Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Month 8 Day 30

Notebook Entry
Convoy Garmsir, Afghan National Security Forces meeting and video teleconference, Afghan National Army dump trash.

Journal Entry
Went on a convoy to PB [Patrol Base] Amir in Garmsir. Nothing really significant happened. We were slowed up by a report of an IED on the road and the sweep team. It turned out to be nothing.

The morning was a bit rough two MRAPs [Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicles] went down. We switched to MATVs [MRAP All terain Vehicles]. The ride itself was OK. My new driver is good. Major Valquist is a bit of a pain, he doesn’t like the dust, so he wants to drive on hard-stuff, but hard stuff is hard on the vehicles when the ruts run counter to the direction of travel. We broke two shocks yesterday. You have to make tradeoffs do you want something easy on the vics, hard on the eyes, or what. You can’t have it all. The other disappointing thing is that the ANA [Afghan National Army]were throwing trash out into the canal and all over the place the entire trip. Its like guys, this is your country. WTF?

I guess yesterday was another botched day in the rear. The ANA didn’t show up to the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] meeting, they just stopped following Capt Arthur. They showed up for a VTC [Video Teleconference], but it was just a test VTC. They are getting the idea that they need to test stuff, but it is all Marine equipment, so they just pissed off the Marines.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Month 8 Day 29

Notebook Entry
Afghan National Army Soldier threatens Marine. Reports, Concept of Operations.

Journal Entry
I spent the day again working on updating the conops [Concept of Operations] and reports.

Some drama with Capt Nowak about intel stuff. Basically he feels like everything he does is a personal favor to me. I don’t think of it like this. It is simply my job, we are trying to win a war. Shouldn’t we all do what is best toward that end?

An ANA [Afghan National Army] soldier threatened one of the Marines on post. He said he was going to shoot him five times. The BDOC [Base Defense Operations Center] just called us. They expected us to deal with the whole thing. Its like dude, you work with these guys on a daily basis. We are the embedded TRAINING team, not the guys who should deal with every Afghan problem on base. It doesn’t help that Maj Valquist personally went to deal with it. It’s like, sir, I know you are a Marine and want to get your hands dirty, but you should have bigger things to worry about. Yet another way we are distracted from the goal.

I was able to sit down with Maj Davidson for lunch and start turning over the admin stuff with him. He was ready with technical solutions to the problems. I finally got through to him that solutions were not forthcoming because the Afghans don’t want solutions. They don’t want to be accountable for the number of leave days they take, what billet they are assigned to, etc. If they can collect pay and do nothing, then they will do that. If you accept that, then you can sometimes use it to your advantage and make some positive change, if you fight it, then you will just get frustrated and the Afghans will just wait you out. He is getting the same story from all of the staff members. I think that it is finally sinking in.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Month 8 Day 28

Notebook Entry
At the Combined Combat Operations Center planning all day. We kicked out the Russians, 2M Khost Bridge, Halon Fire Suppression, volleyball.

Journal Entry
I was at the CCOC [Combined Combat Operations Center] all day working on the planning for the move to Kabul. We gave a brief to LtCol Walcott and that went fine. It didn’t bother me too much to miss out on a day of interaction with the ANA [Afghan National Army] because it was the 19 anniversary of the day that the Russians left the country. They had a little parade.

I spoke to the ANA AirO [Air officer] about the whole thing. He was an officer in the Army when the Russians were here. I asked if he thought that the Afghans would have another day to celebrate the kicking out of the Americans in 19 years. He looked at be for a second and then said after a long pause that he didn’t think they would celebrate our departure. I gathered from his pause that he was lying and trying not to hurt my feelings.

When I sat down to have lunch with him and a Sgt from the Logistics section we talked about women. Apparently in Khost province a bride can cost 2 million Afghanis. They were again wowed by the fact that I had been married for four years to one woman, that I had no kids, and that my wife worked. The wanted to know how much I made, I lied and told them that I made a couple thousand dollars a month and that in America stuff was very expensive, so this didn’t make me rich.

One of the Afghans was smoking a cigarette inside of his HMMWV and it activated the Halon fire-suppression system. It basically sucks the air out of the entire truck. The Afghans had no idea what was happening, a little bit comical to see guys coming out thinking they had released a smoke-grenade.

The Marines again got destroyed in volleyball.