A Reservist's Tale Of A Tour

It’s Always Sunny In Helmand

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I don’t actually know if the subject line is true, but I can tell you that where I am currently, at Camp Leatherneck, a massive United States Marine Corps base in Helmand Province in southwestern Afghanistan the sun is blazing and the heat is ridiculous. It was almost hotter last night after sunset than it is most of the time back “home” in Kabul.

I’m here with another guy on what was originally an instructor validation trip to have our ANA instructors come certify instructions at 215 Corps, but the ANA then couldn’t come, and when we got here we discovered the course wasn’t running anyhow because the instructors went on leave, or something like that, so essentially, our main accomplishment here has been delivering two sea bags to one of our staff who lives here but was storing stuff in Kabul, and seeing a new part of the country for us.

This place is massive, in the middle of the desert they can land a 747, and there is something like 30,000 troops here. We got a tour today of the ANA training facilities and met some of their staff for chai, and got a good handle on how they’ve been delivering material here. I’m impressed, because it looks like they’ve created something that’s “Afghan right” and most importantly sustainable. That is the idea, because as we are winding up our mission it seems like decentralizing as much training as possible is what will work.

I had fun getting here, by the way, on a Hercules. Not a bad flight until about halfway when I started feeling airsick and wound up taking my helmet off to hold in such a way as to deal with any misfortune. It was that awful cold sweat feeling, but fortunately we hit the ground before any disasters happened, and walking out onto the tarmac made me feel better, even if it was just to be blasted by insane heat, quite the change from cool rainy Kabul we left a couple hours before…

So I’m here for a few days, mainly playing tourist, seeing some new things, and when I get back I have a fair few ideas on what we can do better to try to sort out that sustainability issue, the toughest nut we have to crack here I think.

Written by Nick

June 19, 2012 at 5:09 am

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