Greetings everyone

Posted in In country on October 12, 2009 by jetgwot

Alright, here is some new news. First off, while they (the battalion) are trying to get MWR computers, I don’t see it happening until at least December. Until then, I hope your Soldier knows someone who has access to a work computer to use.

Phones: Right now, despite great improvements in technology, we are having bandwidth problems. Because of this, MWR phones are not projected for another month or so. So, while it is in the works, you are still out of luck unless your Soldiers don’t mind waiting hours to use the two Canadian computers open to us temporarily.

Onto other things … The FOB has been expanded to accomodate the majority of the Battalion. Charlie Company is living in what they like to call the “Concentration camp.” Big white tents with no AC currently. The upside is that the high is only about 80 right now, so it’s bearable. The gym has been moved to a concrete slab and is mostly enclosed by tents, which keeps most of the dust out. The downside — the fly infestation. For whatever reason, over the past week, the flies have multiplied by the thousands. Hopefully the cold will kill them off.

!!!!!!!!!!!!Hockey!!!!!!!!!!!!!Soccer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Basketball!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s the little things that cheer us up here. Tomorrow I promise to post pictures, but we are almost finished with a hockey/soccer rink, and the basketball nets are being put up just next to the gym. This will be huge for the sports fans here. If you know of anyone that would like to donate basketballs, jerseys, hockey gear, soccer gear or misc sports equipment, reply to this post and I’ll e-mail you privately. For any donations, we’d like to spray paint their logo on the court or arena and take pictures to send back.  These courts being built are going to be a much-needed morale boost for the FOB.

CHOW: So, tomorrow is the dreaded Starvation Tuesdays, but I think they’ve ironed out the kinks. I guess the Canadians have a contract until December that only allows them to cook a certain amount of meals. B/c of that, Tuesdays are a no-go. Well, breakfast is usually passable, toast, cereal, pop tarts etc. Lunch is finally going to be MREs, soup and whatever left-overs they might have. A big change from before. Dinner should be great — Steaks and hamburgers will be given to each company to cook up for their Soldiers. So, while it’s not ideal, it’s livable.

So, things are slowly getting better. I think some things could be done quicker, but in time, it will be night and day difference. Any donations of equipment would be a huge morale booster. Feel free to contact local sports teams, sports stores or professional leagues to see if they would consider donating old jerseys to some gung-ho sports players overseas.

Take care and talk to you soon!

Good Morning America

Posted in In country on October 9, 2009 by jetgwot

Hey everyone. It’s so hard to get on the internet lately, but I wanted to let you know that the Good Morning America broadcast will  be live today, Friday (Est) time.  Chris Cuomo has been with us the past day and a half and they will be shooting live from our location with clips from the past day. If you miss their morning show, you should be able to view it online at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/.

Enjoy and talk to you soon.

Quick update

Posted in 1 on October 4, 2009 by jetgwot

So, the other rumor is that the Canadians are trying to improve the bandwidth on the wireless and that it will be back up in the next few days. Let’s keep our laptops crossed and hope for the best. Otherwise, it’s not looking so good.

Also, phones run through our NIPR lines and because of bandwidth problems, they don’t want to hook up additional phone lines. Let’s hope that gets fixed soon.

Anyway, what matters most is that we are all doing well otherwise, healthy and looking forward to getting back home to our families.

Write someone

Posted in In country with tags on October 4, 2009 by jetgwot

So, if you thought it was hard keeping in touch with your Soldier during the move; it’s only going to get worse. The Canadians have changed the password to the wireless and we are not allowed to use it. Awesome. Don’t ask how I’m posting this right now. I’m trying to remain calm as I type this, but I’m having a hard time because I feel our Soldiers deserve to have something better than this. I understand with the move that things will be rough at first, but it was never that good at Ramrod either. It’s difficult going on missions, living in less than desirable conditions and dealing with the stress out here in addition to being away from your family.
If some of you feel the same way I do, I encourage you to write or make phone calls on our behalf. Most of these Soldiers have no way to call home and now they don’t even have the opportunity to e-mail home. I know they are trying to work a solution for computers in the future, but I believe it should be on a higher priority.
Sorry for the rant, but I mainly wanted to let you know why you havn’t been and won’t be hearing from your Soldiers very often. As always, thanks for your kind words, care packages and prayers. It means the world to us.

Posted in In country with tags , , on September 29, 2009 by jetgwot
Gettin' in touch

Soldiers take advantage of the Canadian's wireless internet. At night, it's like a cluster of fireflies as everyone fights for connectivity.

The line for lunch and dinner typically averages 30-40 minutes. If you don't wait in line, you run the risk of getting no food at all.

The line for lunch and dinner typically averages 30-40 minutes. If you don't wait in line, you run the risk of getting no food at all.

My tent

My tent

EOD bomb team on a British Operation

EOD bomb team on a British Operation

EOD on patrol

EOD on patrol

Tank power

Tank power

Our first sandstorm at Wilson. Lasted close to 4 hours.

Our first sandstorm at Wilson. Lasted close to 4 hours.

Chinook leaving Canadian base

A Canadian tank with an awesome backdrop at a base 20 minutes from here.

A Canadian tank with an awesome backdrop at a base 20 minutes from here.

Back at Wilson

Posted in 1 on September 27, 2009 by jetgwot

So, I’m back at Wilson. Just a quick day trip to Kandahar and back.  I have to say, the lamb kabob and naan bread was absolutely delicious. Followed up by a green bean coffee, and I was set. Then I returned here … it’s not so bad. Internet is working, for now.

Net: I was asked if we could use another volleyball net. The one we have here seems to be in great condition, so for now, we are ok on that. Apart from snacks, I have to say, it’s the little stuff you wouldn’t think of that will go a long way.

Thanks to some new friends of mine, I received a frisbee, small football, baseball (the soft kind) and other misc toys. That’s the kind of stuff I wasn’t expecting, but honestly, I’ve found myself throwing those things at my roommates and going outside to throw frisbee just to relax.

I think the best method for picking out stuff for Soldiers is to take a child shopping with you. Let them pick out some stuff and send it. You won’t be to far off with what will make a Soldier’s day out here.

I hope everyone is doing well. We are finally getting situated and the Battalion is going to be doing some really exciting things in the Zhari District. I’ll fill you in later on the details.

A much-needed update

Posted in In country with tags , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by jetgwot

Hi everyone,

Let’s start off with today. I’m at Kandahar for a day to resupply on the necessities. We were running low on laundry soap and other essentials. I was hoping to pick up a small fridge, but they only had 220V fridges. No benne! Oh well. Warm water it is.

MAIL: So, all mail is being redirected to Wilson. If you Ramrodded it, don’t worry. It’s been showing up here at Wilson. For future reference, just switch FOB names and keep the rest the same.

Life on the FOB so far. Well, a new chow hall has opened although the Tuesday menu has stayed the same. Which means nothing but cereal, soup, and scrounge-a-meal-on-your-own. I hear rumors that the Tuesday famine might be changing. We’ll keep our stomachs crossed until then.

Some interesting news. I’ve arranged for Good Morning America to come out and cover the battalion. I can’t give exact dates, but I will be posting the dates that they will be shooting live the day or morning of the shoots. Keep an eye out for it, you’ll probably see some Soldiers you know on the show! Pretty cool, I thought so too.

What else can I tell you about the FOB. Oh, ok. We have a sand volleyball court. Typically you’ll find teams playing in the early evening when things cool off. The Canadian wireless internet is hit and miss — and from what I hear, is soon going to be a complete miss. Hopefully our S6 (comms) shop will have the MWR computers hooked up soon. Until then, we are fortunate to have the wireless.

Phones: Currently, there are no DSN phones to use unless Soldiers ask their company commanders to borrow their office phones. It’s in the works and routine calling should be available soon. So, it’s not that your hubby or wife doesn’t want to chat — they just don’t have the ability to do so.

Work: Things have been slow transitioning to the new FOB. Soldiers have been busy building their tents and making this “homey.” They are trying to clear a field for football and soccer and a running track should be grated soon. (We hope)

I’ve got some new pictures to post, but my camera is back at Wilson. I return shortly and will have some new ones to post.

Oh, we have a 30-45 minute wait for chow everyday. Why, you ask? Because they typically run out of food and if you don’t get there early, you usually end up with the scraps. Which, for those of us that could stand to lose a few pounds, it isn’t such a bad thing!

Alright, send me any questions you might have. Take care and I’ll be posting more frequently as long as the internet connection sticks with me.