Crossing the Wire

One of my duties here at the PRT is Public Affairs. Since I am the Public Affairs Officer (PAO), I was able to go on my first mission today. Today we conducted a VETCAP, where we go and provide veterinary assistance to farmers. We pretty much focused on providing de-worming treatments. We treated sheep, goats, cows, donkeys, mules, and camels. Having worked with all the former animals except the camels, I was very interested in how a camel would react to having a drenching gun shoved down its throat. To my surprise, the camels were the most docile (the donkeys and mules came in second). The cows were a little touch and go (we did not have a pen like I am accustomed to, I let the younger guys wrangle them) and the sheep and goats were dumb as rocks (they are dumb as rocks stateside also).

One of the goals of the VETCAP was to get the ANA (Afghanistan National Army) soldiers involved. Hey, its their fellow countrymen's animals, they should help, right? I want to report that the ANA did very well today. They were wrangling the animals and administering the de-worming medicine plus providing security along with our security detail. Actually, I am not surprised about the ANA, practically all of them grew up around farm animals. These guys don't have the experience with the de-worming part because their families couldn't afford the meds. All in all a good day.

So what was it like crossing the wire for the first time? For the record, I have crossed many "wires", just not in Afghanistan. Let me illustrate some differences between Afghanistan and Kosovo where I was deployed last. When I crossed the wire in Kosovo I was in an SUV. Today I was in an uparmored humvee with a grenade launcher and machine gun on top. When I crossed the wire in Kosovo I had a pistol with the magazine in with no round in the chamber and my body armor in a bag. Today I had a pistol and a rifle, locked and loaded, I was wearing my body armor and helmet, and I had a ton of ammo and access to plenty more in the humvee. Get the picture?

On the trip to the VETCAP site, there were some places on the route that gave me the heebie jeebies. I did not use the word "road" on purpose. The gravel road to the family ranch is an interstate compared to the stuff we drove on today. It kinda drives home the point on how important a transportation infrastructure is to a nations economy. Of course, I wasn't thinking about Afghanistan's economy at the moment, I was thinking how easy it would be for Taliban diehards to light us up from the high ground.

Honestly, because today is the first day of Eid celebrations (post Ramadan), there probably weren't too many Taliban diehards interested in taking us on. They were probably too busy recovering from the "breaking the fast" celebrating. Most of the men were hanging out at their village cemeteries or sleeping off the previous nights festivities (I saw at least five racked out, wrapped in their cloaks, in dry stream beds). Last night there were all sorts of celebratory gun fire (you can hear it plus see the tracers).

So was today a good mission? I didn't get shot at and my humvee didn't hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device, I like the term booby trap better, but I am not in charge). I took a bunch of pictures and will do the write up tomorrow. I am in one piece and not bleeding anywhere, so today was a good mission.

CPT NightHawk


Post a Comment

<< Home