Sunday, December 22, 2013

One Week into Command

Well, week 1 of command is in the books, and I'm pleased to say things are going well.  The honeymoon is over, and plenty of people have found my office (turns out a LOT of people are interested in meeting me...shocking!) to see what improvements can be made in their favorite area.  Not surprisingly, the gym is on many folks' minds and, with all the use, the machines just get run into the ground.  I already made several new friends, though, just by listening and telling them I already had a plan to address their concerns.  As usual, though, since I'm not that smart, I benefit from the wisdom and foresight of others:  My predecessor had already purchased three new treadmills and a weight machine.  All I had to do was deliver the good news that they were on their way!  I'll take it, though.

We also started our next class of Security Forces training.  Every seven weeks, we train 30 Afghan Security Forces members on basic weapons and tactics employment.  I went over to check out how Day 1 went and was proud to see they were all enthusiastic and eager to learn.  Below are a couple of pictures I took, where they were learning the basics of operating and breaking down their weapons.

I got indoctrinated quickly into the culture of random power outages, too.  I was notified one afternoon of a 6-hour power outage (which would also take out our water because it runs via electric pumps) that would start the next morning.  That was fun breaking that news as the mayor, too.  Well, as luck would have it, right as the power outage was supposed to start and those that were leaving to go back to the main base were leaving, the base alarm went off and we went on lockdown.  I tried to call the Afghan contractor to see if they could delay the power outage for an hour while we got through the situation and took accountability of everyone and was told no.  Nice.  Fortunately, for whatever reason, the power stayed on for 3 more hours and only lasted about an hour and a half.  The nice part was everyone that lives on the main base went home, and I got caught up with work!

I said goodbye to two of my Defenders this week, MSgt Rich Blackstone and SSgt Chris McAleer.  They had earned a tremendous amount of respect here on the base, so it was hard to see them go, but I'm glad that they made it home for Christmas.  They paid their dues. We got SSgt McAleer's replacement in the next day, and he's not only stationed at Altus, but he's from Snyder, which is just 30 miles away. Needless to say, we hit it off.

I'll close with a few pictures for this week.  First, a rare clear day in Kabul:

A couple of days later...I'm pretty sure there used to be a mountain over there...

Standing around the fire pit...The cops build a bonfire every single night.

As you can imagine, Christmas is an interesting time over here.  It's absolutely phenomenal to see the Christmas spirit come out in various and creative ways.  Here are a couple of pictures of the Christmas tree my guys made out of camo netting.

As you all spend time with your families over Christmas, take a moment to pause and think of those sacrificing to serve over here.  Don't worry about us too much, though:  Necessity is the mother of all invention, and we constantly look for ways to make life better, have fun, and revel in the camaraderie.  We miss our families, but we are definitely enjoying ourselves. Life is good!

1 comment:

  1. Should we send marshmallows in the next care package? On second thought, maybe marshmallows on top of sugary sereal in the chow hall will mean you need even more equipment in the gym.