I LOVE my job! In my three months in Afghanistan, I’ve had the opportunity to travel Zabul Province, Herat and Farah (in the western part of the country) and now to Spin-Boldak (or Spin-B), which is near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. In all my travels, I’ve met service members doing extraordinary things, and this trip was no different.
I convoyed to Spin-B, and let me tell you, it was probably the bumpiest two and a half hour ride of my life. Whoever built the MRAP’s did a great job making it IED and small arms fire resistant, but I think they forgot to add shocks. Anyways, I arrived at Spin-B the way I arrive at most places: in pitch black. By the time I got checked in with the right people and settled in my tent, it was nearly 11:30 at night, and was told to be ready to go by 5 the next morning. Needless to say, I showed up (on time) for my first mission in Spin-B a little tired, but excited nonetheless.
That first mission was with the Mad Dog Troop of the 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. We loaded up in the Stryker’s (my first time in that vehicle) and headed down to the border crossing point. There, the soldiers have a couple of different missions. One team is sent to get HIIDES enrollments, which will help track the movements of the population, and eventually, the Taliban as well. They also brought a drug dog with them, to help them search trucks coming across the border for any illegal products. Probably the biggest role they play, though, is just as deterrents. By having a presence at the border, they hope to discourage Taliban movement between the two countries.
Our day at the border lasted about 15 hours, and while I wasn’t shooting, I had a great chance to meet and talk with a lot of the guys there. Finally, we packed up to head back to the FOB (forward operating base). I asked if I could stand in the “air guard”, which is just an open hatch next to the rear gunner (I wanted to get some sweet footage). Instead of that, though, they told me to get behind the gunner, and for the return trip (all of 15 minutes) I got to play infantry. (I’m very glad I don’t have to do that every day, though, and really admire the guys that do!)
Unfortunately, nasty weather prevented me from getting off the FOB again, but in the rest of my time I was able to catch some footage of Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the IJC Commander. I also caught up with the Seabees to see how they’re making life a little more bearable here.
My sincerest hope for you is that you watch the stories produced by me and all the other amazing broadcasters here, so you can get an idea of the real war that’s going on. Our fellow service members out here are doing amazing things all over the country, and I’m so thankful that I have the opportunity to highlight them. Thanks for all of your support, and I can’t wait to get to my next FOB to tell even more stories!
Until next time…
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