This letter was sent home during my deployment to Afghanistan in 2010:
Soon after the first mission, our team headed out to our final location Forward Operating Base (FOB) Morales Frazier. I lived in a tent (an Alaskan also known as SSS) with six other girls, I share my bunk but have plenty of room to store my stuff and sleep. I don’t spend time in my room except to sleep and read right before bed so it works out well. (Later on, in the deployment I moved into a new space, it was still an Alaskan tent, but I didn’t have to share the bunk bed, which was nice. After the first few weeks the girl who slept on top would come in late and the shaking caused me to wake up. It was nice to have my own space and not have to share it with anyone.)
The FOB had a gym, which consists of a tent (Alaskan) one treadmill, one elliptical, a few weights, and a lot of dust. (near the end of the deployment we moved into a building) We are making do with what we have and I was still been able to complete a few good workouts. I have a nice office; it is in a building, which is where we spent most of our time. Even after we take a break from work we would stay in the office since we had a TV and could watch movies or television shows on Air Force Network (AFN). We have an American Dining Facility (DFAC) (Alaskan tent), which serves A-rations (A-ration is a term used in the United States armed forces for a meal provided to troops which is prepared using fresh, refrigerated, or frozen foods.), some days it is good some days it is not so good, but overall it isn’t too bad.
We also have a pizza place that makes Italian pizza and we are allowed to eat at the French DFAC (bldg), which is an adventure when they serve frog, but luckily it has been yummy food the times I have gone. They always have fresh nan (Afghan bread) and yummy ice cream so even if they have frog I think it will still be okay. (the worse thing the served when we visited was turkey trite and I swear one time they served horse) That is pretty much the down low on the FOB, it isn’t too bad, and I kind of like it.
I have gone on two other missions to different project sites the big trip was a trip to South Tagab (a province in Kapisa) and Surobi (part of Kabul province) to see a bridge and an asphalt plant. The reason this was such a big trip was because it was too dangerous to drive straight down from the FOB to Tagab so we had to drive to Bagram and then down to Kabul and back up to Tagab, Kapisa.
This route was still a dangerous mission, but choosing this route took a lot of the risk out. One of the coolest parts of the trip is that when we drove through Kabul we drove on this amazing highway that was built out of the side of a cliff. It was an amazing engineer feat built by Germans years before. The bridge that we saw in Surobi was being built by an Afghan who migrated to the Netherlands during the reign of the Taliban, he came back to Afghanistan to start a construction company and rebuild his life. While at the construction site people kept coming up to me and standing close enough that they could be in a picture with me and then take the picture and take off. I felt kind of like a rock star, it was interesting. (This is a vague description of the mission because while deployed I tried to not talk about the danger of the missions I went on. I will have to find my journal and share the whole story.)
I also got to go to Nijrab (the district where our FOB is located and a relatively safe place in the North) where we got to see three schools and four road projects. The school where I led the inspection will be a girl’s school.