I left the Bagram compound for the first time today. I was a little nervous, but it all went great. Our commander, SSG J, SSG L, SSG W, and I flew to Kabul to the ISAF headquarters to do some OPS stuff for an upcoming gig. Before we took off on the helicopter, we were standing on the edge of a mine field (within the airfield) while they were refueling the chopper. Then we got on the chopper and got settled into our seats.
It was a short flight – only about 15 minutes, and it was a good one. I thought it was kind of neat that one of our door gunners was a female. We flew over lots of fields where they grow opium – their main cash crop. And we saw quite a few village-like areas. I also saw some camels, goats, and cows. A few families had clothes hanging out to dry in their yards. All the houses and “fences” are made from mud bricks – at least in the “country”.
After an uneventful flight, with landed at KAIA (pronounced Kee-ah) and got some breakfast at the chow hall there. Real plates & silverware!!! (We use paper & plastic at “home”) It was really good food – much better than ours. We hung out at KAIA for a while before our ride showed up – an armored shuttle bus-type-vehicle. Finally it came and we headed to ISAF headquarters. We had to go through the streets of Kabul. We had full battle rattle on, and a loaded magazine in our weapon for just in case. There sure was a lot to see. This was my first time really seeing the people of Afghanistan – kids playing on the sides of the streets and flying kites, men and boys on bicycles zipping here and there, women in burqas, and the usual commerce of a city. I didn’t take any pictures because we all had to be on the lookout for IEDs and stuff, but maybe sometime I’ll be able to take some pictures.
We arrived at ISAF and met with the British Major that I’ve been talking to on the phone. He is very nice. There was a French officer there, a Navy Sr. Chief, and a US Army Command Sergeant Major, and the 5 of us. We discussed the ceremony coming up and they went to look at the parade field. I stayed back in the garden where we met and watched all of our body armor, helmets, and ammo. While I was waiting for them, I got to see the resident rabbits. They are sometimes allowed to wander free. When they got back, the 5 of us went to lunch – in 2 shifts so we didn’t have to take all our gear with us. Again, it was really good food – and on real plates with real silverware.
After lunch, we went over to the U.S. Embassy to talk about a few gigs and arrange transportation and lodging for the ISAF gig. Then it was the ride back to KAIA. While I was getting in the armored van to go back, I WHACKED my head on the door frame. Within just a few minutes, I had a nice lump on my head. I hit it right on top in the middle. OW. So we get to KAIA, and when I was getting out of the van, I whacked my head again – not quite as hard, but still. You’d think I’d have learned from the first time. After a short wait, our helicopter arrived and we headed back to Bagram. I got a little bit of video footage during our flight back. Again it was uneventful, and we arrived safely back at “home.”
I went to dinner with some friends and then home to stitch. It sure was nice to put my gear away and put my PT uniform on. Off to bed now. . .
Picture of the Day:
Your soldier with all her gear on (the black thing on my helmet is goggles, with a cover over them)
What an interesting day you spent! You are one tough looking soldier in all your gear. Enjoy your new blanket! Prayers are with you.