a tribute to your leadership. I am so proud to serve with an officer of your caliber and I know the Air Force has made the right decision by promoting you to a position where you can exert your positive influence.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Well, not really but it is the title of one of my favorite Beattles songs and I am back in Afghanistan, which is probably comparible to life in the U.S.S.R.

The trip back was brutal. Three red eye flights, three nights in a row. I didn't see a bed for three nights. I returned to the FOB and slept for
19 and a half hours straight! It was awesome! And now there are only seven weeks left until my projected departure date from Craplakistan.

Going back to R&R...Scott and I didn't take many pictures, which is a shame. But I am determined to share with you the pictures that we did take (all in airports, by the way).

This picture is from our trip to the UK. We stopped in Bahrain, which is one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East. And app
arently, they like Christmas commercialism just as much as we do.
These next set of pictures are in the Heathrow Airport as we are getting ready to return. Our last pint of English ale for the next two months!
Wait for it....!!!
And this picture was taken in Kuwait as we wait for our flight. That was an eventful leg of our journey...we flew in a C-17 that was full of 105mm rockets. If anything went wrong with the flight, at least it would have been a painless death.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love in a War Zone

Love in a war zone unlike love anywhere else. It is simple. Unrefined.

There are no quarrels, because death is imminent. Do you really want your last conversation to be in anger?

If there is a disagreement, it is resolved at the fastest of pace because death is imminent.

Every conversation starts, ends and is heavily peppered with "I love you."

And that's all there is really, conversations.

You look forward to your next encounter and hold on tightly to your sweet memories.

And that's all they are really, memories.

I think we could learn a lot from love in a war zone. But at the same time, it is a false love. It is a simple love.

It requires no sacrifice, no patience. No solutions to your problems, only that they will be dealt with later.

No compromise.

No communication.

Your love is simply put on hold.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Scott and I only have a couple more days left for our R&R break. I'm just about ready to call the experience a success, as I do not have shrapnel or holes in my body like the other engineers on the team. Yes, the PRT was hit with a landmine of some sort about a week ago while on an engineering mission and some of the team members got roughed up a bit. But I'm told everyone is okay. They are lucky, because children and police were killed during the attack.

Since I'm admitting this, I might as go ahead and explain how I was on a convoy that was hit with an IED. It happened in early November and we were on the way back from the mission when one of our trucks took a baby IED. I wasn't in the truck...I was very far away but I heard the explosion and saw the cloud of smoke. I think my heart literally stopped and the next two minutes were the scariest of my life. I kept on waiting for the secondary attack, but thankfully it never came. Luckily, everyone was okay, no injuries, and we only had to replace the tire on the truck.

So now everyone will worry about me as I head back to Afghanistan for the final two months. But please don't! I know that Scott and I are being protected. Too many uncanny things have happened for me not to know that we will be okay.

Overall, R&R has been fun and relaxing. I would be lying if I said it was easy to come home. At times I wanted to go back to Afghanistan so I could resume a routine...something stabilizing. I think it will be easier when I'm home for good and have to go to work!

The weather is incredibility cold and snowy, especially since I'm used to 70 degree weather. But Scott and I managed to get out of the house to visit Norwich and Nottingham, both cities having 11th century castles. We also ate out a lot and I had forgotten what real food tastes like (and alcohol!).

So the next time I'll be back in Afghanistan, looking forward to receiving all those school supplies!