Sunday, May 13, 2007

What's in a name

So what's in a name? When we are expecting a child, we spend months laboring (pun intended)over a child's name looking through books, studying family histories and remembering people who mean something to us. And ultimately, we choose a name that has some meaning and significance for us. I mentioned last week I would share some of the thought process that went into naming my blog and I would also like to share something about the name "Camp Phoenix".

First my blog. As you all know it is Well the www and the part come as part of the site. The wadeaminute part had some thinking behind it. It started with a few people getting together virtually over e-mail brainstorming names. Many great ideas surfaced, such as something to do with the desert or sand or the Navy. As we thought about it those things were limiting in the fact that they only dealt with things happening while I was deployed and this too shall pass. So we looked at names that had a family twist to them and had staying power even after I returned home. Our name Wade seemed like it had to be in there and so it is. Wade sounded a bit like "wait" and then there was Wade a minute. Most of you know I love movies and one of my favorite movies is "The Sunshine Boys" starring Walter Mathau and George Burns. A great line that Walter Mathau uses when George Burns knocks on his door is "Wait a minute" said sounding like an old Jewish man's voice. It's a funny line you have to watch the movie. The words Wade a minute also sounded a bit like Wade in a minute. A brief recap of what is going on with the Wade's in a minute. Yes, I know there is no possible way to read these things in a minute and of course it takes me many minutes to write them. In any case it had a little bit of a news cast sound to it, you know, "News of the Wade's, up to the minute". So that is how it all happened, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Now a bit about the name Camp Phoenix. You might think it comes from that city in Arizona. It actually comes from a saying about Afghanistan, "Rising from the ashes".

Rising from the ashes, Camp Phoenix and its mission are local symbols of rebirth and renewal following the horrific impacts of Taliban rule and the chaotic aftermath of the U.S. led war on terrorism. With a compliment of around 700 U.S. and International troops, Camp Phoenix is dedicated to the support and training of the new Afghan National Army as well as significant public outreach/humanitarian programs such as building and supplying schools and assisting orpahanges. Camp Phoenix is a relatively small outpost located at an elevation of ~6100 feet, surrounded by 15,000+ ft mountains and is well within the western outskirts of Kabul, the largest city and capitol of Afghanistan.

For you Harry Potter fans, Dumbledore has a pet Phoenix, named Fawkes, that appropriately symbolizes the rising from the ashes saying.

Well it was a pretty busy week. I am really starting to get into my job and it is keeping me busy. It was my first full week on my own without Andy telling me what things meant. So far I am getting the hang of this thing. I have been doing a lot planning and setting priorities because there is so much to do and we can't do it all. And yes, there is plenty of fire fighting with emergencies that come from headquarters. It is funny how work is the same all over the world. It is a little more challenging here due to the culture of the Afghan people. They lived under Soviet rule and the Taliban and they have learned to hoard and basically live day to day. Long term vision is not something they think about a lot. It does make planning a bit more difficult, but we are making progress and that is what counts.

The excitement this week was a visit from two American Generals, Major General Durbin (that's a two star) and Lt General Dubik (a 3 star general). They had a nice tour of our facility along with their entourage and then were off again. It was nice to have some time with them and then it was nice to have them leave. There is always a lot of stress when Generals visit.

I thought I would leave you with some more items to keep with the name theme. In the military we have lots of words that most people wouldn't know the meanings of and overseas there are a few pertinent to here.
Watch your six = That is watch your back, when you use clock designations a 6 o'clock is your back.
Comms = Radio
SAW = Semiautomatic (squad) Assault Weapon, a 249 machine gun
Peddle to the metal like a slinky that is alive = you drive as fast as the slowest vehicle and vary the distance between the vehicles so the enemy can't time their IED
Warlock Systems jams radio/wireless activated IED (Bombs)
Crew Serve Weapons = weapons that need two people unless mounted on the top of a vehicle such as 240B and M2 (50 cal) machine guns.
Head by a Rhino = a boom that sticks out in front of the lead vehicle to trigger trip wires & laser trigged bombs (IED) or a 5 ton gun truck
Until next time, "watch your six".

Peace to you all,


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