Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tales from Afghanistan, Chapter 5: Happy Anniversary?

Nate's blog: Oct 19

It’s officially been over a month since I left! The time has really flown by here. Its hot and dusty and crappy here, and getting shot at is no fun (and you thought YOUR neighbors were rude), but it’s been so busy the time has just flown by. I hope the next 6 go by just as fast! Everyone is already planning for things they want to do when they get back; partying, seeing their family, vacations. Even though it’s only been a month, I’ve found I’ve been doing the same thing too. Vegas, San Diego (taking Saija to my other home, the Blarney Stone), Europe, wine tasting in Santa Barbara, and adventures in the family cabin up in NorCal. If you are in Vegas anytime next spring/summer and you see a drunk Marine walking around, it’s probably one of our guys. Pretty much everyone has decided to go there after the deployment, and 7 months sober makes anyone a lightweight!

It’s strange to me, writing about our experiences, and knowing other people are reading it. People I’ve never even met are following along, commenting, and some even email or write to me on Facebook. I originally was planning on just doing a journal, but thought this would be a fun way to do it. I’ve realized the big downside to doing a blog is watching what I say. We get briefings all the time on “OPSEC”, on not giving away any secrets/tactics/schedules that the enemy could use against us. The censorship is necessary, but it can be frustrating when you are trying to write about your experiences. For anyone who’s ever wondered why some of the things I write are vague, that’s the reason why. There’s a lot of stuff going on, things that I would like to write about, things that I’d just like to tell my wife about, but I can’t. For those of you that know me, you know that I’m a chatterbox and keeping secrets isn’t in my nature (except for Saija’s surprises), so it’s tough keeping it all in! I am excited about some of the upcoming changes that I can’t talk about, but pretty much guarantee I won’t be coming back here. I’m not coming home early, but this should be my last trip to Afghanistan. If we fight another war soon, I hope it’s somewhere nice. Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, I’m sick of fighting in all these crappy places! I enjoyed the Cayman Islands, can we fight there next?

Yesterday I went on a trip with our Sergeant Major, around all of the FOB’s and Patrol Bases (PB’s). We also checked out one of our Observation Posts (OP’s), and man, they have it ROUGH. I can’t get into details, but basically a FOB is smaller than a base, a PB is smaller than a FOB, and an OP is smaller than a PB. While traveling I got a LOT of pictures, and I was pretty amazed by the way they lived. We went away from the towns, into some of the countryside where the roads were all dirt and electricity was pretty much nonexistent. The people out there don’t live in houses. They live in huts and poor imitations of houses made completely out of mud and clay. Some of them have thatch roofs, but for most it is just all dirt. So many of them are cracked or crumbling, and there are abandoned homes everywhere. It looks like something from the past, from thousands of yeas ago. If it weren’t from the people walking around, you would think you are looking at the ruins of some long lost civilization. There are random remnants of walls in the middle of nowhere, and caves and tunnels scattered around the hills (we did not go into those!). It made me really appreciate my life back in the states.

Well that’s all for now, should have another one in a week or so!


  1. We're been on a camping kick lately exploring the back country and we talk about you doing this not for fun on the other side of the world. Keep your head down bro.

  2. Guess in a way it's all "interesting" to see how the world can be so different miles away from the big countries all over the world.

    Good hearing from you, hope you're doing well :)

  3. Hi! My name is ELizabeth Hollis. I'm following your blog for an assignment in my Senior English Honors class. Thank you for your time, and I truly admire you and everyone else who is over there for our Country. Can't wait to read more. :)

  4. Can't wait to see the pics Nate. :)

    Sending some boxes of goodies your way :)

  5. Sean: Will do! Hey I found a camel spider here!

    Azn: Yeah its really different from life at home. Another world really.

    Elizabeth: Thank you for the supportive comments! I hope none of my posts bore you, but then again out here you really don't want too much excitement haha.

    Rach: I have a lot of pics, but probably won't be able to post them till I get back home. Thanks in advance for the goodies!

  6. If US gonna fight Caymen Islands, you can count on me ;-)