This is the story of my first mission in Afghanistan. And to give you a back story. I spent nine months in Afghanistan and four months in Indiana for training. Pretty much you could say the whole year I was 25 I was on a side adventure to my life. I left for training when I was 24, came back home and a week pasted and I was 26. This is how the story begins once the training in Indiana was over and off we went to the real deployment.
This is quick run down of how my team got to Afghanistan and my first mission “outside the wire” (off base) to interact with the local Afghan people and inspect three of the projects that our team would soon be taking over.
Here is a quick rundown of how we got to Afghanistan.
We left Indiana and flew to Germany. We were in Germany just long enough for the plane to refuel. Next we headed off to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. We landed around 2 am and then went straight to do all the paperwork required to get paid tax-free and other AF protocol. Our team finally got to “bed” around 8AM. It took a day or two to get out of Manas. I’m glad that the bathrooms we have currently are better than the bathrooms we had a Manas (on the way home I was no longer a rookie traveler and walked about 200 yards to the “nice” bathrooms). Next we flew to Bagram AF, Afghanistan. We arrived somewhere close to midnight and once again went off to do paperwork. We finally got to bed around 0400 only to be up again at 0900 ready to start the day.
My First Mission
After a few days at Bagram doing required checklist items we went on our first mission. Our team went to the capital, Mahmoud Raqi (a district in Kapisa Province). Our team saw a gabion basket wall built by local Afghans to help prevent flooding this spring. (Gabion baskets are a common retaining wall tactic used in the states.) It was an adventure getting to the site because we had to cross a creek bed to get to it and we all got a little wet. This was an exciting project though. The US paid for the supplies and the local Afghans provided the labor (free) to build the wall.
Next our team headed to inspected a boy’s school for it’s final inspection. There were a few minor things that needed to be completed. Once complete the school will be ready for children to start attending within days. The last project we inspected was a small hospital repair project. The “hospital” was really just a group of buildings labeled as a hospital. Nothing like what we would call a hospital in the States.
One thing to note about Afghanistan is how beautiful it is.
It has a beautiful landscape. It is amazing to see the mountains, valleys and rivers that are throughout Kapisa Province.