Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tales from Afghanistan, Chapter 7: Blogging in the rain

Nate's blog: Nov 08
Hullo all! It’s been longer than I wanted since my last entry, but there has been so much going on, I haven’t been able to sit down long enough to update. As I write this, we are in “River City”, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to upload this. I hope everyone back home had a great Halloween (or Samhain for those old-fashioned folks). We got a few Halloween items, and my mother-in-law sent me a box full of fun decorations and candy. No one dressed up, but there was plenty of candy corn to go around!

The weather here has been crazy lately. Winter is definitely coming. It’s gotten colder and colder, and the rain has been getting heavier and coming more frequently. A few days ago we had our first big sandstorm. Nothing like the biblical sandstorms we would get in Iraq (all you Iraq vets know EXACTLY what I’m talking about), but still pretty freaky. For anyone who hasn’t seen the big sandstorms, just go on YouTube and search for Iraq sandstorms. It will amaze you.

The weather’s not the only thing that has been crazy; the bad guys have been going wild too. Recently I was on a mission away from the FOB for a few days, and everything went nuts. IED strikes (a LOT of them), 2 hour firefights, ambushes, snipers, the bad guys were ready to party! We’ve been in River City for a while now, lots of “drama” still going on. The good news is Marines are a lot better at kicking ass than these terrorists are.

While I was out, I ran into my buddy AZ, the interpreter who inspired this whole thing. He has been busy helping out with the patrols, and translating for our guys in the city. He tells me that whenever he can, he goes to his FOB’s “morale” room and Skype’s with his family over the computer. Apparently his little boy doesn’t like to share, and will snatch up the family’s laptop, run off into another room, and talk to him about what cartoon he is watching. “Trying to talk to the rest of my family is tough”, he tells me as he laughs. He misses them, as we all miss our family. He was going to be staying past when we left, but has decided that he wants to stick with us, and will go home when we do. That will be nice to have him on that long flight home with us, to laugh and tell stories and get wasted in Ireland/Germany.

There will be at least one Marine who will be voluntarily staying here when we leave. As I was chatting with one of our guys, he told me how he was going to stay here when our replacements come, and work through their deployment. That’s a full 14+ months out here in Afghanistan! I told him that’s a lot of money he’ll be saving up, and it’s a good thing he is single (I assumed because he wasn’t wearing a ring, although most married Marines wear them on their dog tags out here), otherwise that might be rough. To which he told me he was married, but she knew it was important to him! Craziness, that’s what that is. There aren’t very many scenarios I could think of where (as a married Marine) I would volunteer to stay behind. Speaking of which, tonight I will be making some calls, it seems like a door that was shut may now be open: Embassy Guard Duty! My fingers are crossed that this may be an option for after our time in 29 Palms is up.

Well that’s all I have to add for now, its time for me to attempt to fix ANOTHER hole in my uniform. I hate our restrictions on what we can say, there is so much more I want to talk about, but that’s the way it goes. In a few days I will be going on another “adventure”, hopefully it will be much less exciting than this one. Oh and for all you Marines out there, happy birthday!


  1. Keep your adventures tame if you can, good luck with the Embassy Guard but be careful, some of those places don't let you take lions with you. 14 months is some crazy good money but I'm glad I didn't have to do it. Stay safe and happy birthday.

  2. Hey Nate, Happy Veterans Day to You and ALL your buddies over there! Keep your heads down and your spirits high. Embassy guard? Would that not be like crappy duty man? I mean like can you leave the compound ever? If it keeps you safe then I’m all for it man! Stay safe and keep the goggles on.
    Rick C

  3. Sean, I'll have to find out more about that. I think Hiisi will be ok, I just have to say he's a regular cat..
    Rick, No Embassy Guard is not like duty haha, at least not for me. I'd be in charge of all the Marines at the Embassy. Very prestigious, good for promotion, can travel in my off time, and fun being in 2 foreign countries!

  4. Embassy Guard and in charge of all the Marines?! Sounds like a good deal, haha. Hope you get to do that!