Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve, Kandahar Air Field

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
In Afghanistan™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Kandahar Air Field 12/25/09 01:50

Christmas Eve in Afghanistan is no different than any other Christmas away from home; basically it sucks.

There is little to do, lines at the phone kiosk, and a line at the crappy, sorry ass excuse for a coffee shop Green Bean. They serve the functional equivalent of dirt and burnt coffee beans. I go to the Canadian's place, Tim Horton's. Great coffees at a great price.

Have I mentioned there is no legal liquor on any American base in Afghanistan?

Anyway, there are some highlights. If you own a laptop, you can watch DVDs. Some of the fellows make a big deal out of it, and set up a movie trading and watching group. Others shoot pool, read, or work out. Actually, in comparison to even 20 years ago, most of the bases have pretty sophisticated amenities. Of course, there are some without even the most basic facilities.

Tonight, the ground pounders shot a few flares off. You could tell it was for fun and the holidays, because they didn't open up and spend thirty to forty thousand dollars worth of ammunition. It was fun to watch.

The Mountains at Tarin Kowt.

I will be counting my blessings, call home at 0400 which will make it about supper time there. Going to say howdy to all my family and friends that are eating dinner with us.

I hope Y'all have a safe and wonderful Holiday season! Keep your eyes open, and your feet on the ground.

Best Regards, and Happy Hunting!
Albert A Rasch
Member: KAF Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Albert A Rasch: Fun and Games in Kandahar, Afghanistan

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
In Afghanistan™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Kandahar Air Field 12/24/09


I'm just having loads of it here in A'stan!

This picture is from about a month ago, when we had a series of duststorms blow through. The dust is a talcum powder fine, heavy as granite particle that gets into everything.

Sucking dust!

To be honest, I'm amazed every time I see an aircraft, fixed or rotary, take off. You would think that the engines would stop dead in their tracks from all the dust. But our fellows keep them running, and running smooth!

Actually the most dangerous thing I have to contend with, (Besides the rocket attacks and the occasional small arms fire.) is dirty windows on the vehicles. I am surprised we don't run over more of these Third Country Nationals that dart out into the streets. My friends to the north, the fellows from Canada, are real bad about it too, especially the ones from Quebec.

Outside the PX.

We are in the "rainy" season now, if you can call it that. It is a wet, freezing, and miserable rain that comes down and turns everything into a sodden mess. The mud is slick, sticky, and smelly. And the water can't percolate down because of the soil conditions. Nothing works like it should in Afghanistan.

Remind me to tell you the story about Alexander and his band of Greeks...

Running out of time my friends...

Best Regards, and Happy Hunting!
Albert A Rasch
Member: KAF Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Greetings from Afghanistan!

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Greetings from Afghanistan!

Dear Friends!

I finally got access to the Internet! damned authorities don't want soldiers blogging so the whole Milnet prohibits Blogger and all the other blogging sites. Bunch of bull---- if you ask me.

I've got lots to tell y'all, but most importantly is that I am fine, fit, and hale. No worries or problems, but the truth is I've missed blogging and every one of you too! I've been able to touch base with a couple of you, but the net is rather difficult to access here.

I'll start plugging in stuff again as soon as I can get my notes organized.

A couple of quick notes:
Afghanistan is a dirty, dusty place.
The roads are awful.
The people are nice. To your face.
Don't ever turn your back on them.
The Afghan people can barter like nobodies business.
Kids are kids no matter where they come from.
Always, always, check your oil, carry a spare, make sure your jack, wrench, and any other tools are in your vehicle before you leave.
The Bagram to Kabul run is pretty safe; at 70 mph all you need to worry about is stray goats.
The Kandahar to Kabul run though, is different story; bring spare underwear and lots of class VIII.
A 45 in its holster is about useless. God gave you two hands, use one.

Plenty more to follow! I don't know how often I will be able to post, but it should be pretty frequent.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's Been a Long Road

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
In Afghanistan™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Mail Call

"Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle."

Sometimes, I walk with a little trepidation. I wonder if some poor, hungry bastard has me in his sights, and is wondering if he should risk the massive retaliation that the Predators and Apache gunships will visit upon him for his ill conceived idea.

But people rely on my team and I.

Afghanistan... Just the name brings back dozens of memories from college courses on ancient lands and histories. Afghanistan has been the crossroads of countless civilizations, armies, tribes, warlords, and bandits. The Persian King Darius, Alexander and his Greeks,the Mongol hordes under Genghis Kahn, Babur's Moghal empire, the English and the Russians, then the Soviets and now the Americans. Afghanistan has factored into almost all of the major empires of history.

The prize was never the dry southern plateaus, or the fertile northern plains, but rather the central highlands, and more specific, the passes that led to China, India, and Persia.

It's a land of dust and rocks, sand storms, bitter cold and sweltering heat. It is a hard land with a hard people. A land of blood oaths, feuds, death, and violence, a place with fields of vibrant poppy in bloom and choking dust bowls, beautiful valleys and deadly encounters.

If the people are hard, then even the environment conspires against them. The Afghan people suffer from soil degradation because of poor farming methods, overgrazing by livestock, drought, desertification, air and water pollution, almost unrecoverable deforestation,and a population growing more numerous, perversely because of the war and the access to better health care and foreign aid.

How I got here isn't important; I'm here simply to support the hard working and harder fighting soldiers of the American war effort in Afghanistan. I don't wage war, I remind the soldiers that people at home remember them, love them, and can't wait to have them back. My team and I sort, organize, deliver, and make sure they get their letters and packages from home, and that their mail gets to their loved ones as quickly as possible.

We work 12 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, unrelentingly unloading planes, through blistering heat and unremitting cold. The team moves skids of correspondence, each measuring 88" by 108" and up to 96" high, that may weigh up to 10,000 pounds. Each C-17 that lands can carry sixteen of these pallets and frequently do. Dedicated men and women work around the clock sorting and distributing the torrential flow of mail, making sure it is directed to the proper Forward Operating Base or Combat Outpost.

I personally inspect all the bases and check that our soldiers are getting the best service we can provide and they deserve. I shake hands and thank them for their service; I hand out packages and letters as time permits. I wonder sometimes what they're getting; could it be candy, books, CDs or DVDs, or maybe something as mundane but comforting as babywipes and talcum powder?  Whatever it is, we see to it that it gets to that soldier in the quickest and safest way possible.

"Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," might be the US Postal Service's unofficial motto, but ours could very well be:

Neither IED, nor RPG, nor Taliban at night
stays these postmen from
kicking ass and taking names;
the mail will get through!

I am very proud to be working hand in hand with members of the 38th, and doubly proud of the men and women on my team that have come to this austere environment to support the war effort.

We really do deliver!
Albertensis Afghanus
AKA Albert “Afghanus” Rasch