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SSG D's Note from Afghanistan

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Paratroopers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division moves out on patrol into the Ghorak Valley of the Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan during "Operation Achilles March 6. Photo by Spc. Matthew T. Littel, U.S. Army


From time to time, Staff Sergeant D (on the Pakistan-Afghan border) shoots me an email on what's happening.  The worst revelation is that the Army is charging the soldiers for Internet access (by the kilobyte) - I may have to send instructions on how to Vampire Tap a line to D.

Anyway, here's part of his message about how things are going, the handover to the 82nd Airborne (All the Way!) and some recent successes.  Forgive SSG D's spelling/grammar...he's a busy guy and paying for the Internet to send us this message.

...We are working in this remote area because we are the ones that can do it.  The 82nd are the new guys operating in our area, and since they are still sort of new, we are showing them around.  We have been conducting missions with our Afghan National Army guys, and we are doing our best to mentor the Afghan National Police in our area, even though that is not our stated mission.

...We captured a major logistical facilitator and safe house operator just recently, and conducted some door kicking raids that netted us some more bad guys that needed.  We got this information when we were conducting a MEDCAP one day (where the townspeople come and get medical care) and someone walked up and told us about this guy and where we could find him.  Immediate, actionable intelligence from the PEOPLE!!!!  They know the deal, which is that when the bad guys go away, they are safe and the Americans are the good guys.

I was the first American to put his really bad guy in my sights when my Afghan soldiers went through the door.  But the story isn't what I did, it is what the Afghan Soldiers did to plan, resource, and execute this mission.  They are light years from our army, but they are starting to get the basics like caring for the soldiers, paying them properly, feeding them right and training them to win.

They are great examples of the potential of Afghanistan.  I am glad to have been a part of it.  I  miss my home and my family and my time now here in Afghanistan is short.

I expect that at some point, I will be returning again.  Next time, I think it will be working in the SF Field.

SSG D posted a manifesto of sorts at Blackfive titled 'I am tired..." and contains gems like this:

...I am tired of Democrats who tell me they support me, the soldier on the ground, and then tell me the best plan to win this war is with a “phased redeployment” (liberal-speak for retreat) out of the combat zone to someplace like Okinawa.

I am tired of the Democrats whining for months on T.V., in the New York Times, and in the House and Senate that we need more troops to win the war in Iraq, and then when my Commander in Chief plans to do just that, they say that is the wrong plan, it won’t work, and we need a “new direction.”

I am tired of every Battalion Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major I see over here being more concerned about whether or not I am wearing my uniform in the “spot on,” most garrison-like manner; instead of asking me whether or not I am getting the equipment I need to win the fight, the support I need from my chain of command, or if the chow tastes good.

I am tired of junior and senior officers continually doubting the technical expertise of junior enlisted soldiers who are trained far better to do the jobs they are trained for than these officers believe.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who fight this war with more of an eye on the media than on the enemy, who desperately needs killing.

I am tired of the decisions of Sergeants and Privates made in the heat of battle being scrutinized by lawyers who were not there and will never really know the state of mind of the young soldiers who were there and what is asked of them in order to survive.

I am tired of CNN claiming that they are showing “news,” with videotape sent to them by terrorists, of my comrades being shot at by snipers, but refusing to show what happens when we build a school, pave a road, hand out food and water to children, or open a water treatment plant...

As you can see from his email at the top of the post, what happens when our soldiers complete a medical assistance mission is that they get the Taliban.

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