Pork Roast. In A Bunker

Well. Where to begin? Things have calmed down a lot over here since the last update. We’ve settled down the tempo for now, but we are always on our toes. One of the only constants are the mortar attacks. Usually around once a day, the sirens will go off, and we all sprint to a bunker until the all clear sounds and we can go back to our normal lives. It’s not the scariest thing in the world, but it still makes your heart beat faster every time it goes off.

However, just like everything in life, I somehow manage to find the humor in it all. The second most memorable rocket attack so far (The first will always be my buddy coming out with nothing but a towel on.) has got to be the night I ate dinner in a bunker. I was on my way back from getting food, carrying a full plate of food. I was about halfway back to my room and there was no bunker in sight. Let’s just say that when the siren went off, I kinda shuffled to get to the bunker, but was always mindful of the food. I was not gonna lose my dinner over a rocket. So I got to the bunker, and decided to eat, not wanting my pot roast to get cold. It honestly made the time go by quicker. By the time the all clear sounded, I was full, and the plate was gone. Quite a memorable experience.

The next night was a bit better. I had just finished eating, and was enjoying some dessert when the alarm sounded. I got up and moved toward the door. As I turned back for the dessert, the anti-rocket device next to our building went off with a loud “brrrrrtttttt”. That meant that the rocket was really close. There was no turning back. I forgot about the dessert and ran to the bunker. Thankfully no one was hurt, so that was a plus. But still. Ice cream isnt the same when it has the same consistency of a milkshake. Just saying.

Morale is very good here. We have three constants to our days aside from the rockets. First is chow. Three very excellent meals a day, and it’s practically next door. Not a bad set up if you ask me. The next is the gym. Since we haven’t heard of any missions in the near future, we have more than enough time to work out at least twice a day. I like it, and have come to enjoy hitting the gym. The last constant is the bonding time we have. Lots of movie nights with the guys of my squad, or just sitting around and talking about whatever comes to mind.

The chow hall has already gotten their thanksgiving decorations up. It is hard to believe that I will not be stateside for thanksgiving or Christmas for the first time in my entire life. But while I will be apart from my family over these holidays, I have my brothers here to spend these times with, and they have become as close to me as my family has.

Peace to you all!
36Romeo out


One Long Blur

My apologies for not being active for this last week or so. This have been so retardedly busy that I haven’t had time to collect my thoughts much. We hit the ground running. Well, more like sprinting trying to keep up with Usain Bolt at the 100m dash…

Five days being on one hour standby in a tent, trucks online, bags packed, and armor ready to be thrown on in minutes. The first two days were soley drills of how fast we could move, with the nights ending at around one in the morning. Five days of someone on a radio, ready to yell out the drill and watch as the entire platoon of us scrambled to get ready with them.

Attacks on this base are not the normal. However, the word must have gotten out that we had arrived, because in the first five days, we had to drop everything and run to bunkers at least twice. One was at night, and one of my friends was still showering. We all pile in and then we see him sprint to the bunker, holding his towel up and waddling in his shower shoes, hair still wet. Hands down the funniest moment of this deployment so far. (The next time it happened he was fully clothed.)

Then, the unthinkable happened. An insider threat on our base exploded, literally, killing quite a few and injuring many others. We sppnt a good part of that day waiting to go help, but never ended up moving. The base is still processing what happened, so things are very tense and security is tight here. Things will not be back to where they were at before this unspeakable act of terror happened.

We moved out of the “always ready to go” phase and got prepared for our first assigned mission. This time, it was for real, and we would be a long ways from our home base. The mission went fine, and no one was hurt or shot at, so overall I would call it a success. We now wait for more missions to follow. I’ll try to stay in touch, but do not be alarmed if you don’t hear from me for a few days.

Peace to you all!

36Romeo out.

Where’s The Oxygen Around Here?!?

Well. Finally in Afghanistan. This place is unlike any I have ever seen. The mountains that are easily visible from where we are at are the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. risingly majestically into the sky and showing the true beauty of this war torn country.

The living situation here is surprisingly nice. Enough space to feel comfy, but small enough where it feels like a small college dorm room. We moved in and slept for the night.

This morning here (like 10 or so hours ahead of the states) we ran a memorial 5k for some fallen soldiers we lost in 2005. So, not even having been in Afghanistan for 12 hours, we went on a run. There were prizes for the top finishers, so I decided to push myself. Not the best idea I’ve had…

Within the first half mile I felt the lack of oxygen in the air hit my lungs like a brick wall. Needless to say, the remainder of the time I was running, I felt like someone was slightly choking me. By the end of the race, I had finished first in my company again, and chalked up a third place finish in the battalion. So you can say that it was worth the pain. Then, the cold hit my lungs. It is November after all, and the weather here functions closer to my home state of Washington than Kentucky or Tennessee. I have never had a coughing attack after running, but the feeling is the absolute worst. Only time I have ever felt like that before was when I had a cold or some other respitory ailment. Not fun, but a reminder that things are going to be different here.

We got back and went to chow. As I have said multiple times, the food here is amazing, and I ate more than I probably should have. The only good part of this deployment so far has been the chow.

The desert here is crazy. the mornings are frigid cold, but by noon, it is as hot as any summer day. And as the sun sets behind the imposing mountains, the cold slowly seeps back in, like an unrelenting tide.

Well. Shit is going to get real here in the next few weeks. Do not be alarmed if you don’t hear from me. I am alive, just not in a position to talk. I promise I will return as soon as I am able.

Peace to you all!

I Think I Overate…

So lots of things have been happening. Actually… nothing has been happening. Besides lots of downtime, movies, and long cat naps, it’s been pretty chill in the sandbox so far. But we are on the move again, and these new adventures are gonna get entertaining.

We moved to a staging area for another movement. Needless to say, this base was incredible. We got in late at night, so the whole platoon of mine went to midnight chow.

Holy crap. This wasn’t just a midnight snack. Oh no. This was a midnight feast. Crab legs, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. Cheesecake. Cheesecake!! In the desert. I kinda stuffed myself. It’s almost ten hours later and I’m sure I’m still digesting it.

Breakfast was as large. Omlettes half the size of the plate, bacon, hash browns, and any drink you could think of. This place is heaven.

The reality that we are in a desert has totally set in by now. From the hill we were on this morning, I could see for miles around. Nothing but sand and open terrain broken intermittently by a few small hills. The sunrises and sunsets are amazing. The dust that seems to be a natural part of the atmosphere gives it an amazing reddish hue. For how desolate this place is, it does have some amazing beauty to it.

What Is Wrong With This Place?!?

After a good night of sleep that left me very refreshed and mostly recharged, it was time to explore this strange new place I am to call home for the next few days or so until we continue on to our final destination. First item of business was breakfast. We (myself and Matt, one of my best friends in my platoon) walked to the dining facility and ordered breakfast. Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, cocoa puffs, and orange juice. Just like I always have when I’m stateside. It was a relief to finally eat again, even though it had only been a few hours since my KFC binge.

Next thing on my mind was a shower and a shave. Feeling the warm water cascade over me was an amazing feeling. Slowly. Very slowly. This place is starting to feel normal. But normal may not be something I want this place to feel like. Maybe normal is what this place will become, and life stateside will be odd and unnatural. But those are questions for later on in this nine month journey abroad.

Next order of any trip after food and hygiene is supplies. Thankfully there was a base post exchange not far from where we are staying. the post exchange (henceforth referred to as the px) is basically a one stop shop that sells anything but food. I got the necessary items. Socks, Q-tips, power adapter, headphones. The essentials for life away from the usual
comforts of home. We stopped at the open air market after that.

The locals here are a wonderful people. Very friendly and always looking for business opportunites with the soldiers who filter through here. As we were looking through the little bazaar, a notebook seller caught my eye. Leather bound journals of wonderful craftsmanship were his specialty. I ended up buying one from him. A black notebook with a wonderfully intricately carved camel on the cover. It will probably end up being a more mundane and less filtered version of what I put on this site. I look forward to filling its pages with the memories I accrue here.

From what I’ve written so far, it would appear that this place isn’t that bad. Well I have yet to give you the weather conditions here. It truly is a kitty litter box. Sand everywhere, briefly broken up with patches of gravel and plastic walkways. It is surpisingly hot for November, and the sun is nearly blinding as it comes off the sand. But the worst is
the wind. Very windy, and the feeling is truly disgusting. The sand kicked up gets everywhere and makes you always feel dirty.

We keep busy. Sleeping, eating, reading, and exploring this wonderful new place. I only wish I could continue my language studies in spanish in peace here. They told us to have a goal for ourselves while we are here on deployment. For me it is learning a language in nine months. It’s an ambitious task for sure, but I know I am more than capable of completing the goal.

The dreaded jet lag hit hard today. I’m ashamed to say that I slept all afternoon and through dinner. But that’s what midnight chow is for, so I’m not going to bed hungry. But seriously, this whole sleep all day and night is getting rediculous. I just want to get back to a normal sleep schedule. The wind isn’t as hard at night, giving us a reprieve from
the harsh conditions of the day. But I’m signing off for now.

Peace to you all!

Well This Sure Ain’t Kansas

WELl. It’s been a long time traveling. I lost track of the hours after the first meal on the plane. Not gonna lie. Airplane food is highly underrated. However. I did enjoy the time on the plane. All like 15 hours of actual flight time.

We boarded the plane in Kentucky and began flying. As I settled in for the flight, I put a movie on and kept an eye on the tracker of the plane’s flight. Seeing us head north over New York and finally over the North Atlantic was a surreal feeling. When we hit Ireland and flew directly over it, the suspense grew in my mind. What was this new adventure going to look like? What kind of people would I meet?

We touched down in Germany and got off to stretch our legs. The first half of our journey was over. Next came the flight to the sandbox.

The one thing I like about flying is the turbulence. Crazy. I know. But the rise and fall of the plane reminds me of the waves and the times spent on lakes on a raft just floating along. When times were simpler. We landed down at the airport. As I looked out the window, all I saw was brown. Brown sky,  brown dirt, brown buildings. To be honest,  it looked uncannily close to tattooinne from the Star Wars series.

We got rooms, and settled in. Then came the time for food. Thank god for middle eastern Starbucks and KFC. Chicken was on point.

I am currently relaxing in a recreation building on the base. It’s 0130 in the morning, but the jet lag hasn’t set in yet. I saw a map on the wall here with pins put onto it to mark people’s hometowns. I proudly put one on lookout mountain. I’m already dreaming of going home.

Well. That’s all for tonight. I’m safe and in good company. Peace to you all.



I’m going to try and make it through writing this post without tearing up on my end. But the fact of the matter is that this week is zero week. Deployment week. The week where my dreams and my nightmares collide in a beautiful display. It’s time to face the music, push all fear out of my mind, grab my B-A-11’s and go out to do my job.

I have two reactions to this new adventure in a far away land, this bold new chapter of my life. The first is pure unadulterated excitement. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was small. To go pick up a gun and head to a big far away land and protect my family and my country. To go fight for the greatest fighting force on earth and do my loved ones proud. Sure the road took a lot of different twists and turns. A lot of highs and lows along the way, but the time is now here to hop on a bird and go.

The second reaction is fear. Not fear of death. I’ve trained enough for that to not be a factor. I have no problem with sacrificing myself for those I love. Death is no fear of mine. He is my brother. There is a saying among us infantrymen. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For I am the baddest motherfucker in the valley.” So death I do not fear. So what do I fear? I fear leaving people behind. A lot of my readers don’t know this, but my family kicked me out after I left college. This lead to me joining the army to get away from them, lots of daddy and trust issues, and the need for people to be in my life to replace that void. And I have found them. In Chattanooga, a family opened up a door. They invited me into their home because I was a friend of their sons. It was that family that showed what it was to be loved again. They didn’t see a broken, angry shell of a man struggling to make sense of everything. They saw someone who their boys loved who needed some compassion. A weekend turned into an invite to join them for Christmas, and then for the fourth of July. And then the time came for pre-deployment leave. With my truck in the wrecking yard, they still let me come on over for a week to relax. They picked me up from the bus station. And it was during that week with that family that I realized how much they meant to me. Then came a weekend with another family. Dear friends of the family that adopted me. They too are my family now. And that is what I fear. I fear leaving them and not seeing them again. Leaving them and not coming home and giving them a huge hug. That is what I fear. It has always been my fear. Despite my tough exterior that I front, I care deeply about people. My brothers in my platoon, my five brothers and four sisters in Chattanooga. My two wonderful sets of parents. These people mean the world to me and I cannot imagine where I would be without them in my life.

Jesus Christ I’m starting to get emotional over here. Time to wrap things up. Nine months in a kitty litter box is going to be tough, but I will get through it. For all of you who read this, I have one request from you. Please support us as we go fight the rag heads. I cannot say what our missions are gonna be, but they are going to be inherently dangerous. If you are the praying type, feel free to pray for us. Care packages are also a big request on our end here as well. Candy, snacks, toiletries, and forms of entertainment are the tops request here at 3rd batt. I’ll leave my email at the bottom if you want to contact me. But most of all, support us. With this world headed straight to hell, we are the first ones to protect you. And it is my pleasure to do so.

That’s all for now. 36R out.

brandoj2015@outlook.com. Feel free to contact me!