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Old 12-10-2007, 00:44   #26
ks farmboy
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thats the closest thing to hell that i could find to describe afghanistan.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:41   #27
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thats the closest thing to hell that i could find to describe afghanistan.
Hell? Afghanistan is a beautiful country...Just a little backwater, and in desperate need of a steady, caring government, and a massive attitude adjustment among the populace.





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Old 12-10-2007, 09:31   #28
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thats the closest thing to hell that i could find to describe afghanistan.
Getting off the plane in Kuwait, we wondered if that place were hell. We did our trainup in winter in cool weather, and it had just reached comfortable spring temperatures back home. We got off the plane into insane heat to which we were not even remotely acclimatized. It was also the middle of a week-long sandstorm. Based on the weather and the barren terrain, we joked that Kuwait was "hell" or at least "purgatory."

At our first base in Iraq, we were at one of the hottest sectors in the whole country. Our sector was a dumping ground for mutilated corpses and we regularly saw civilians get killed by insurgent attacks. Plus, our living accomodations were very poor (no phones, no internet, no air conditioning, no regular showers, no reliable laundry, long hours, etc.). We joked that our sector in Iraq was a "hellhole."

On the other hand, I came home with my life, all my fingers and toes, my sanity, and everyone I was close to.




When you say that Afghanistan is hell, what exactly do you mean? Is it the weather, the terrain, the living accomodations, or the presence of the enemy? The worst thing for me being deployed wasn't any of those things, it was just being away from home for so long, without freedom or privacy.

Please explain.
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Old 12-11-2007, 18:50   #29
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i got back from Afghanistan in April this year. spent 6 months there, got called home for e-leave, got injured getting mugged while in transit home and couldnt get back to my unit.

anyway, the short time i was over there, we were along the Pak Border and our mission was to advise the ANG, AP, and ABP forces. we also went into Pakistan to train the PakMil how to do proper vehicle searches because we caught a cople VBIEDs and Suiscide bombers from their side of the bridge. my platoon shared a FOB with the ASGs that protected the FOB. yup, we were solely protected by the Afghans. no issues though. they were the first to respond when we got rocketed, even though nothing was close enough, and they also did TCPs for us and such. most of our time was spent in the local villages giving food and medical aid to the locals. most of the APs were always "out" when we go there to patrol with them doing "Poppy Eradication" even though the poppys were still everywhere. maybe thining out the competition.

most of the missions are going to be very political. its going to suck compared to Iraq, been there too. If you are used to the Green Zone, BIAP and MSR Tampa, my old stomping grounds, then you will think that Afghanistan is a crappy hole in the world. i know there are a few decent places but i never saw them. the roads were actual riverbeds and noone drives on them when it rains. we actually ceased missions when it flooded around us.
as far as the "bigger bases" that i went to, it was JAF and BAF. they both left alot to be desired but it kept the basics covered. make sure that family and friends send you most everything you need or want. mail was taking about 2 weeks when i was there.
as far as skirmishes, we had quite a few VBIEDs and suiscide bombers. there were only a couple actual firefights that hapened in our zones, but they were all attacks on the APs or local distric centers. their VBIEDs were not as advanced as they were in iraq so not nearly as much damage but with irans help it will likely get worse. there were ongoing airstrikes and firefights pretty regularly north of us i heard on the TacSat fairly often so i guess we just got a good spot.
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Old 12-11-2007, 18:52   #30
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
Getting off the plane in Kuwait, we wondered if that place were hell. We did our trainup in winter in cool weather, and it had just reached comfortable spring temperatures back home. We got off the plane into insane heat to which we were not even remotely acclimatized. It was also the middle of a week-long sandstorm. Based on the weather and the barren terrain, we joked that Kuwait was "hell" or at least "purgatory."

At our first base in Iraq, we were at one of the hottest sectors in the whole country. Our sector was a dumping ground for mutilated corpses and we regularly saw civilians get killed by insurgent attacks. Plus, our living accomodations were very poor (no phones, no internet, no air conditioning, no regular showers, no reliable laundry, long hours, etc.). We joked that our sector in Iraq was a "hellhole."

On the other hand, I came home with my life, all my fingers and toes, my sanity, and everyone I was close to.




When you say that Afghanistan is hell, what exactly do you mean? Is it the weather, the terrain, the living accomodations, or the presence of the enemy? The worst thing for me being deployed wasn't any of those things, it was just being away from home for so long, without freedom or privacy.

Please explain.
i left fort riley in february for OIF 1 and returned to fort Dix in Feb also. it was still about 110 in Kuwait when we lwft to come home and 4 in NJ. talk about shock.
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:05   #31
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B'Jam, have you had further intel on whereabouts you'll be winding up? Seems like I'm doing a clockwise rotation of the country. I started out in Kabul, wandered South to Kandahar, then Bastion, then Lashka Gar, and on to Shouz. Who knows where we'll go from there.....
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:49   #32
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B'Jam, have you had further intel on whereabouts you'll be winding up? Seems like I'm doing a clockwise rotation of the country. I started out in Kabul, wandered South to Kandahar, then Bastion, then Lashka Gar, and on to Shouz. Who knows where we'll go from there.....
We learned a lot about our mission...

Our Brigade is going to be a part of Task Force Phoenix, and we'll be scattered across multiple FOBs and firebases, probably. Much of the brigade will be assigned to ETT teams, which will consist of a small unit (squad? section?) attached to Afghan army or police. The ETT team will be responsible for providing training and going out on patrols with the guys they are tasked with.

I'm not sure of the breakdown, whether we'll be 100% ETT teams in our Squadron, or whether we'll only have 50% of our guys in ETT and the rest on tower guard and such, or.... As I understand it, ETT teams are usually top-heavy with rank, though they still need lower-ranking soldiers for driving and gunning. I should be a (combat experienced) junior E-5 by the time we deploy, so I'm not sure how that effects my chances of being on an ETT team versus something else.

So far, they haven't told us anything about which region of the country we'll be going to. Just about every month, our leadership brings in Afghanistan veterans to talk about their tour, and they've all served in different places over there. I don't think our leadership even has a clue which part of the country we're headed to, and the lower ranks probably won't find out until after we've already arrived.

Task Force Pheonix could put us in the south, east, west, or north...
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:57   #33
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Ah, Ok. I'm part of TFP now. Yeah, expect to be spread across the country. You'll be dropping a lot of guys into PMT teams and ETT teams as you said. FDD and IDR are big here for the current police mentor missions. If you are back around kabul, PMT is no big deal. If you are in the West....well, lets say there isn't a lot of policework going on in the West. Or....you could be a Fobbit and never leave Phoenix.

Enjoy the chow while you're at Phoenix; I haven't had anything as good since I left. You'll know you aren't in Kabul anymore if you run into the oversized female Brit Meat Nazi Cook at Bastion: "one meat product per tray!". To think I had to wait two months to see another caucasian female after seeing her ......
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Old 07-18-2008, 13:34   #34
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What do you think the odds of getting on an ETT/PMT team? I'll be a newly-promoted (hopefully) E-5 when we deploy. I've been to Iraq once before, and I'm in a combat arms MOS (cavalry).

Is your unit putting entire companies/battalions into ETT teams, or are they only cherry-picking soldiers for that job? Are most of the ETT guys higher ranks?
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:29   #35
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Its a good chance. i was on the first round list for PMT because of my civilian job, but by the time they got around to filling second and third tier requirements, they were picking anyone they could get in a combat MOS. I hear that ETT teams in various areas are still very short-handed, so I have every reason to believe that you could get on one of those teams if you made your interest known. Don't LIE about your experience; we had a guy do that and he hurt the mission ebcause it was too late to backfill by the time the deceit was found out.
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Old 07-19-2008, 15:02   #36
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Here's an interesting article on the attack where 9 were KIA

Joint al Qaeda and Taliban force behind Nuristan base attack
By BILL ROGGIOJuly 14, 2008 9:03 PM

Yesterday's deadly complex attack on a joint US and Afghan outpost in Nuristan province was carried out by a large, mixed force of Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied extremist groups operating eastern Afghanistan.
Sunday's assault occurred just three days after 45 US soldiers, likely from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and 25 Afghan troops established a new combat outpost in the town of Wanat, which straddles the provincial border between Nuristan and Kunar. The troops had little time to learn the lay of the land, establish local contacts, and build an intelligence network. The fortifications were not fully completed, according to initial reports.

A complex attack:

The assault was carried out in the early morning of July 13 after the extremist forces, numbering between 200 and 500 fighters, took over a neighboring village. "What they [the Taliban] did was they moved into an adjacent village - which was close to the combat outpost - they basically expelled the villagers and used their houses to attack us," an anonymous senior Afghan defense ministry official told Al Jazeera. Tribesmen in the town stayed behind "and helped the insurgents during the fight," General Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh, the provincial police chief, told The Associated Press.

Link:

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...aeda_and_t.php
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Old 07-19-2008, 15:33   #37
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Its a good chance. i was on the first round list for PMT because of my civilian job, but by the time they got around to filling second and third tier requirements, they were picking anyone they could get in a combat MOS. I hear that ETT teams in various areas are still very short-handed, so I have every reason to believe that you could get on one of those teams if you made your interest known. Don't LIE about your experience; we had a guy do that and he hurt the mission ebcause it was too late to backfill by the time the deceit was found out.
What are "second and third tier requirements?" Are those low-ranking vehicle drivers and such that don't take an active role in leading training?

Did your battalion all stay within the same region of the country? Did they mix different units together to make the teams?

What happened to the guys that weren't picked for an ETT or PMT team?
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Old 07-19-2008, 22:12   #38
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Soldiers recount deadly attack on Afghanistan outpost

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Soldiers recount deadly attack on Afghanistan outpost

Ben Bloker / Stripes

Spc. Tyler Stafford, 23, a soldier from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), recounts the hours-long fight that killed nine of his comrades as he recuperates at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Ben Bloker / Stripes

Spc. Tyler Stafford and Sgt. Jacob Walker talk about the attack.

Everything was on fire. The trucks. The bazaar. The grass.
It looked surreal. It looked like a movie.

Link:

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?s...&article=56237
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:11   #39
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What are "second and third tier requirements?" Are those low-ranking vehicle drivers and such that don't take an active role in leading training?

Did your battalion all stay within the same region of the country? Did they mix different units together to make the teams?

What happened to the guys that weren't picked for an ETT or PMT team?
They did an initial canvas of the Brigade for anyone who had a law enforcement background for the PMT teams. Once we were already picked and on our way, they decided they needed to draw additional bodies from our Company to round out other PMT teams.

Our Company, let alone any higher element, is spread around the company from ARSIC North to ARSIC South to ARSIC West and Kabul itself.

Our guys who are not doing PMT are doing Secfor, PSD, etc in various regions of the country.
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Old 07-20-2008, 15:42   #40
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They did an initial canvas of the Brigade for anyone who had a law enforcement background for the PMT teams. Once we were already picked and on our way, they decided they needed to draw additional bodies from our Company to round out other PMT teams.

Our Company, let alone any higher element, is spread around the company from ARSIC North to ARSIC South to ARSIC West and Kabul itself.

Our guys who are not doing PMT are doing Secfor, PSD, etc in various regions of the country.
Thanks. How big are your teams, by the way?

We should be arriving sometime in the spring (May?) Any chance that we'll be relieving your unit?
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Old 07-20-2008, 21:11   #41
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We have a mix of Dyne, Marines and Army. On paper you're supposed to have two Army guys in each District being covered down on; in reality many are running with just one. The numbers are going to vary by what stage that District is considered to be in for for reform purposes ( I thru V )
We don't RIP til November; with a May date I'm guessing you'd more likely be down in the South; those guys got into their areas before we did.
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Old 07-20-2008, 23:08   #42
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I don't think I understand your answer. What's this stuff about "two army guys in each District" - your teams are bigger than two soldiers... I'm confused.

You're also saying that Army, Dynecorp, and Marines can be mixed in the same ETT/PMT team?


I'll be honest, I still have about a million questions... What are you using for your course of instruction? What kind of ratio are you doing between training and operations? Are you getting enough interpreters? Are you getting the resources you need for the mission in terms of manpower, equipment, and (especially) training? When you go outside the wire, is it for days at a time for each mission?

I'll keep pestering you so long as you humor me! If I get to be annoying, just let me know and I'll stop. Thanks so much for the answers so far - I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone doing the same mission that we'll likely have.

And, good luck over there. Stay safe.
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:34   #43
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I don't think I understand your answer. What's this stuff about "two army guys in each District" - your teams are bigger than two soldiers... I'm confused.
You're also saying that Army, Dynecorp, and Marines can be mixed in the same ETT/PMT team?


In Afghanistan you have two types of police reform going on: FDD, which is a dictrict development for areas that have a more stable and long term police presence. The other program is IDR, or In District Reform. This is for areas where there has been no police presence, where they are still in the process of standing up a functional police presence. This is largely in the South and West. In these areas, the mentor teams are composed of a mix of Marines, Army and Dyne. Our contribution is two guys per district.


Quote:
What are you using for your course of instruction?
There is a POI published out of Kabul. Its more of a basis for whats being taught; we are augmenting that with self-generated material, as all of us are instructors either on the military or civilian LEO side of the house.

Quote:
What kind of ratio are you doing between training and operations?
Varies by area.

Quote:
Are you getting enough interpreters?
No, but thats being corrected, so by the time you get here, it should be less of an issue. The biggest issue is that you have guys from Dari-speaking districts and you have guys from Pashto-speaking districts. So both your Afghan instructors and the terps need to be fluent in both Dari and Pashto. You already spend alot of time getting bogged down in translating from English to one language; now you have to translate to TWO other languages. On top of that, factor in that only about 5 % of your Afghans will be literate.

Quote:
Are you getting the resources you need for the mission in terms of manpower, equipment, and (especially) training?
Actually, they seem to be cutting back on manpower. We are through one phase of IDR training with half of the students from the districts we are currently training. They will be sending the remainder of the guys from those districts in a few weeks, and the number of Americans on the ground is being cut.

Equipment, yeah, for the most part. There are tons of Afghan weapons, uniforms, etc that we have on hand. Dyne is great in terms of providing training aids, office supplies, etc.

One of the biggest impediments to training other than the language issue is the general Afghan lack of motivation. Some of these guys are VERY motivated, some have NO motivation. This applies to both the ANP and the Afghan instructors. Once lunchtime rolls around, this country pretty much shuts down, especially on a Thursday. Trying to get them to do anything training-wise in the afternoon is like pulling teeth. It almost seems like some of these guys are ADD or suffer from some other type of learning disability.

Quote:
When you go outside the wire, is it for days at a time for each mission?
Keep in mind that this will vary by district and what your training mission is. In the South and West, you are mainly doing instruction because these are guys with NO formal police training.

Quote:
I'll keep pestering you so long as you humor me! If I get to be annoying, just let me know and I'll stop. Thanks so much for the answers so far - I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone doing the same mission that we'll likely have.

Feel free to ask questions. We were fed a steady stream of BS from desk weinies in Kabul about what it would be like out in the districts. You'll probably go to the COIN school or the DART training in Kabul before being pushed out. Keep in mind that those courses are being taught in large part by guys who stick around Kabul and don't know a lot about how things really are in other parts of the country outside of reading a report.
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Old 07-22-2008, 15:24   #44
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Commander: Media reports on Afghanistan outpost battle were exaggerated
173rdís fight not symbol of more violent Afghanistan, says Preysler
By Mark St.Clair, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, July 20, 2008

"The sky is not falling," Col. Charles "Chip" Preysler, commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, said Saturday from Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Preysler spoke via telephone less than a week after his paratroops and their Afghan allies were involved in a fierce attack at a small post near the village of Wanat. In the July 13 battle, nine of his men were killed and 15 others wounded.

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http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?s...1&archive=true
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:38   #45
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There's a lot of rumors flowing around about our mission in Afghanistan. Supposedly, the pentagon only "needs" 1500 soldiers for our Brigade's training mission, but we're overstrength at 3500 soldiers. There's discussion about whether some or all of our brigade could be assigned another mission in country... We're still preparing for the PMT/ETT mission, but it's not clear what will happen.

PMT/ETT teams:
What are the lowest ranks of soldiers that are assigned to PMT/ETT teams? Do some PFCs that are high-speed or have law-enforcement backgrounds get assigned? What about infantry/cavalry SPCs that have no combat experience?

For the guys that don't get picked for PMT/ETT teams - do they have a severe shortage of NCOs (squad leaders, platoon sergeants, etc.)?

What happened to your company commanders and other high-ranking guys that suddenly didn't have a unit to command?

Unrelated questions:
Do you know where your battalion/brigade's 13F (Forward Observers) went? Are they on the PMT/ETT teams? Tasked out to colocate with the PMT/ETT teams?
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:43   #46
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There's a lot of rumors flowing around about our mission in Afghanistan. Supposedly, the pentagon only "needs" 1500 soldiers for our Brigade's training mission, but we're overstrength at 3500 soldiers.

You need as many people as you can muster. The last two rotations have needed more people than initially thought

PMT/ETT teams:
What are the lowest ranks of soldiers that are assigned to PMT/ETT teams? Do some PFCs that are high-speed or have law-enforcement backgrounds get assigned? What about infantry/cavalry SPCs that have no combat experience?
Speaking only from personal experience, no one under E4

For the guys that don't get picked for PMT/ETT teams - do they have a severe shortage of NCOs (squad leaders, platoon sergeants, etc.)?

What happened to your company commanders and other high-ranking guys that suddenly didn't have a unit to command?

They still have secfor or other missions. PMT teams are not lifted intact from one unit; they are consolidated from Brigade-wide. Company Commanders still have the bulk of their units

Unrelated questions:
Do you know where your battalion/brigade's 13F (Forward Observers) went? Are they on the PMT/ETT teams? Tasked out to colocate with the PMT/ETT teams?

I haven't seen any in my area. My guess would be that they are with the line companies on whatever missions they are tasked with. Keep in mind that the Army has a vcery non-kinetic vision of this conflict, especially the top leaders in Kabul. The Marines have a much more kinetic vision of whats going on on the ground
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Old 08-13-2008, 16:45   #47
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Our mission changed. We're now getting a battlespace in South-East Afghanistan in what's supposedly a hot area.

We're no longer getting the ETT/PMT mission, though we're supposed to send some guys on an "ECT" mission, whatever that is. Maybe it's just a new acronym for ETT?
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Old 08-13-2008, 17:50   #48
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Our mission changed. We're now getting a battlespace in South-East Afghanistan in what's supposedly a hot area.

We're no longer getting the ETT/PMT mission, though we're supposed to send some guys on an "ECT" mission, whatever that is. Maybe it's just a new acronym for ETT?
Going to be on the Paki border then...Expect LOTS of mountain time....If you have any say in your Squad/Plt/whatever training, I would start pushing for some long ruck marches (off the hardball)....If you're around Ghanzi, the locals are pretty tolerate of the US forces (not so much NATO), and there will be at least one PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) operating there. You'll be close to KAF, so CAS should't be hard to get if needed...

Can't help you on the 'ECT', haven't heard of that before..



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Old 08-13-2008, 19:14   #49
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They're saying that ISAF will be providing our air support. They're currently talking about sending our entire troop to a remote patrol base that currently only contains a platoon.

We do a ruck march on some steep roads every drill. PT is becoming increasingly important.

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Old 08-13-2008, 19:49   #50
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They're saying that ISAF will be providing our air support. They're currently talking about sending our entire troop to a remote patrol base that currently only contains a platoon.

We do a ruck march on some steep roads every drill. PT is becoming increasingly important.
If that's the case brother, I hope you NEVER need them...

****, you may just be going to my old ****hole...We were on a little hole in the ground COB a million miles from anything....I think there was about 75 people, total....Honestly, I loved it! There was VERY little bull****, there were NO officers (well, American officers, I **** you not, the highest ranking Army personnel on the COB were a pair of E8s..)




drew




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There's one less tornado in Texas, a saddle is empty tonight...There's one hell of a cowboy in heaven, at the big rodeo in the sky. RIP LCpl Blake Wafford, Spc. Devon Gibbons, PFC Dean Bright, SSg Brian Craig. In the field we had a code of honor: you watch my back, I watch yours. Back here there's NOTHING.
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Nov 11, 2013 at 11:42