The Last Journey
“Faces and Voices of
This morning I decided to work out in the weight room and got into my walking routine on the treadmill they have set up. Generally, I walk at a brisk pace 8-miles a day. It felt good today. I like it. Then, I took a shower and was really feeling good after that. While exercising, a voice came over the loud speaker saying, “OUTGOING…OUTGOING”. I knew that meant the big guns would be firing. I was at an hour on my workout so I headed back to my quarters and got my camera. I climbed up on the stairs that leads to an observation place where the Lt. in charge of the artillery folks views what’s going on and he and his assistant decide on adjustments. The view was excellent and the opportunity to snap a few shots of the big guns in action was too good to pass up. I watched as the projectile was launched and then watched as it impacted quite a ways away on the hills to the northeast of us. I would not want to be on the other end of where the shells land. Watching the artillery guys looks like an orchestra in action. It is great symphony.
Later on I had some lunch and
ran into the battallion commander for the unit I’m embedded with. He was visiting here from his location. His name is Lt. Col. Harman. During lunch, I asked him if he was not too
busy if he would chat with me a while.
He told me he needed to take care of a few things and that before he
left he would find me. Sure enough, he
did and we spent some time talking. He
gave me an excellent audio interview and I pressed him if I could return to his
AO and he readily encouraged me to return after my upcoming embed with the
USMC. I told him I would be back and I
mentioned to him that I had his invite on audio and we both smiled. In every instance that I have had opportunity
to deal with battallion commanders in the Army, whether here or in
In mid afternoon, I made it a point to spend time with
the cultural advisors here at FOB Boris.
There are several of them and they are all from this area and of course
are all Pashtun. They have the same job
as my friend Sword in
In the late afternoon, four
humvees rolled up and battle parked right in across from where I stay. I wondered where these humvees were coming
from and who might be in them. The
closer I got, the more interested I became.
These folks were serious looking dudes.
I decided instantly that I would go and chat with them, however,
language would possibly be a problem. I
have travelled with lots and lots of interesting people over the years and as I
approached these soldiers, I flashed back to my time in
I’ve learned over the years to be low key and real and to speak from the heart. It is the only way I know how to be. It makes my life simple. In short order I began speaking slowly inquiring if anyone spoke English. Some spoke some English. Then little by little, I began mingling with them. After all, they were in “my front yard”, so to speak, and I wanted to get to know my new “neighbors”. I had the feeling they were going to stay the night and occupy my “hotel” room which could have easily accomodated them. That would have been interesting in itself and would have been a whole other story to write about. Turns out these soldiers were more or less the PSD detail for a General Aziz. These guys are all Afghan Special Forces. They came from a place not too far from here. I don’t even ask about that place. It’s none of my business. But I would love to spend a great deal of time with these folks. I know the photo opportunities would be phenomenal. Maybe one day I will get invited, but for now, I’ll just settle for today’s set of photo ops.
I spent the better part of the next 90-minutes getting
to know these guys. I could not stop
flashing back on my time in
As these soldiers began to
pack up their things, their superior came walking up eating an apple. He was a sharp, well built, disciplined
looking individual, with a trimmed haircut, unlike most of the rest of his men
under his command. His name I was told
is Gen. Aziz. He is extremely well known
in these parts. You might say his
reputaion preceeds him. I introduced
myself to him immediately and he was straight forward and forthright. I immediately noticed that he wore an
interesting arm patch in English. It
read, “IN MEMORY OF SHAHEED SARDAR
It was a very interesting day
all around. I had no idea what the day
would bring, but then again, that’s part of it all on this journey. I never know what’s next and I spend
very little time trying to figure it out.
I’m very much living in the moment and enjoying what comes my way. I listened to many voices of