Last week, Mike gave his thought on the Afghan countryside and its people. Here, Mike says goodbye to the camp he called home.
SITREP 09 MAR
Farewell to RC North
Overall the last 3 weeks have been really successful. I owe the majority of this success to 1st LT John Bonds, 3-7 PAO. John worked hard to get me on as many patrols and as far forward as possible. He’s a terrific officer and friend. I look forward to seeing him again when we both get back to the States.
A final "Thank you" to LTJG Amy Forsythe. She taught me a lot about what I need to do to make this trip and the project a success. Amy is another terrific person I hope to see again.
I posted 5 photos from Camp Marmal in an Untitled Album on Facebook. Although I haven’t posted many photos of Camp Marmal, I couldn’t leave with showing you the Memorial. This is what it’s all about over here.
Although the weather wasn’t too bad during my 3 weeks in RC North, I and the others at Camp Marmal paid the price on Friday. We had a horrendous snow and sleet storm driven by high winds. It only lasted a few hours, but somehow it was a fitting farewell.
I left Camp Marmal for the final time this morning. My flight out was on a Luftwaffe C-160. We boarded at 0800 (8:00 AM) and sat on canvas bench seats in an unheated plane until our scheduled departure at 0900. This puts in perspective being stuck at the gate on a civilian flight for a long time.
It's interesting over here. It is a different life style and one I haven't been part of for a long time. A couple of former military contractors I've met mentioned that only former military personnel have the "skill sets" needed to live in this environment for any length of time. Fortunately I seem to still have the skills although in many ways living on military bases, FOBs and COBs is totally different than living on a ship. And, none I have exhibited at home over the past several decades.
Where I buy scarves and Pashminas to bring home
I bought a black and white scarf, a hat, and 3 pashminas at a small shop on the KAIA base run by Afghan Women's Education Center that supports Women in Kabul Prison and vulnerable woman of Faryab. Most of the money goes to support these women and their children. I learned of the shop from Harris and Ross who are doing so much direct good through Operation Outreach.
A plethora of patches
There are literally 100s of different official and unofficial patches over here. Most military personnel wear several on their uniform shirts or jackets. These include on the upper right sleeve the respective national flag and a unit patch while on the left is usually their blood type and a patch form a former unit.
A lot of units design a special patch while in theater. It’s inexpensive to do and usually takes week to get done. Not to be left out, I designed my own patch to wear on my right sleeve under the US flag. No one knows what it is or stands for and the reactions I’ve gotten have been a lot of fun.
Fortunately the next week looks very busy which is great. I’ll let you know what I can when I can.