The First Few Days...
So, the part of Afghanistan I am in appears to be quite beautiful (as much as I can see over the 20 foot walls topped with a triple strand of concertina wire). The problem is that I was unable to discern this due to the constant rain for the first three days on the ground. The first day in the transient barracks was ok. The hundred or so of us had this giant two story warehouse style building to ourselves. But on the second day, we started our training – the day started with a formation and a little march to the training site. The thing is that the guy marching us got lost and we walked for 20 minutes. The training site was literally right across the street from our barracks building...
...Anyways, there was a tiny break in the weather and I was able to see the mountains for the first time. It reminded me of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon; less trees of course, but otherwise very homey. The area I am in is ringed by mountains on three sides, so almost everywhere I look there are snow capped mountains. The glimpse didn’t last long though and the rain started falling again.
I , of course immediately looked up photos of Bagram on the internet and found this beauty. It does look quite majestic. and beautiful. Its hard to marry the idea that this is a war zone with the beautiful surroundings...
This is the airfield as seen from the air traffic controller catwalk.
On Saluting...(posted on his facebook page too!)
There is a main strip called Disney Drive and it is really the only North/South traverse of the base. The traffic (foot and vehicular) is terrible. What's worse is the lack of any traffic regulation to help pedestrians get across the street or for vehicles to enter the flow of traffic. The worst is the fact that this is a SALUTING post, so matter where I go, I am saluting. I am saluting my subordinates and my superiors. I have been working on some funny salutes in order to break up the monotony. It would be easier to just show photos, but I can try to illustrate the best I can.\
Pirate - where I cover my right eye as if I had an eye patch
Diving Board - my arm swings out and down to my brim and then quivers for a few seconds (helps to say boioiiiing)
Shark - my hand is vertical
Benny Hill - an exagerated British salute (mouth open and tongue out like a simpleton really makes this one work)
Cub Scout - salute with two fingers
Karate Chop - really fast up, really fast down
Arlington - opposite of the karate chop, really slow up, really slow down