Cards From Kids

Everyone has to find that one deployment hobby that keeps them busy amidst being busy. Some troops take college courses, some learn to knit (no joke), some take up painting (you can do it once a week at the USO) and some spend all their extra time at the gym.  I’ve been reading #cardsfromkids and posting them to my Instagram account. It’s a great way to stay grounded and I have had a blast doing it.

Hiatus Return!

I’ve done an absolutely awful job of posting in the past two months, but I’m back and will aim to finish strong in the downhill side of my deployment.  I could blame it all on bandwidth issues, but really, it’s just an acquired preference for the easier and faster Instagram post that I can quickly accomplish from my iPhone.  Unlike most workplaces, I’m usually in mine 12 hours a day and although there are three separate computers on my desk, none of them allow me to connect to this blog.

If you’ve seen the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, you’ll understand the frequent references to it during deployments.  Everyday is a workday here - there is no such thing as a day off, and most troops mark time in ways that are anomalous to a normal work week in the states.  There is no hump day each week - just each deployment.  It’s the day when there are more deployment days behind you than ahead of you.  There really are no “weekends” here and it’s easy to forget exactly what day it is.


Signs of the Times: Military Air Terminal Edition

Airports are full of signs, and military air terminals in Afghanistan are no different. Except the signs convey information that you probably don’t see at most other airports. 

More rules for seats . . . 

My Son, The Patriot . . .

This too good not to share. My wife took the kids to do some grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s . . . 

Live, from Bagram Airfield, it's the BIG VOICE

The BIG VOICE may sound like the marketing for a pop-rock radio station or a trending talk radio show . . . “and now, on AM1000, it’s the Big Voice . . . . “Alas, it is not.It’s the base public address system, and sadly, it doesn’t announce that there are leftover bagels and lox in the break room or that there is a white pick-up truck in parking lot 4 with its lights still on. The Big Voice, or what we in the Navy would call the “1MC” for “#1 Main Circuit,” has three distinct announcements.Each elicits a different set of emotional responses which I will now attempt to correlate to the office PA system.While reading, just imagine your office PA system sounding with sufficient volume to knock you out of your yoga ball core-strengthening ergonomic rolling chair.
First, let’s get familiar with acronyms because it’s the military and we live on acronyms.Most of us don’t even know what the acronyms actually stand for, we just know it’s an acronym and it makes us sound way cooler when we use…

200 Care Packages

I made a lot a friends last week, but none of them work in the military mail system.  The power of the Navy reserve network is strong. The power of the Seabee network is stronger.  And the power of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 23 alumni group is the strongest.

Time for a LT Bob In Iraq flashback  click HERE.
Thirteen years ago, I met Yeoman First Class Gena Sproul, now a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. Chief Sproul lives in the Pittsburgh area where she is a member of the greater Pittsburgh Chief Petty Officers Association with also retired Chief Petty Officer Chuck Desabato, who happens to be the president of Rotary District 7300. And now 193 soldiers (and seven Sailors) have care packages. And, all of a sudden, having a Navy guy around who is always making Army jokes doesn’t seem so bad. TWO HUNDRED CARE PACKAGES!  Thanks Rotary District 7300!

This is a pretty big deal, for two reasons.  First, the chaplain has told me that some of our troops here will go an entire deplo…

My "Tent"

On most bases excluding some of the more austere locations, tents have given way to buildings that coalition forces have constructed or co-opted over the last 17 years.  Some are remnants of the Soviet invasion nearly 40 years ago and others are much newer.  Cameras are not allowed in the building where I work, but its only a little different on the inside than, lets say, a really giant, windowless, persistently dusty and well lit attic.  Except it has been structurally hardened to (hopefully) absorb any direct hits from rockets and mortars and it has about 50 miles of fiber optic and ethernet cabling running through it.  There are no pool tables or Foosball games, but large flat screen TVs are prevalent above the low walls of cubicles that you might find in any U.S. office, distinguished only by the wooden racks built to hold the M-4 rifles many of us carry on a daily basis.  I stick with the trusty M9, Beretta 9mm unless I'm traveling, when I take both. The rolling wheels on of…