The sound of a door slamming resonates through the plywood walls of my shack. I’m now awake and my senses are slowly recalibrating to my surrounding environment. I feel the breeze of a fan in my room as it crosses my face. Another day of uncertain events has begun. I take a deep breath, stretch and then crawl down from my elevated bunk. Everything is perfect until I glance at my clock; it’s 8:56 AM. Oh shit, morning report is at 9:00 AM. My body is slowly adjusting to the time difference here from home in the U.S.; eight and a half hour difference. My internal alarm clock has shorted out but I’m confident with time it will reset. I quickly throw on my army combat uniform (ACU), grab a red bull and cliff bar then sprint out the door to the FST close by. Two minutes late, but no one seems to notice as they are immersed in there grand conversations and medical demonstrations. As I sit down in a vacant seat two of the enlisted soldiers across the way are steering at me. Their steering turns into laughter. “What?” I ask. They quickly point out to the entire room that my undershirt is inside out, and the back tag is just under my chin. I speedily tear it off and act like nothing happen.
Today, we are supposed to undergo a mock mass casualty. A time was not mentioned when this will occur but we were told to be available and we will be notified. Nothing else was in the pipeline for the day so Joe J and I decided to assault the gym. On the way I noticed an Afghan national army (ANA) soldier guarding six local Afghans with an AK-47 slung low around his waist. They were working on building a bomb shelter in a common area of the base. I’m somewhat uneasy about this arrangement at the moment. Could they be insurgent informants pursuing wicked intentions, looking for weaknesses in our defense that will be exploited at a later time for carnage? There are many possibilities and I don’t foresee my anxiety being coaxed anytime soon. We are unwanted foreign fighters in a foreign land. The few that benefit from our economic generosity my tolerate us, but the “many”, will rejoice in our demise. Would it be any different if a foreign legion invaded our home land? Remember our purpose here. It’s to bring the fight away from us and to them; to protect our children, wives, family and future generations. The burning question, can we ever gain security in the eventual handover of this task to the Afghans? In a population mostly devoid of education and reasoning is this possible? We seem to be in a weak win and strong loose position. Winning encompasses a singular purpose; trying to keep the fight here and not back home. The losing side is “king” at the moment and likely never ending. There is an unfounded hope a democracy can succeed in a country that is uneducated and knows only war and conflict. We are now sucked into a quagmire of no return, and the “many” will continue to fight our every step to bring them out of the stone ages. A sustained Afghan effort after a mass exodus of U.S. troops and coalition forces will falter; allowing this insurgent haven to reform and prosper with increased hatred toward the western world and aiding allies. In summary; this situation sucks. That was a tangent I did not see coming.
The Mass Casualty (MASSCAL) training event went well. Afterward, we had a unit meeting to discuss details of the event and to gauge preparedness of individual team members. Tomorrow is show time and the anxiety is slowly increasing; it’s the unknown. There is no predicting or speculating, no magical science, you just need to put your game face on or have it very nearby. Trauma in this environment is usually tactically movement dependent; usually the surgeons will be put on notice to be ready; without disclosure of the specific mission. I feel confident in my team and in myself. The experiences we have together will hopefully transform acquaintances into friendships, weak bonds into strong ones. I don’t expect every situation to end up smelling like roses but as long as we function as a team with the obsessive focus of saving our brave United States military brothers and sisters I will sleep with a clear conscious. My family’s hearts, the hearts of the American people, and the hearts of freedom seeking people around this world are with us. God bless.
Talk to you tomorrow.
P.S. I miss my beautiful family, everything I do is for you.