Monday, January 19, 2009

Welcome to the two-way range

Well, I'm here in Kandahar.

In fact, I've been here for a few days now. The information that we've been receiving, the treatment and access we've been given, the professionalism and motivation we've been shown has all been extraordinary. To be honest, it's been like trying to drink from a fire hose from oh-dark-thirty until the wee hours every day.

The only problem has been connectivity. And we've finally figured out a work-around for that so that I can post: I'm using a welfare computer and a memory stick with my photos on it. A bit labyrinthine, but it's better than gun-tape and baling wire. And I guess I have something to feed into Lessons Learned after all...

I can let you know now that I'm over here on what's termed a Regional Media Familiarization Visit, with Jean Laroche of the Journal de Quebec, Ian Shantz of the Barrie Examiner, and Ian Elliot of the Kingston Whig-Standard. It's a good bunch.

From left to right, that's Shantz (Big Ian), Elliot (Little Ian), Laroche, me, and the PAffO who got shafted with babysitting us on this trip, the ever-patient LCdr Pierre Babinsky. Don't believe what you hear about him: he's actually a good guy.

Anyhow, the weather at KAF the first night we were here was cold and rainy. The talcum-powder dust that covers the ground throughout the area turned into unfathomable lakes of mud. I tried to get Big Ian to walk in front of me as a depth-finder on the puddles, but he wouldn't fall for that.

The next day, it cleared up, though, and - touch wood - it's stayed clear, cold, and windy since then. Hopefully that continues. The mud still abounds, though. They say the drainage here is so bad, it may take three weeks of no rain for it to clear out completely. And the dust/mud in this area shall I put unusually high fecal content to it. So the folks serving over here are 'in the shit' in more ways than one.

You'd never know it, though. I'm sure they gripe and complain behind closed doors like every group of soldiers has since the dawn of armed conflict. Hell, I'd be worried if they didn't. But overall, this is the most motivated, high-morale bunch of soldiers, sailors, and airmen I've ever been around. Believe it or not, the civvies too. More about that another time...

I've got stacks of stuff to talk to you about. What I don't have is the time to write about it right now. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll run out of time here long before I run out of stories to tell.

But one more thing I must mention before I sign off and hit the rack: I need to thank each and every one of you who have hit that "Chip In" button in the sidebar. I took a financial leap of faith taking this on, and your help is most appreciated.


Blogger Jay Currie said...

Great stuff Damian!

I popped the widget up at my site. Let's see if more people can help you with expenses.

Be damn careful!

4:18 p.m., January 19, 2009  
Blogger military granny said...

Good to hear you are over there "playing" in the sandbox.I, like many others will be here daily to read about your travels and the people you meet along the way.Take care of yourself.

7:01 p.m., January 19, 2009  
Blogger WE Speak said...

Good to see you made it in one piece. Looking forward to reading your reports.

4:38 a.m., January 20, 2009  
Blogger WE Speak said...

PS. I'm thinking a nice light netbook and a sat phone would come in real handy right now.

4:42 a.m., January 20, 2009  
Blogger VW said...

Good to see you've made it. Have you tried the cafeterias yet?

7:44 a.m., January 20, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good to read you made it there safely. The Internet connection issues has been a big complaint from the hubby as well. Makes it harder to stay in touch and know everyone is ok when the lines aren't working ;(

9:00 p.m., January 20, 2009  
Blogger AWG said...

That's great news Damian, I'm looking forward to reading your time with our brave soldiers. Tell them for you for your brave service, Stay Safe and prayers for peace.

Stay Safe Damian

12:21 p.m., January 24, 2009  
Blogger Matt said...

Should have known you were in KAF, would have stopped by for a beer (a joke cause it's a dry camp).

You possibly noticed a lot of G-wagons and RG-31's in the camp.. It's cause for the most part they've either been pulled from the field or rerolled into a different capacity.

mattinafghanistan blogger

3:03 p.m., January 13, 2010  

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