Thursday, November 11, 2010

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Subject: So there I was.... (UNCLASSIFIED)
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:27:13 +0430

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO

                So, there I was, in Kandahar, a dust filled cesspool (literally) filling your nostrils with the unpleasant scent of human feces.  Yes.  We call it.. “The Pooh Pond”

It was day two of my trip, which each day is always anxiety ridden, awaiting for the sirens, attacks, and of course unpleasant odor which fills the air – especially when the wind blows.

Earlier in that day we had an incoming rocket, so the siren sounded, and we made our way to the bunkers.. but that was hours earlier.  Its now 1219, I’m laying on my  rack in the transient tent watching a movie on my iPod, **Boom**! I hear it.. an explosion.. I remove my earphones and listen again, looking down at my watch to see 1220 displayed.  I am thinking to myself “I wonder if the Alarm will sound” or worse yet “How long will it take.” Again, another Boom, and another.. This continues on for about 10 minutes – still no siren, and to my surprise, of all the females in the tent – NOT ONE of them stirred to the noise.  (Except Me).  I look at my watch again and now it’s 1229 – no siren.  Well, siren or not, I can’t lay there hearing explosions that sound like they are just behind my tent, so I quietly, but quickly, without panic, make my way outside.  My first thoughts are – I should call mom.. LOL (Right? .. I know.. I know..) But – I can’t help it.  As I am making my way outside I hear the gun fire.. and I’m not just talking single shots, I mean bursts.. a few of them.. LOUDLY… by now, I’m outside, speed dialing my Mommy.. cold, shivering, scared and just a complete UNEASY feeling washing over me. 

Now, let me remind you I am usually in a location that receives minimal action – certainly not the sounds of explosions nor gunfire… this is not a common occurrence to me, nor am I complacent in ANY way, shape or form.  I am, however, acutely aware of the casualties that come out of Kandahar and the incidents that occur daily..


Back to the story at hand… I dial my mom’s number, by now, its silent again.  I swear for the last 12 minutes it was non-stop.. had my mom been on the phone, she would have heard it..

Silence.  My mom answers, asks me what is wrong, I lie and say “nothing” of course, she realizes the time and say “what’s going on, can’t sleep?”  By now, the little girl in me comes out and I just want to cry.. I think I was more scared than I had been, since arriving in theater, and it was NOT a pleasant feeling.  So, I spew out to my mom, without thinking about her worry – and tell her what I heard, but that apparently its nothing to worry about because NO ONE stirred, no alarm sounded, and all was now quiet – However, I wasn’t going to trust anyone else’s complacency and made my way to the bunker.  We chatted, worriedly making small talk.. and I realize at this point it seems all clear on my end, but I probably sent a WORLD of worry my mom’s way.. and knew that when I hung up, she would worry through my night, and until she heard from me again.


Its crazy how we spend our whole young adult lives trying to get away from our parents, but once we are adults, wish we could make the appear in a snap..


Anyhow, so, my mom makes small talk with me for about 20 minutes, until my nerves unwind… and I feel a little more relaxed.. so we say our goodnights and NOW I am feeling REALLY bad and extremely guilty for calling her and now making her worry..

I lay in my rack, once again, this time a little more nervous..but eventually fall asleep…

The next morning, I make it in to the office and ask all – “Did you guys hear the explosions and gunfire last night”

To which the Major replies “Yeah- they just opened up a range over there a couple nights ago”


Yea… would’ve been nice to have some warning?

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