Life on the Compound

21 MAY 2015

 

I’ve been on this compound almost two months now, and after having overcome an extended case of jet-lag, I have adjusted as well as expected. Learning the “battle rhythm”, faces, facilities and functions was easy enough. The relatively small footprint of the compound, the seven day/ twelve hour working schedule, and very limited recreational and social resources make for extremely tenuous and fleeting personal interaction. But, I’ve been in worse places and this is a cake-walk compared to what our men and women in the armed forces must endure. Embrace the Suck!

We share common space with a host of local-nationals and third world nationals; they mostly doing the work of maintenance and service-related tasks. The faces are smiling and friendly, but you never get past a festering sense of mistrust or resentment. Most of my fellow American residents are cheerful and helpful but a few seem weary, or unable to engage in a welcoming exchange. Perhaps they look at me as an interloper on their turf, and it would be easy to take it personal, except for the same sense of non-acceptance expressed by a few of my fellow travelers.

All in all, life is good here, despite being in the middle of the biggest foreign-policy fiasco in southwest Asia. Every day and more frequently, we are treated to the latest intel on the nearby vehicle-borne improvised explosive deviceĀ  or body-borne improvised explosive device explosion. ISIS is doing its magic to attempt to undermine the rule of law and country stability.

Amidst all of this, modern day convenience has allowed me to keep in regular touch with family, and my moral, spiritual and mental rock of support- my wife. The paradox this causes is that loved-ones back home seem to think and act like I am on the equivalent of a weekend training seminar.

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Back in the Sandbox again

01 APR 2015

Once again I find myself on a private contracting mission in Afghanistan. This time its for DynCorp International as an Emergency Response Team Lead. That means that if anything of a SHTF nature occurs, our teams respond. It could be anything from a physical dispute between two agitated parties, to a full-blown facility attack.

Co-incidentally, today is eight years to the day of my first mission, first day in A-stan. The next few days will entail a blizzard of paperwork filing, in-country familiarization, physical agility testing and weapons re-qualification. What the Hell was I thinking?