Friday, April 01, 2005

A few more blogs in the blog roll

There are a few more blogs I've added to my check daily list, and I've been meaning to add them here. One of the things that I find surprising when I read the blogs of people who are downrange at this very moment, is how connected they are. I find references to what's happening that day in their hometowns, to the email a family member sent the day before, to the way the media is getting the war right or wrong right at this moment in time. Roaming around the countryside, and out at a remote A-camp, phone and internet were occasional, sporadic things for us; mail was irregular at best. I understand why that happened to us, by the way. Afghanistan doesn't have the infrastructure that even Iraq has, and it makes sense from a cost / benefit basis to make sure that the large collection of troops have communication first. Phone and internet for less than twenty people was a lower priority. (Besides, as the Korean-born Major in charge of providing such things for SOF forces in Afghanistan put it when he was asked why we didn't have internet access at the A-camps: "They SF. They hard. They suck it up.") While it didn't exactly endear him to any of us, he was right - we would suck it up. Most of us had waited most of our adult lives for a chance to do what we were doing, and not being able to get our fix was a small price to pay.

And even now it's not a complaint. We did get internet connectivity installed a few weeks before we left and the next teams rotated into the country. And I discovered that an internet connection (and the VoIP phones that came with it) was a mixed blessing. Being so isolated led to an almost monastic existence (well, maybe more like summer camp, but you know what I mean.) We were focused on the mission and the team, with not a lot to distract us. Now, once we got the internet, everybody loved to be able to email home every day, and phone home every other night, but I wonder if in some ways it didn't make it harder to focus and easier to worry about home and about family. When phone calls were 10 minutes a week by Iridium satellite phone, the calls were focused expressions of love, longing and hope for the time when people would be re-united. When phone calls ran an hour every other night during radio watch, concerns about kids and mortgages and termites and new washing machines crept in. (Fortunately, we didn't get attacked in the last few weeks - I can just see how "Sorry, honey, got to go - they're shooting at us. I need to make a few calls." would have gone over back home.)

And the families loved it too, but then there were the wives and mothers who panicked if a day went by without an email ("What's happened to him? Why didn't he write today?") And, while a Dear John letter in a war zone is devastating, having a relationship break up by phone over a period of a week or two is even more so. So, even in retrospect, I'm not sure that this level of connection is altogether a good thing. But I don't know - probably the morale benefits are worth the distraction.

Anyway, with that said, Going Downrange is the blog of a lucky fellow who won an all expense paid year-long vacation in lovely Afghanistan. He's in Kandahar right now, and if he's lucky he'll get out of there for awhile and get to see the rest of the country. (Hey, if you read this and the North Face outlet store is still across from the PX, I need to get you to pick me up another jacket. . .)

Mustang 23, from Assumption of Command, is a company commander in Iraq, and always has an interesting take on what's going on in the world. (And he manages to generate hate comments, as well! I've got to figure out how to piss people off with my blog - you get a lot more discussion that way.)

And, since I read Black Five every day, and he probably needs the traffic, I thought I'd add him too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is quite a list of blogs you have created, do you really read through all of them? This one is enough for me.

Also, although I like their TV shows, seems overly cluttered with a very disjointed layout. It also doesn't load very fast and I got really turned off when they had that Terry Schiavo case plastered on the front for two weeks straight. I know it captures a larger issue, but come on, there's other things going on in the world. Like whether the judge allowed a new piece of evidence in the Jackson trial (oh wait, that doesn't matter either.) That kind of sensationalism isn't unique to foxnews either; I really should just stick to my Wall Street Journal.

Tom M

7:54 AM  
Blogger Chevy Rose said...

I've done basically the same thing with my blog, including adding yours to my list of military links. I check each every day and read. It's interesting the attitudes of each will show through their posts each day. Press on and God bless you.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Mustang 23 said...

I don't know why but sooner or later someone will not like what I say. :)

And we are having Pee-Bottle problems here as well. but I don't know aof a case when they have been confused yet.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Major Mike said...

SFAG...thanks for connecting to some great blogs...I am not as adept as getting to the company level guys. I appreciate it.MM

6:06 AM  
Blogger nwkatje said...

I'm glad I found your blog, I like your humorous stance on things. My husband " a lucky fellow who won an all expense paid year-long vacation in lovely Afghanistan." He isn't one for writing much so it will be informative to read your blog.

5:04 AM  

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