Monday, March 12, 2007

Everything is Relative

To my family and friends,

When we last left our heroes, we heard about the fine living conditions at Fort Riley. I must always remember, everything is relative (and relatives are everything), and after hearing of the concerns at Walter Reed Hospital, I suppose we don't have it so bad. (Editor's note: I beg to differ... here is a picture of the "facilities" out on the range.)
It has given me a new perspective on living conditions and also reinforced the idea that I do not want to get injured and go to the Army hospital so I will keep my head down. I am sure it would not be as bad as Tom Cruise in "Born on the Fourth of July" and who hasn't sat in soiled undergarments for a few hours. Not me. In reality, the media sensationalized the story about Walter Reed Hospital because it does make for a better story and that is what we are all about, good stories.

Speaking of stories, I shared one about the female Lieutenant who was having trouble with qualifying on the range. She has since been sent home and I think it was the best thing for everyone concerned.

This was a relatively light week (you see once again, everything is relative). We had lots of classroom training, go figure since the weather was actually pretty nice. I am sure the Army plans things this way, bad weather train outside, good weather sit in a classroom. They must have really good weather guessers. We also trained on our Crew Serve Weapons (those are the machine guns mounted on our HUMMWV's), we did not do any live firing but we learned how to take them apart and put them back together. They have lots of parts, much more than our M4 rifles or M9 pistols. Not to scare anyone, but we did have an entire class on IED's, those are the Improvised Explosive Devices I am sure you have all heard about. The class was all about how to recognize and avoid them and what to do if you do encounter them. What I really learned was to stay the heck away from them. I am hopeful the training will never have to come into play during my tour. We also had some classes on Detainee Ops, this was how to avoid another Abu Graab (not sure of the spelling). I guess we are not supposed to lead prisoners around by leashes with hoods on their heads and they are supposed to be given clothes. There were a few people in the class that were a little disappointed by this news; I will have to keep my eye on them. We also had a class in Traffic Control Points, I was thinking this could be a good fallback career working for CALTRANS creating traffic jams. This is actually important training on how to safely monitor vehicle traffic around the roads of Afghanistan. I am told there are roads there and not a single tollbooth, I will find out soon enough.

The majority of our week was spent on Military Intelligence. I know that is an oxymoron, however the training was very informative and useful. We learned how to be investigators, some real CSI type stuff. I am planning to submit the idea to CBS, CSI Kabul; you can never have enough CSI's. Hey they would still have a long way to go to catch up to the 8 Law and Order shows. I think I would cast Robert Downey Jr. as lead investigator, Hamed Hussein Abdul Al Assi. In the first episode, Hamed would be struggling with a Heroin addition, I think Robert Downey Jr. could play that well. You see that is funny because Robert Downey Jr had a drug problem and the major export from Afghanistan is poppy seeds for use in heroin. I thought I might have to explain my reference there for those who don't follow movies or Afghanistan's economy. So that would be just the first episode, I am sure there would be lots of stories to develop a long running series. Random thought: isn't it funny how you must say some people's entire name, like Robert Downey Jr.? It doesn't sound right if you just say Robert. I wonder what his friends call him? Did his parents intend for people to use his full name? He doesn't seem like a Bob. Or how about other famous people with just one name like, Madonna, Prince, or Cher. How do they sign their checks? When I get to Afghanistan, I will have to pose these important questions to the locals because they tend to use 5 names all strung together.

For those of you interested in what I did for entertainment this weekend, we chartered a 40 passenger bus and headed to Lawrence , KS (home of the Kansas, Jayhawks) to see a concert by The Red Jump Suit Apparatus. They are an alternative, slightly punk band whose base player is the son of our Commanding Officer. A good time was had by all.

A couple of pieces of big news from the home front. My Daughter, Madigan, got her cast off. She still sleeps with it next her at night for comfort, I guess you get fond of things attached to your body after a few weeks. Also, my brother Matt and his wife Dawn had a baby boy, Austin Matthew, on Monday. Congrats to them, your lives will never be the same, and I mean that in a mostly good way.

Until next time, this is Commander Wade, your GWOT (that is Global War On Terrorism) correspondent signing off. Stay safe and as Kasey Kasem says, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars". Kasey was best known for his America's Top 40 radio show, he was also the voice of Shaggy in Scooby Doo (bet you didn't know that one). He really was the Ryan Seacrest of the 80's.

Take care,


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