December 2010

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I was successful in graduating from the Fort Polk School of Combat Advising!  Honestly I am not too sure what the requirements were beyond not shooting anyone…!  We were given a few days off between graduation and our official deployment.  I came back to Orlando and had a nice meal with our JLR family for Christmas.  Good food and great people make a worried soul peaceful.

A mans worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions

My week home was far too quick.  A little golf, early Christmas with Grace and Connor, and packing for the BIG trip!

I returned to Fort Polk, finished packing and got up at 3 AM for the long bus ride to Houston.  We boarded a commercial flight to Baltimore where we collected our luggage and waited 7 hours for another flight to…..  Germany!

Once in Germany we had a scheduled stop to change out the crew and add fuel for our trip to Kuwait.  Due to some weather we stayed overnight and had a chance to see some sights the next morning.  Germany is a beautiful place.  The next evening we were onto Kuwait.

We stayed in Kuwait a few days awaiting our next flight to Afghanistan.  You would think we would be anxious to leave and get our jobs started… I assure you we weren’t!

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The call finally came for our flight and we left the security of local friendly countries.  Our flight in was smooth, no drink service though.  The large picture above is a good friend of mine Ryan.  We sat along the side of the plane facing the middle.  Once we got in our seat, there was very little room to move.

As you can see from the picture on the left, we had a good view of the Flag during our ride.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for men of good conscience to remain silent.

We arrived into Afghanistan.  It was cold, maybe 30 degrees but there was some breeze.  There was a distinct smell of a house fire.  The Afghans will burn everything, and I mean everything to keep warm.  Tires, check. Wood, check. dead animals, check. Human and animal waste, double check…. Blaaahhhh

We took a convoy from the airport to our operating base in Kabul.  The ride was sobering.  To suggest that Afghanistan is “war torn” is a gross understatement.  There are entire villages destroyed down to foundations.  A concrete structure was completely burnt out.  We were told the owner supported the Coalition Forces… Taliban are brutal to villagers.

Where I am in Kabul is nice.  I will leave it at that.

I am working at an Afghan National Army Hospital.  As you know my job is to mentor their nursing and medial staff.  Day one was another eye opening experience.  I hope you all are sitting down while you read this….

Dressing changes are done in a room on the nursing floor.  We cut up a large roll of gauze and then try to run it through a sterilizer from the 1950’s.  We take forceps grab some gauze and wash ALL wounds with betadine and H2O2, and then pack the wounds with gauze that has been dipped in the betadine that just washed the wound. Next patient we use the same forceps and reach into the same container for gauze.  I almost forgot, we didn’t wash our hands, and we wear no gloves!

Its not flesh and blood but heart that makes us Family.

There is NO soap on the floor.  Purell dispensers are abundant, but without fluid.  My experience with anesthesia didn’t go much better.  O2 is optional.  Well to be honest so are monitors, a ventilator, haven’t seen a  stethoscope, pain medication isn’t locked up, and we use Tramadol mostly.  And there are cockroaches in the Purell dispensers…  Irony crawling all over you.

Lots of work to be done!  Below is Haroon, my personal interpreter.  I named him Larry Bird.  Ravi, no red or black boxes here!