Sunday, October 26, 2008


Thanks to all you folks who are still around. I was kind of worried nobody would care anymore. What's that old anti-war saying about what if you hosted a war and no one showed up...

So yeah, um, Afghanistan, yeah. Well, I'm involved in the contracting process here. Basically myself and a few other people contract local companies to build schools, roads, clinics and the like. It is a very dichotomous experience. For those of you about to look that word up it means that there are two equal parts to it. It is both extremely rewarding and extremely frustrating at the same time.

It's very rewarding when a project is finished and the people are grateful for it. Especially schools or orphanages. Unfortunately it frequently happens that you finish a project and a week later the locals are complaining that it's not good enough or that Ahmed the villager thinks he is an engineer and says that a building made of stone, cement and rebar is going to fall in after a stiff breeze. That aspect of it is endlessly frustrating. Some of these villages are full of the most selfish ungrateful people I've ever met in my life. However some are full of some of the most beautiful people I've ever met.

I have very little sympathy for most of the adults here. They choose to continue a life of hate and violence. However, my heart breaks for the kids. They don't choose this life. They just have to live it.

When I first got here I would take lots of pictures of the scenery because it really is beautiful. It reminds me of parts of Utah and Arizona. However, I find that I hardly ever take pictures of the scenery any more. Now almost every picture I take is of a kid. Unfortunately I broke my camera the other day so I am picture-less until this gets here.

Oh well enough rambling. Here is one of my favorite pictures that I have taken since getting here.

Thanks for showing up guys and gals.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I guess a little back story is in order. There is a reason that I have been gone for the last year and a half. So here we go.

In the span of about 3 months my whole life fell apart.

It started when I found a cigarette butt in my truck. It was of a brand that neither myself or my wife smoked. Things that make you go Hmmm. Very shortly thereafter my wife left me for another soldier. I begged her to stay, said that I forgave her and that I wanted to make it work. She wanted nothing to do with it and divorced me a few months later.

Needless to say, I was a wreck. My performance at work went into freefall. I just didn't care. I showed up in the morning for a few hours and then went home to my new tiny apartment in the ghetto and didn't answer the phone. I would see my kids on the weekends and the whole time they would talk about Mr X who my son referred to as his new daddy.

When I got home I would open a beer and wouldn't stop until I passed out. I did that every single night. I lived off of Ramen noodles and beer.

My brother came and stayed with me for a couple of weeks and frankly I don't think I would have made it through the whole ordeal if he hadn't been there for me. I am forever in his debt for that.

My chain of command gave me three days of leave to deal with it. After that when my station's performance wasn't up to snuff I was told "I know you're going through a tough time BUT get over it," and "some people deal with crisis by throwing themselves into their work, maybe you should do that." I think it goes without saying that they gave my problems a cursory nod and then went right back to beating me up about the mission. Never mind that I was still making mission running the largest station in the state it just wasn't the 150% or so that the crook before me was making.

About two months after the whole mess started the recruiting command that I belonged to took a very, very minor indiscretion on my part (and I mean minor) and used it to kick me out of recruiting. I was relieved as Station Commander and made a normal dirt bag recruiter. The funny thing is that although I was no longer considered qualified to stay in recruiting I was still on numbers. They had no problem getting a few more bones out of me as they were kicking me out and ensuring that I will never get promoted again.

The most ironic part of it all is that for the last couple of months that I was in recruiting they had me run a station while the SC was in school. While I was running that station we had our ATC and I was not invited because "I was being relieved."

I always suspected that the recruiting command used my minor indiscretion as an excuse to get rid of a Station Commander who they thought had been ruined by his personal circumstances. I suspect though that it was more like they didn't want to wait for me to work through things. In classic recruiting style they wanted it now, not in a little while and my career was a small thing to sacrifice to "get it now."

In reality they did me a favor. I hated every minute that I was in recruiting. I hated it before I converted and I hated it after. However I put up with it all because I thought (and still do) that it was important. That if I didn't do it then somebody else would have to. They relieved me of that burden. I no longer had to sacrifice myself for the greater good. Thank the Lord almighty. The prospect of never getting promoted again is much more palatable then the thought of finishing out my career in recruiting.

So I was sent back to my original MOS and moved to another Army post and shortly thereafter deployed to Afghanistan. And so here I am, in the desert and loving it. I stopped drinking (obviously,) quit smoking about three months ago (haven't cheated once,) started going back to the gym and getting things back on track spiritually. I've lost 20 lbs, am right with God and I've never felt better in my life.

About a month ago my ex-wife started e-stalking me, asking me to take her back. I politely told her that I don't want anything to do with her and honestly, it felt good. Although I told her that I forgive her (I do) and that I'm not bitter (I'm not) it kind of signaled to me that I am truly over it. Up until that point I would begin to think that I was over it all and then I would spiral back down into a pit of self pity and depression and longing for her. This time I had none of those feelings and found it very easy to make the right decision.

I say the right decision because I think that's exactly what it was. I firmly believe that we decide who we love. When we "decide" to love (in the romantic sense) people who are seriously flawed we are compromising common sense and standards for petty emotions, emotions that will one day fade away. Then we are left with those character flaws that, sadly, rarely go away regardless of claimed "changes" etc. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to find a perfect woman with no character flaws. However, I do expect to find someone with minor ones that I can be comfortable living with when the emotions fade. I can't be with someone who cheats. If she were a complete stranger who I did not have a history with but had done what she did I wouldn't want to be with her. Maybe she deserves a second chance but it doesn't have to come from me.

As for the recruiting command I hope one day they will realize that not only do they not have to chew people up and spit them out in order to make mission but that one day it might be the downfall of the Army. What's sad is that more recruiters will lose their careers, families and sadly their lives before they figure that out. To me that is a travesty and the movers and shakers of recruiting should all be ashamed of themselves. Despite some small mistakes I made during my time in recruiting I sleep soundly every night and have no problem whatsoever shaving with my eyes open every morning. Frankly I don't see how they do.

Monday, October 06, 2008


While I enjoy being here very much today is just one of those days where all I want to do is go home. I miss my kids. I miss my life, what life I had that is. I just want to get back to it and start over. That's something I haven't had a chance to do since everything fell apart. This is probably all spurred on by the fact that a lot of the people I have been working with the last few months have been replaced. I had grown quite close to a few of them. Since I last posted regularly to this blog I have become much more sentimental and emotional. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Oh well.