Archive for FOB Ramrod

Operation Tora Arwa V

Posted in In country with tags , , on August 5, 2009 by jetgwot

On patrol

Well, most of the battalion just got back from a four day mission to an area we haven’t been before. I’ll be posting an article with photos on Friday (I don’t want to get into the details now), but three of our guys were killed by roadside bombs and several others were injured. It’s been rough on all of us. A memorial service is being held on Friday. I’ll be covering the service with photos and will be sending back photos immediately. Please keep the families of those killed and wounded in your prayers. One of our fallen heroes is pictured in the photo of six guys sleeping below. He is second on the left. The photo was taken the day before he was killed.

Not an exciting job, but someone has to do it

Not an exciting job, but someone has to do it

Delicious Afghan grapes

Delicious Afghan grapes

DSC_0415
–THIS PHOTO LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK–
I think she had mascara on...

I think she had mascara on...

A Soldier with a mortar tube sticking out of his assault pack pulls security during a patrol

A Soldier with a mortar tube sticking out of his assault pack pulls security during a patrol

I really wanted to hitch a ride on this camel for some reason

I really wanted to hitch a ride on this camel for some reason

On patrol
Tank alert
Catching a nap, whenever possible
Always on the move; you sleep when you can

Always on the move; you sleep when you can

On patrol
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It’s the care from the package that matters

Posted in In country with tags , , , on July 8, 2009 by jetgwot

It doesn’t matter what’s in it. In fact, it’s more of the thought that counts. And, if you haven’t yet, finish reading this, go to the store, buy some “stuff” and send it off to whoever you know out here.

When you are deployed, receiving a care package is like waking up and realizing it’s Christmas. As soon as we hear the helicopter, or mailcopter as I like to call it, we dash to the connex and wait with eager anticipation of a care package. Alright, maybe we don’t dash their, but we certainly briskly walk to it.  Like I said, it doesn’t really matter what’s in it. It just means a lot to know someone was thinking about you stateside.

A church of my parents sent me about 20 letters thanking me for my service and praying for my safety while I was here. It was so thoughtful and made my day. I was sitting in the chow hall when someone walked in and handed me a bundle of letters. I felt loved.

So as much as that Soldier might tell you he doesn’t want you to send him anything — do it anyway. We can’t get anything much of anything in this dustbowl, so even if you raid your pantry and throw in some granola bars, some fig newtons and a box of cereal, it will make their day — possibly even their week.

Flyleaf

Posted in In country with tags , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by jetgwot
Flyleaf in concert at FOB Ramrod

Flyleaf in concert at FOB Ramrod

The band Flyleaf touched down at Forward Operating Base Ramrod July 5 to the delight of hundreds of Soldiers and civilians. The band held a meet and greet with the Soldiers and then went over to the Canadian Artillery side of the base and fired off several 155mm illumination rounds. They can shoot up to 40 kilometers away with pinpoint accuracy.

After that, they held a two-hour concert on our makeshift stage directly between the chapel and our Rocky-style gym. It was a great time and a much-needed morale booster for everyone here. Who would have thought in Southern Afghanistan that we would be listening to an internationally known “Christian” Rockband?

The band left early the next day, but they stayed after the concert to sign everything from scraps of paper to Soldiers shirts. I’m sure we’ll see some of the items being auctioned on E-bay.

I’d like to personally thank Flyleaf for coming out here. For two hours no one thought of fighting, or worried about their next patrol; they just stood their smiling and singing along with a band who wanted to show their appreciation for all the military does. Thanks Flyleaf!

Flyleaf

Flyleaf

Flyleaf

Flyleaf

1-12th’s first operation

Posted in In country with tags , , , on July 6, 2009 by jetgwot

The 1-12th Infantry Regiment conducted their first operation in the Maywand District area late, last week.

An Afghan girl

The battalion moved out at night using night vision goggles to guide their way. The goal of the mission was to disrupt insurgent activity and to uncover any enemy caches. We also met with village elders to discuss their needs and help determine we can help them stabilize the area they live in.

The overall mission was successful. We did have a couple of heat casualties, who were quickly given IVs and taken by medevac. The long walk back in 100 plus temps certainly played a toll on everyone.

Last night, the Christian Rockband, Flyleaf, came out for the day and met with troops, followed by an hour-long concert. I’ll post some of those pictures later today. They definitely were a boost to morale out here.

A quick nap

Troops on patrol

Meeting with village elder

Can we play?

Some pics around Ramrod

Posted in In country with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by jetgwot
Sand ravaging the base

Sand ravaging the base

Incoming sandstorm

Incoming sandstorm

Patching ceremony for the 1-12th Battalion

Patching ceremony for the 1-12th Battalion

A view from COP Rath

A view from COP Rath

Chapel

Chapel

Here are just a couple pics from the past week or so. I’ll add some more at the end of the week.

Contain the plague

Posted in In country with tags , , on July 1, 2009 by jetgwot

Like locusts ravaging a harvest-ready crop, the plague set in. First one, than two, than a dozen. And, that’s just the ones that went to the aid station.

Some say it was the non-potable ice water the Gatorade marinated in at the chow hall; others say it was from certain individuals not washing their hands, and some would even say it was food poisoning.

Whatever it was, myself and about 20-25 other Soldiers were out for the count for the past couple days. I haven’t felt this bad in years, but thankfully the docs here had some good medicine to make a world of difference. Goodbye locusts!!

So, that about sums up the past couple days for me. The weather here has been quite hot. We’ve been peaking at about 105 degrees during the day. At night, it settles around 80. Keep the Soldiers and civilians here at FOB Ramrod and throughout Afghanistan in your prayers. It’s not easy going out on patrol everyday in these temps — toting 50 plus pounds of body armor and gear — fighting an enemy that uses dirty tactics to undermine our efforts of re-building this country.

The elections are coming up in just less than two months and if the Taliban or Anti-Afghan Forces have anything to do with it, they’ll be trying to cause as much chaos and destruction leading up to the elections. Reports say more than 80 percent of the Afghan population disapprove of the Taliban, but they are too scared to stand up to them.
Hopefully this surge of military will prove to be the weed killer needed to help this country flourish in the right direction.

27 miles?

Posted in Combat Skills Training with tags , , on June 18, 2009 by jetgwot

Yep, that’s right, 27 miles. I determined last night as I jogged around our little Forward Operating Base that on my 27th birthday I would attempt to run 27 miles. Notice I said attempt. It’s worth a try. I always wanted to run a marathon, and when I leave here I just might be able to say I ran one in Afghanistan.

So, I’m throwing it out here to somehow commit myself to now doing it. Otherwise my loyal readers will forever hound me for not doing it. So, on Sept. 13, while most of the stateside population rests peacefully in their beds, I’ll don a pair of Night Vision Goggles and begin my 27-mile quest. I’m picturing myself starting at about 3 a.m., which would put me finishing between 8-10 a.m. if all goes well.

Sponsor: I figure if I’m running a marathon in Afghanistan I should have a sponsor. Mainly, someone who can occasionally e-mail me and ask about my progress and whether or not I was dropped as a child. The answer could be yes, but either way, I’ll attempt it.

Now I just need to order a couple new pairs of running shoes. I have a lot of running to do to get prepped for this. Mind you, this isn’t a simple track or smooth road I’m looking to swiftly “track around.” It’s a mixture of “death boulders” as I like to call them, soft moon-like dust and the occasional up or downhill trek.

Wish me luck. Something tells me I’ll need slightly more than that.