A Year in Review

Well I’m out of Middle Earth and almost back to reality. Just thinking about all the episodes of Jersey Shore I missed really puts the past year in to perspective for me. There are so many unanswered questions: is J-Wow pregnant? are the rumors that Snooki has a third nipple true? has The Situation found his true love and settled down yet?

What am I talking about, I hate the Jersey Shore. I think reality for me will be a double of Basil Hayden’s with the old lady. Looking back now, everything we went through; getting there in the dead of winter, going through that epic fighting season, all the people I met and served with, those awesome sunsets and the stars that seemed to stretch forever, all the nonsense we had to deal with, all the laughs – it was all quite an experience. I don’t think I’m far enough removed from it yet to really comprehend all the stuff we did or if we even made a difference but I truly hope we did. Our moods certainly shifted there at the end. I remember talking to the guy who I replaced and all he kept saying was how much he hated it there and how there was no hope and blah blah blah and I was thinking to myself, “there’s no way I share the same feelings as this dude” but then at the end there I found myself often saying the same things to myself. Maybe I just didn’t realize how long a year really was or didn’t see enough tangible change in our Area of Operations but it was hard not to ask myself, “all for what?”. In the end, all that matters is that we’re all going home safely. Some had to go home early but no one went home in a body bag and I’m very grateful for that. I can’t say it was an easy year but I can say it was an eventful year, a year of camaraderie, of some loss and lots of laughs, of sometimes doing a whole lot of nothing and lots of times of doing way more than we could handle but always getting through it. It was a year in which every dude went above and beyond in some of the most treacherous terrain under some of the most ridiculous conditions with an unrelenting enemy, ever. For that I am extremely proud and forever grateful to have worked with such awesome guys. See you soon real world.

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Almost Home……..

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Merry Christmas everybody! Afghanistan still sucks but today was a good day. Thank you all for the support this past year, I couldn’t have done it without you. A special thank you to all the guys I serve with, I’ve never met better men and I most definitely could not have done it without you guys. We kicked some serious ass this year and I can’t wait to get home. Rakkasan

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I recently finished Catch 22. I tried to read it before I deployed but couldn’t get in to it. Having experienced the military and all it’s amazing bureaucratic logic and reason however helped me not only finish it with zeal but thoroughly identify with the story. I do not think there is a more accurate portrayal of the military out there and if you want to know how life really is. Home soon, can’t wait!

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas….

Hello, hello.

Things are great in SWA. I’m having a blast. Sorry I haven’t been too regular, I get pretty swamped at work in between Call of Duty: Black Ops and Medal of Honor so it’s hard to get away and write about the nada going on here. It does seem to be getting colder but if you stopped by in the middle of the day you would have no idea. I think the high was around 60 today without a cloud in the sky. I’ll always say this place is just like Colorado, except they already go snow and I haven’t seen any on this side yet. It’s out there but we are in a valley that keeps most of the weather out. It’s weird, it’s like each valley has it’s own weather system. I’m surprised with how much stuff (as in the “war”) is still going on. I would have thought we would have seen a big decrease in “stuff” going on but maybe it just isn’t cold enough yet. Maybe a couple more weeks and things will start cooling off.

I now have a stand-alone closet/dresser in my room. It’s nice to be able to hang up at least a couple uniforms and have a place for stuff instead of living out of a rucksack.

Thanksgiving was uneventful. There was a big hoopla for lunch and dinner with turkey and prime rib and ham and it was pretty good. They even had some inflatable turkeys out front – where they came from I have no idea…taxpayers dollars well spent.

I actually do have one bit of exciting news. I was doing squats the other day I thought I pulled something. Later that day I had the weirdest feeling right under my belly button and wouldn’t you know it, I had a hernia!!! It’s pure awesome.

Alright, that’s all I have for now, I’ll try to put some pictures of me doing extreme things soon. I wish I was still in Thailand! Later alligators….

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Yo Yo Real World. Things are splendid in Rocket City. I’m pretty much settled in to the new job and life is pretty good. It’s nice to be on the back side of a year in paradise and I can’t wait to get home. Hopefully these next couple months will pass by without any difficulties. My hours increased drastically once I took the new position and I’m not sure how much I love it. I usually go in around 0830 and don’t leave until around 2100 or so, not ideal working conditions but it’ll make getting out and having a real job that much easier. I look forward to being in an interview and having the interviewer ask me if I can handle stress and how so. I’m trying to think of what I’ll say, “you mean like that one time I was driving down the road and my whole world exploded?” Anyway, the job search is going so-so. I am getting involved with a junior military officer recruiting firm and they have shown results for others so hopefully it will work out. The only hard thing will be trying to find something that is in Denver, which of course is my goal and number one on the dream sheet. Hopefully they can help me out with that. The weather here is perfect right now; still bright blue sunny days but it’s gotten significantly colder. It’s awesome during the day but a little on the chilly side at night and in the mornings. I think I ate the best meal yet here the other night. They served pork tacos with tomatillo salsa off the grill and they were stellar – I ate three. They did Surf n Turf 3 nights in a row here this week, one for the USMC birthday, one for Veteran’s Day and one for Friday so that was pretty awesome. Speaking of Veteran’s Day, thank you to all you guys who served before me and continue to serve and a special thank you to those who mentored me and made me what I am today as well as those I continue to serve with. In final news, I just ordered COD: Black Ops, hopefully it won’t have an adverse effect on my part in the war. I’m outtie 500, smell you later.

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Hello all. Everything is awesome here. I’m back in the swing of things since the trip and trying to finish up these last couple months strong. I’m really glad I took my R & R at the end of the deployment, it seems like there is hardly any time left and I really can’t believe we’ve been here for 9 months already. When I look back now, a year is a really, really long time. It’s nice to know that the majority of it is over.

Anyway, things are going well here. The weather has cooled down a lot, usually in the 60’s during the day and then high 40s-50s at night and in the morning. It’s still sunshine all the time so that is awesome. It’s actually perfect weather especially for people like me who break a sweat walking down the block. It rained the other night and it reminded me of the first couple days I had in Thailand, absolutely torrential, it was ridiculous. So ridiculous in fact that we had the windows rolled down in the van and the day after it wouldn’t shut off after, even after we would take the keys out of the ignition. Fortunately, it seems that things are starting to slow down, though the indirect fire coming in never stops, all the other stuff seems to be getting better, which is good for us because A) It means less people are getting hurt and B) we can focus on getting all of our stuff packed up and ready to go home without a bunch of dudes messing our plans up.

Anyway, it’s good to be back. As awesome as it was to be in Thailand and the paradise it was, it was difficult to be away from team. I sorely miss everyone at home but I try my hardest to stay as busy as possible so I can blow through each day as quickly as possible. Well that’s all for now. Take it easy.

P.S. I am also glad Wheezy made it out finally…

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Back in shit-central, wish I was still in Thailand. Surprisingly, the toilets here are much nicer than many of the ones there…..

More to follow later.

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Sand is not all the same

What an amazing trip. As nice as it was to get away from the fourth world (Let me educate all of you; a fourth-world country is one lacking a legitimate government such as Afghanistan or Somalia, etc…, etc… ) and all it’s awesomeness, the best part was spending it with the three people that mean the most to me in the world; my parents and my lady. Yes, there are others of you out there that are pretty cool but no one can touch this trio of excellence.

It was honestly harder to say good bye (both times – first the parents and then the lady) this time than it was back in January when all three came out and visited me at Fabulous Ft. Campbell the weekend before I left.

To say goodbye to someone knowing you won’t see them for the next eight months is a very, very hard thing to do. To do it again knowing you still have three months left is no easier. Actually, that’s not true. Three months is nothing and I can’t wait to get back home and get settled in Denver. It’s funny that it seems people actually started caring about me getting out once we moved to Sal and closer to the flagpole. All of a sudden people are trying to convince me to stay in and that I’m making a horrible mistake and blah blah blah.

Anyway, about the trip: it was one of the best vacations I have ever been on. The weather was very comparable to Hawaii though the first couple days it rained (I should say poured) all day since I came at the end of October which is still rainy season. We used the rain days to relax and get massages as well as taking a Thai cooking class, which was really cool. By day three the clouds broke and revealed the stuff that makes Thailand famous; crystal blue water, jungle covered islands, long white sand beaches. We did some outdoor stuff like elephant trekking (very fun trip), a long tail boat trip to James Bond Island (island from Man with the Golden Gun), a tour of Wat Chalong – a famous Buddhist temple, went to Patong Beach a couple of days and got wily and swam in the ocean, and of course ended every night with dinner on the beach. The food here is awesome and this place really is the Land of Smiles, we never had any problem getting around and everything is ridiculously cheap. We also made good with one of the local taxi drivers and would call him whenever we needed to go anywhere. The best part, aside from his ridiculously low rates, was that whenever we went somewhere he would wait for us there, regardless of how long it took or how late it was. The hotel was amazing as well. They have a huge pool, which our room had direct access to. Since it’s low seasons (May-October), it seemed like there were only about 20 other people here, it was very pleasant.

So now I get to go back and play Army again. I’m definitely thrilled. These last couple months should be interesting. It was nice to take my R & R so late as it allowed me to experience all that stuff we saw during our initial months and then through fighting season so I could digest it all and then come here and reflect on it. I have seen some people do some really incredible stuff out there. Stuff that makes me proud to be on their team. I still miss going on the road and leading my guys (they’ll always be my guys) but I know they’re doing great things and I’m proud of everyone that I get to serve with. Hopefully things have cooled down by the time I get back and we can focus on getting everything ready to back to the rear while we’re still kicking ass.

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Thailand is five million times better than Afghanistan…..

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