Friday, October 28, 2011

Tales from Afghanistan, Chapter 6: Bunker Games

Nate's blog: Oct 26
This past week has gone by so quickly. Really the whole deployment has been going by fast, it’s really excited me. We have one of those deployment trackers (for anyone who’s deployed, you know what I’m talking about), and according to it, we are 20% done with the deployment! People are already talking about dates for coming home, and events after. It looks like a few weeks after we get back, we will all be going to Vegas! Of course the dates are going to change 1000 times before it happens, but nothing raises morale like talking about coming home.

Making new friends is one of the things I’ve always liked about deployments. Marines come from all walks of life, and the group of Marines you see hanging out will be more varied than any civilian group you will see. Its always fun hearing everybody’s stories about where they are from and what they did before they joined the Marines. One thing all Marines like, regardless of their background, is card games! The other night I was playing poker with a group of them in this underground bunker. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen! This random door in the middle of the desert, with these steps that twist around deeper and deeper into the earth, till you finally get to this crazy room with cracked cement walls and a boombox. If I ever win the lottery, or when Saija becomes my sugarmomma, we are building an underground bunker in our back yard! So here I am in this bunker with a sniper, 2 truck drivers, an Afghani interpreter, a female Marine mechanic, and one of our guards, playing poker under a string of lights hanging by zip ties from the ceiling. A pretty cool experience. And I won $5! Sure that’s not a lot, but it’s better than the guy who lost $60.

I’ve had a couple more trips “outside the wire”. Most of them have been pretty smooth, although you really never know what’s going to happen. On my last one I got to experience something from home; a traffic jam! All along this street full of stores was this disjointed, disorganized collection of trucks, old cars, carts, and even tractors all honking and yelling, trying to get to their destinations. The situation was made even worse when 2 of our convoys came through. These 2 convoys full of armored vehicles and Marines with heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers added a lot of chaos to an already chaotic event. I felt bad for the civilians, because they obviously did not want to be in the path of these Marines and their huge armored vehicles, nor their weapons. But I also felt bad for the Marines, having to pay attention to all these people and vehicles, trying to identify threats. It turns out traffic jams are nightmares for everyone, no matter where you live.

Winter is definitely coming now. The nights have been colder and colder, and I wouldn’t even call it hot in the daytime anymore. Supposedly it rains a LOT in the winter, so we’ve been trying to lay out gravel as much as we can on our FOB, so it doesn’t turn into a giant mudhole when it rains. We’ve had a couple light sandstorms but still nothing like Iraq. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, just go on YouTube and search for Iraq sandstorms. It’s pretty crazy.

I found a camel spider! A small (so half the size of your hand) white one. I thought those were only in Iraq? It brought back a lot of fun memories from that place. Where's Sean Dustman when I need him to video tape all this?!
And that’s All I have to report for this week! We’ve gotten a lot of care packages in lately, so thank you to all the supporters who have sent us stuff to help us out. And a big thank you to my family as well. Lots of fun books from my mother-in-law, pillows, candy, supplies from my Aunt Connie and cousin Christina. And of course, the many many amazing and creative care packages from my wife. I will never go low on poptarts again, thank you soulmate. I have a few more trips to make before my next update. Hopefully they will be boring and uneventful.


  1. I think my wife is trying to secure my camel spider games, when we first married, she said she would leave me if I tossed a camel spider on her. I can sort of understand that (I wouldn't do it!). We're in the middle of an epic camping trip down the 395, good times!

  2. That sounds fun! Haha I'm not sure what Saija would do to me if I threw a camel spider on her, but I probably don't want to find out!

  3. I'd advise against it, we've been married for 6 years and I still wouldn't do it!