Training for War: Unmet Expectations

I didn’t really know what to expect when I left for training for war to deploy to Afghanistan. And then when I left training I thought I knew what to expect when I got to Afghanistan. But I found out my expectations from training and reality were not the same.

What I expected: Day 22 #write31days

At training days before leaving for Afghanistan

The Journey Begins

I left New Mexico for Indiana and began my Afghanistan training for war by learning the language of the country I was going to. Ten days of learning Dari and about the culture of Afghanistan and the thing I got from it the most was a dear friend and how to say hello (As-salamu alaykum).

The next phase of training dealt with how to interact and react in a combat situation. My job required me to leave the security of the base and deal directly with the people. This made us vulnerable to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), suicide bombers, and other random attacks. Training for war tried to simulate what the experience would be like in Afghanistan. And maybe it did, but nothing prepares you like actually being there.

Day 22: Expect #write31days

Ceremony in Indiana for families shortly before we left.

My expectations were not reality

I expected every mission to be an adventure. I did not expect the people of Afghanistan to be so friendly and welcoming. I expected people to want to kill me because of who I was (American, female, engineer) instead often times I was welcomed with open arms. It was not what I expected. I feel so grateful that I was able to see these people through my experience. The culture of Afghanistan is such a special place mired by years of war and suffering.

I have hope for Afghanistan’s future but know the reality of the world. The people have to live without a wall of protection with real threats. It is not something we can truly understand, but we can always hope for a change.

See all my 31 Days…Military Life

I left New Mexico for Indiana and began my Afghanistan training by learning the language of the country I was going to. #thisisdeployment #deployment #veteran

10 comments on “Training for War: Unmet Expectations

  1. First off, thank you for your service! My nephew is in the Army and so far has done two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. (The Afghan language seems complicated. That was a LOT for hello!) He told me that the kids used to love it when he and his fellow soldiers would go outside and play an improvised version of soccer or kickball with them. Before that, I hadn’t thought much about what children would be like in such radically different cultures from ours. It sounds silly but it was reassuring to me to know that, to a large extent, kids are kids wherever they are. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    PS I’m a 31-Dayer

    • The children were so much fun to be around. We enjoyed talking to them and handing out stickers. Some of them spoke surprisingly well english. They are the future and I hope they have a positive view of America.

  2. We definitely pray and have hope for the people of Afghanistan, but the way of the fallen world is hard. My heart breaks for the children who grow up in fear. We are so blessed here in this country!

  3. Stopping by from Day 22 of 31 days. Wow, I can’t even imagine what it must be like. You are tremendously brave for defending our country. I hope America is honoring you properly. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Praying for Afghanistan! I sometimes forget how blessed I am, I focus on my “first world” problems. Thank you for your service, and thank you for this post!

  5. Thank you for serving our country – it’s really interesting to read how your expectations were different than the reality… I think it’s so hard to believe until you live it… I know plenty of ppl who have served in Iraq and overall say the same about the people, and I believe them but sometimes it’s hard to fathom from what is shown on the news, you know? Good insights.

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