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Ten Years Later #18  Change
March 24, 2012…Forward Operating  Base Edinburgh, Helmand province,  Afghanistan.  One thing that always  happens is change.  Those causing  change tend to always say, "change is  good".  Those being changed may not  always agree.  No matter what, change is  going to happen, except when I go to  the store these days.  I don't get any  change back from my dollar like I did in  the old days.  Then there was this phrase  four years ago during the presidential  election that said, "hope and change".   Wow.  Usually I hope that nothing  changes.    Then again, I don't know so much.  That's something that never changes. Since the 19th, there have been several  missions.  From time to time, things just  begin to run together and I have found  myself writing down on a notepad which  mission is what and when it happened.  I  will recap briefly what has gone on to  catch up the readers just to let them  know I've been busy.  On the 19th, there was a Marine that was  shot in the leg.  He was medevaced and  brought here.  He had what is called a  "through and through" where the bullet  went into his calf and straight out.  He is  fine, now.  On the following morning, he  was transported to the larger facility.  On  the way back, there was a call to pick up  a local national that managed to pretty  much blow himself up while planting an  IED.  He too was brought here.  His arm  was a disaster and I had yet to see what  it looks like to have an arm separated at  the shoulder due to some catastrophic  event.  I must confess I did not feel  much empathy towards this guy.  But  then again, I'm not a doctor and I am not  a local living here while war is going on.   Still, there was no empathy in me for this  guy. On the 21st, there was a little local boy  that was burned.  The medevac was  dispatched to pick him up and take him  to the facility that handles such things.  I  learned that this is not an uncommon  thing here among kids.  They seemed to  get mysteriously burned by their  parents. It happens a lot and the guys  here have seen it all the time.  What  happens is they (the kids) seem to be  dipped in some scalding liquid for an  extended length of time.  A lot of times  this is a tactic used by the bad guys to  observe things like reaction times, etc.   The bad guys know that we Westerners  have a different regard for life than they  do.  This child was medevaced to the  large facility and an escort came along.   Supposedly the escort is his father.  My  observation was that the "escort" did not  look very upset about his son being  burned.  Back home, the guy would be  chatting with CYFD folks and being  investigated.  Here, I have no idea what  happens.  War brings out the dark side in people.  Later on the 21st, an Afghan National  Police person fell off some wall and  banged himself up pretty good.  The  ANP are a kind of security force just  above something akin to the Wal Mart  greeters back home that check your bags  in and out of the store.  I have been on  patrols with them in years past and I am  generally more comfortable with ANA  rather than the ANP.  I guess there are  just levels of professionalism  everywhere.  Here in Afghanistan it may  just be a little more noticeable.    This guy was taken to a place in the town  of Lashkar Ga.  It is a big city, kind of.   From the air it reminded me of Juarez,  Mexico or some streets I've been on in  Fallujah, Iraq in the industrial area.  It was  interesting to see this place and I had  been near that area back in 2010 when in  the Marjah district with the Marines.  It  looks not so inviting from the air.  On the 22nd, another young local Afghan  boy was medevaced from an area near us.   He had severe head wounds.  The story  goes he was chopping wood, (which by the  way there are no trees here) and hit a  mortar round.  That is just one of a whole  host of stories that people come up with  when they bring their kids to the FOB's  and outposts across this Helmand river  valley.  It is more likely that the real story  is the child was blown up because he was  planting an IED.  It is common that little  kids are taken away by the bad guys and  taught how to make crude IED's and then  plant them.  This child is not the first to  have been blown up mysteriously.  It just happens that way in 2012 in  Afghanistan.  As was said to Dorothy's  dog in the Wizard of Oz, "This ain't  Kansas." Yesterday, Friday the 23rd, there was a  medevac call to pick up three injured from  an IED blast.  Turns out this mission would  be to pick one Marine, one Navy  corpsman, and one ANA soldier who was  with them.  They were all on patrol and  got hit.  The helicopter was launched and  as usual, I was on board.  At the LZ, the  injured were brought into the bird by  other Marines with Sgt. Menzie our medic,  assisting.  In short order, the helicopter  had three injured in it as we rapidly  departed the POI.  Immediately, Menzie  and Sgt. Espinosa, the crew chief, began  assessing the injured.  The Navy corpsman  had a neck wound that looked bandaged  and bleeding.  He was almost stoic and  obviously in pain, but sat in a seat.  The  ANA, who looked more Asian in  appearance, was also in pain with a wound  to his right leg.  He was quiet, but  grimaced in pain as he stretched out on a  litter in the helicopter.  The third person, a  Marine, looked banged up a bit and had  blood on his face.  He was for sure quite  dazed and is more than likely to have  received a banged up concussion. Those  type of things can turn into TBI, traumatic  brain injury.  He too looked in pain as he  was encouraged to lay on another  stretcher in the helicopter.  All would be  ok, but all had just been on the recipient  end of an IED blast.  Lest one forgets, there is a war going on  here. In the afternoon on the 23rd, there was  another mission to pick up a dog and his  handler.  The dog was not in bad shape,  just had his nose messed up a bit from  apparently another dog, believe it or not.   When dogs get messed up, they too have  to have medical attention and that  attention is at the larger facility we fly to.   I was wondering when dogs fight, if they  get article fifteens…?  That brings us to now, today, March 24th,  a Saturday.  It is kind of one of those days  where the clouds are high in the sky.  Maybe there is a change in the weather  coming.   I'm not sure of my schedule in  the days ahead or how and when I will get  to where I need to be going.  But, for this  moment, I am still here at Edi and may be  here until I leave.  That's about as definite  as things get in my world.  One thing for  sure is at some point in time, it will  change.  Whether change is good or not, is of no  concern to me right now.  My experience  tells me that the more things change, the  more they tend to stay the same.  There  was a time change last week.  Time will  tell what changes will come.  Jim Spiri jimspiri@yahoo.com 
 Marine that was shot in leg
 Same Marine being worked on at STP at FOB Edinburgh
 Little boy who was burned mysteriously with father in background.
 Injured Afghan National Police person being carried to helicopter
 ANP being treated by Sgt. Zach Menzie
 ANP being treated by Sgt. Zach Menzie
 Little Afghan boy that supposedly got blown up chopping wood. That is what his father said.
Sgt. Espinosa with military working dog being taken to medical attention.
  Injured local that blew up planting an IED being saved. Caution These Next Pictures are Graphic: Local who blew himself up planting an IED STP folks working on saving bad guys life