Kenny in the field 14 July 2012

Afghanistan_PIX

It has taken awhile, attached are a few photographs I requested from the combat photographer assigned to our command. He is a talented young soldier and a good man.

As you can see from the photos, life here is far from pleasant. My living conditions are much better than theirs.  The thing I look forward to most is a daily bowl of oatmeal and a cup of terrible coffee for breakfast. The food for the rest of the meals from the mess hall all tastes the same.  If I were to guess, what most of the men in the photographs look forward to, they would simply say, “tomorrow”.

This war in Afghanistan has quietly fallen from the hearts and minds of most Americans, but I know not from yours. I sincerely thank you for that.  As MacArthur so wisely reminded us:

“The soldier is the one who prays most fervently for peace for he is the one who has placed his life on the altar of freedom”.

My burns are healing.  Last week, work was done to the showers by local Afghan workers. I am now convinced they are Taliban and reversed the dual Hot and Cold knobs on purpose.  In an instant, I was scalded down the front of my chest and received 1st degree burns complete with large blisters and pain.  The worst places I applied bandages with 1st aid ointment.  I knew that was necessary due to once removed, they were yucky.  I now approach the showers differently.  I go through a long start-up and shut-down process to prevent future incidents.

I purchased a new knife here in our little PX. It is the Benchmade “330 Infidel”.  Besides really liking the name, it is a spring loaded stiletto with a 4 inch blade.  I’ve used it to remove staples so far.

As I experienced during my time in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, people stink. I hope I do not, but might. Thirty years ago, I told Pam not to throw away my bottle of “Hi Karate” and “Old Spice” cologne for I could use it now.  I am convinced the smell has to due to the food or the poor laundry process. I have been told that they do not use detergent because of possible bomb making potential.  Damn those IEDs and the bastards who are responsible for them!  So many of our good men and women are killed and severely injured by the cowards who make, plant, and install them. I read all the causality reports every day.  I consolidate them and send them forward.  You have no idea the horror I read.  It even makes my cold heart sad.

The other night’s “Fallen Hero” ceremony was especially difficult.

Because of on IED, six good men sent home to God leaving their comrades and families to morn their loss.  It does not matter how many of these ceremonies I attend, tears fall and I am unashamed.  I refuse to miss any for that is the very least I can do for those who have done their duty. You can tell when things are to go badly.  The night previously, I knew something evil this way comes when I first heard than saw multiple MEDIVAC choppers land and take off at the field hospital here in Bagram not far from my office.  Unfortunately, I predict the situation here will only get worse as we draw closer to leaving this miserable place.

Fortunately, tomorrow will be new and no one knows what it will bring.

I pray for protection, safety and success for our men and women in harms’ way. It is sad to note that I replaced the word “victory” with “success” in the previous sentence.  There will be no victory in this place called Afghanistan.  We the United States military are a decisive fighting force, period! We make our mistake(s) when we linger AFTER the victory trying to diplomatically dabble in democratic experimentation.

It is time to return to the “speak softly and carry a big stick” era, no more country building. Never works except to create a cesspool of greed, corruption, criminal activity and a considerable drain of our National treasure.  Too often that includes the loss of treasure bled from our closest allies.

Today is a new day.  Maybe, just maybe, it will be a good day.

Semper Fidelis,

Ken

CJTF-1, ID, CJ5 Assessments

Task Force Defender

Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan

APO, AE 09354

10 thoughts on “Kenny in the field 14 July 2012

  1. “Because of on IED, six good men sent home to God leaving their comrades and families to morn their loss.” I can tell you that not everyone out there fighting for your freedoms believes in God. Some of those men have gone to their Spaghetti Monster
    ,Gaia, or just have gone. Don’t disrespect them by placing your religious beliefs on them.

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    1. I am approving your comment because you have the right to say it. But I am going to tell you, he didn’t take a position on someone elses belief, he took a position on his belief. There is an old saying that about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_no_atheists_in_foxholes. I am posting his writing as it is when it comes in unfiltered. It isn’t my writing but as you have the right to have your opinion he has the right to say what he wants as he wants based on his perspective. He loves America and he has fought for our values and freedom for many years, please don’t mistake his language.

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  2. Reading your post took me back…to last year. I appreciate your thoughts, I had similar ones, but I was infinitely happy when we had oatmeal, otherwise it was just coffee. One of the more difficult things was when Taps played all of a sudden, and you know that somewhere really close by, someone breathed for the last time. Stay safe

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  3. While there will always be a need for traditional warfare, especially with those who have no respect for life or liberty, but actually believe their enslavement to a culture of death and hate is serving a divine purpose, we have turned a corner in the last decade of war. In fact, Lesson One in JCOA’s Decade of War, Volume I, is “Understand the Opearational Environment”. The principles of COIN, and the creation of the SOIC over the past ten years have shifted the focus to ensuring social-cultural analysis is taken into consideration before we engage in traditional battles. We can do more good (or harm) by targeting support (or denial of support) to key leaders, and understanding the second and third order effects of building (or destroying) critical infrastructure than the most effective and efficient delivery of “steel on target”. We can only pray that these hard-earned lessons aren’t casualties of the “peace dividend” as we draw down funding, and lose seasoned personnel who understand the need for this new form of warfighting.

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    1. I am saddened that it has taken 10 years to integrate/acknowledge the need of ensuring social-cultural analysis is taken into consideration when engaging in traditional battles. Some of us are fortunate enough to know the folks who saw this coming in its earliest stages but had no champion who could push the agenda properly and effectively to leadership; we have already discovered the answers to some of the pertinent questions when it comes to tactical moves necessary to target or deny support.

      I can only pray that we are capturing in tactical detail those lessons learned by the folks who are currently pissed off at the all of a sudden “were sorry you were right discussions” and also those lessons learned from the folks who saw it from the beginning who have already left due to the ignorance of some of our leadership.

      Great comments Kim. I miss you all.

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