Holidays… On A Ping-Pong Table

Winter has fallen here in Afghanistan. The mountains that surround us from far off have received a nice layer of snow at their summits, making it seem more like the mountains of Colorado or Washington than the desert of the Middle East. The Sun is the only heat around here, and when tyhe clouds roll in or it sets behind these mighty mountains, the cold invades and changes the entire atmosphere.

Thanksgiving was a festive occasion for us. While we were on high alert, we did find time to enjoy ourselves and feast together. All of us sat around the table we put together, got out the folding chairs, and had the biggest meal of this deployment so far. The rest of the day was spent opening care packages from supporters back home and relaxing. It was a good day.

The next couple days were spent making sure our building was water proof, or at least water resistant. That meant sandbags. Lots of sandbags. For almost two days that was our only chore. Sure we had a lot of fun, but at the end of the day our building wasn’t going to be flooding anymore from the rain.

The next major event I can never live down. Mom, if you are reading this, I suggest you skip until the next paragraph. We cleaned out all the trash from where we stay. And we had a lot of trash. Like about five or six pickup trucks worth of trash. and it all had to fit in one dumpster. (Mom. I warned you. STOP READING!!) Anyhoo. Let’s just say that someone needed to push the debris around in there….and I kinda volunteered myself. Yea. I went dumpster diving in Afghanistan. Not exactly how I imagined my Thanksgiving weekend going down, but still. It happened.

(Mom, you can go ahead and start reading again here…) We train almost every day on various aspects of what it means to be an Infantryman. For me, I get to train the group of guys about my radios. (I call them my kids. They are mostly stuck up assholes but generally like me.) My official motto that I’ve given my position is “Always up. Never down.” (The unofficial one is “They’re up, they hear me, I’m down.” We sometimes have lots of technical issues.) But the point is that I can talk no matter what I have to do to fix it. That’s why I’m here.

With the holidays fast approaching, I ask that you take time to remember me and my fellow soldiers over here. I’m not asking for your sympathy or your pity. All I ask is that you take time to remember us and say thanks. And most of all, enjoy the time with your loved ones. Hold them close. Make very moment count. And sleep soundly at night, for me and my brothers stand guard, ready to do bad things to even worse people. Not for our sakes, (OK…maybe for just a little glory) but for yours. For we are sheepdogs, waiting for the wolf to come, and sniffing around for the things that go prowl in the dark.

That is all for now. Peace to you all!

36R out.


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