My tour to Afghanistan has come to a close. My job at Fort Riley waits. It has been a unique experience that I will not forget anytime soon. Except for the heartbreaking absence of family I can say that my journey was positive and eye opening. I may never do this again as the price of deploying, for me, was high in the emotional toll it took on me. Though mostly positive I must relate the bad and the good. Unfortunately, there is much bad in Afghanistan.
I hate the waste of lives and resent the massive waste of money over here. I hate the culture of Islam as it is practiced but not necessarily how it is preached (by some). I hate the corruption on this side of the world. I hate the professional infighting of the military services. I hate the incompetence of some units and of some individuals who should know better. I hate my own shortcomings. I deplore the attitudes of new units and their lack of trust in the logistical chain. I laugh at the arrogance of their idea that the last unit was screwed up and that their way is better and they will win the war singlehandedly. I hate DA Civilians and Contractors who are clueless about the military they are supposed to support. I hate the overcrowding at NKC. I hate the lack of courtesy by people who won’t clean up after themselves nor practice common etiquette they demand for themselves. I hate that the headquarters staff is at least 33% overstaffed. I guess I should hate the Taliban (and the H.I.G, Haqqani network, et al) as well. They are, really, just fools when looked at from the western perspective. They were suckered by Al Qaeda and have been paying the price ever since.
Not all is bad though. I am impressed by the American soldier, sailor, airman, and marine. They accomplish so much that is outside their purview the world could learn a lot from them. American ingenuity is alive and well in Afghanistan, for sure. I am grateful for the support from the American people (and family and friends). I take pride in the coalition of western and eastern forces that are here and work together. It may be a slow and ponderous relationship but it’s great none the less. I love military retirees who bring their skills and knowledge to the table as Contractors and DA Civilians. The camaraderie of serving together in a hostile environment is something remarkable. The thought of trying to do something good, in a disorganized chaotic environment, makes one feel good inside. Lastly, I want to thank ole Barry. Without his technical knowledge and down home Kansas sense of humor I would have been totally lost. Anything positive I achieved was because of him.
This has been a significant event in my life. In the end much of what I have written about will not matter much but it will have mattered to me. I felt the need to express myself and possibly share some experiences with those who would listen. Thank you.