Monday, October 18, 2010


Camp Julien -COIN Training

We left about 9ish for Camp Julien. After a trip that took me thru streets I have never traveled, and sites I have never seen, we arrived. Because of OPSEC I am truly limited on what I say about the camp, its location and the training we went thru. Without giving too much information, I will simply explain that COIN is a training that teaches us about perceptions and appropriate actions to adhere to in order to build better relations with our local population. We learned more about the customs, perception, and culture surrounding us, and the history of Afghanistan and the Taliban. For those that have not seen the national geographic show, Inside the Taliban, I recommend it. this was truly a great history lesson for me, proving how ignorant I was in regards to the history of Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan and yes, the US. The funny thing is, Katrina was studying this portion of history (which, btw, I do not remember reading about in my history books), anyhow, she was learning about this before I left for Afghanistan, and now, I get it.

Our first day, I got to tour the Queens old palace. There are pictures of the ruins that was once a beautiful adorned palace. It was breathtaking and heartbreaking to see the ruins, to walk thru the historical monument. We took many pictures and then moved on. We went on to start our training. That evening, we broke in time for dinner and went to the local restaurant, where between the four of us, we downed 10 baskets of bread, and four entrees...oh, and let's not forget the nearbeer in many different flavors...which, btw, no matter how bad I miss the slight taste of wine, or liquor, I still detest beer and therefore did not partake in Near beer...I figure if I don't like the real thing, why would I like the fake

Anyhow, after filling our bellies with 10 pounds of yeast, and 3 hours of wining and dining..ok..dining... We were able to just go to bed.. What a concept..we didn't have to eat and then rush back to work for a few more hours..nice change...(yes, people, its the simple things in life...)

The following day we had to get up early to get up to the range and refamiliarize ourself with our weapons... Yes, we got to shoot.. And well, all I can say is what an embarrassment I was to myself that day...I think I drank too much of the DFAC coffee..because I could not get a steady arms and hands shook like I was Wired... I suppose I was...I even shot twice, trying to make myself feel better, only ending with the same results...I went from sharp shooter to crap more coffee before the range ( and no, I'm not telling you my numbers)

Later that afternoon, we got to go to the old Russian Officers club, I think I labeled it German, on facebook photos, but I will fix that later..this hike, was Bout a 40 minute hike, up hill the whole, this isn't like the old "5 miles up hill both ways exaggeration" it truly was an up hill hike, about 40 minutes, but the view was absolutely amazing..a full 360 view of the city...mountains surrounding us... I could only imagine how amazing and breathtaking it would be, with a slight layer of snow just atop the mountains..fortunately, the hike downhill felt much better, than the hike up..but definitely worth it.

We once again enjoyed dinner at the restaurant that night, devouring pizzas that were definitely worth the wait ( most people here definitely take their time, with EVERYTHING... They are never in a rush....except for on the roads it only half like New York...the traffic half..) anyhow, it was good.
Our ride back was definitely a bit more interesting than the ride there...traffic was absolutely INSANE. There are prolly 15 (made up) lanes of traffic, heading in all directions possible, yes, its like playing frogger, except, worse... The one thing I have learned, no lie, is that there is no license required here to drive, no joke, but it definitely explains a lot.

After safely making it back to nkc and wanting to kiss the ground, when I stepped out of the vehicle, I was exhausted. I checked in at the office, setup the refrigerator that Donovan had delivered for me, (thank you for getting it here!) and then went to bed..
After traveling the day at Kandahar, then turning around and heading to Julien the next day, for a few days, I was exhausted.

There you have it... My next trip, promises not to be as exciting as this one, Kandahar never is..
More later

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