Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Burn

Every Thursday night, the crew gets together and puts on a big burn. You might ask what are we burning? In the military we have lots of documents that cannot be thrown in the regular trash for fear that some terrorist may see sensitive documents... or maybe even personal love letters. So we make a fire in a big trash can and burn all the papers. Now don't get the wrong idea, it's not like we stand around the fire and recite strange incantations... although I have heard a couple people chanting something under their breath. I am sure they were just putting a curse on the Taliban.

So Thursday night everyone grabs their boxes or trashcans full of papers to burn and heads out to the burn pit. Often we will bring some near beer and cigars to make a big event of it. We have to find entertainment where we can. Of course, there are a few rules to the burn. Any piece of paper in the burn barrels is subject to scrutiny by all the burn members. Just to make it entertaining people often write up incriminating notes about others that happen to find their way into the hands of innocent bystanders. The notes are read aloud for all to hear and mock the individual who the note is supposedly to or from. Often the notes are invoices from specific on line purchases someone has made, I won't get into what weird things are alledgedly purchased.

There is also a "stick man" for the fire. This is an important job and takes a minor bit of training. You see as a fire burns and more papers are added, the fire can go out if the papers are thrown in without first separating them into small bunches. The "stick man"
stirs the fire to keep the flames going. He also must proclaim what a good "stick man" he is as he makes the flames rise 3 or 4 feet above the top of the trash can. He must also be careful he does not get burned as he moves the papers around to ensure all the scraps are burned.

Right now the burn gets a little hot and you can only stand to be the stick man for so long. I am sure when the cold weather hits, we will all be huddled around the fire and volunteering to be the stick man. So that is how we spend about an hour of our week, burning paper and telling stories on a Thursday night.

This week consisted of planning meetings and a couple visits to locations. We now have HUMMWV's due to recent incidents. Because I am one of the few people with a HUMMWV license here in CJ4, I do the driving. Good thing I had all that training at Fort Riley. We had a nice meeting with the Deputy Minister of Defense and with the head general of logistics for the ANA. We had a very nice lunch with the general which consisted of some grilled lamb, rice, potatoes, and some other stuff that I couldn't recognize. It was all very tasty.

I had several meetings with my leadership team developing plans and goals for the group. We then had a full team meeting with the entire Operations crew. We are making progress in building the team and identifying roles and responsibilities for everyone.

Back on the homefront, Rebecca turned 40. Hard to believe isn't it. She is not doing much celebrating as she is waiting for me to return. I did get her a ring and earrings with Sapphires that I bought here in Afghanistan. She said she really liked them. Ginny or Gamma, the kids Grandma, came to San Diego for a visit. Not sure they all have too many plans, but I am sure it will be a nice visit. My brother Matt who flies for FEDEX also made a visit over the Labor Day Holiday, the kids really enjoy seeing him.

Peace to you all,


No comments: