Greetings from Kandahar! As I come towards the end of my first few weeks in country, I’m at a loss of words for my initial impressions. The landscape here is absolutely gorgeous; some of the most beautiful mountains and deserts I’ve ever seen. The weather here is disgustingly hot at 110-120 degrees each day. My soldiers and I have been drinking at least 2 gallons of water a day. Our living conditions are far more simple than I expected considering we’re staying on the 2nd largest base in Afghanistan with over 14,000 troops from 42 countries stationed here. There’s no plumbing, or potable water source. Rather, there are truckloads of bottled water sitting around the post. Unfortunately, they bake in the hot sun to the point where you could hard boil an egg with the water. No standard plumbing also means no sewage system. Rather, human waste is deposited into one central deposit affectionately known as the “shit pool”…the smell travels for miles and is absolutely hideous. Access to phone and internet comes short and infrequently, but we make due with what we have. We’re living in a tent right now with a gaping hole at the top. it turns into a sauna by day and icebox by night…at least its the desert and it hasn’t rained quite yet! (knock on wood)
After hearing stories of soldiers coming back from Iraq with their own rooms, constant access to internet and phone, videogames, and mini-shopping malls on post, I’m sure some of the members of our unit were a bit disappointed to see what life in theater would really be like. Despite the mediocre living conditions, there is very little complaining, at least from my platoon. We’re enjoying the sense of adventure as our operational tempo picks up. The cohesion between our team has grown infinitely stronger. We’ve morphed into each other’s family away from our parents, wives, and kids. There is a deeper sense of respect between us which was certainly missing while we were in garrison. I’m not sure how to describe it quite yet, but when I figure it out, I’ll be sure to share it.
Till then, updates to come will include life on patrol, Afghanistan Elections, and Ramadan…it’s going to be a great trip 🙂 Thanks for all the support!