Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28 2030

Sunset at Bagram. My demob date is May 31 which will mark 16 months in theater.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21 1950

Unfinished mansion on a hill in Kabul. No sign of life here during a fly by and who knows what halted progress on this magnificent structure. Security possibly, a warlord whose stolen cash source had run dry, or, the owners assassination. All possible. A city where, in spite of NATO's best effort and all the money coalition forces can throw at it, it seems no more safe than it was two years ago. Today, NATO coalition members meet in Chicago to decide in part the fate of this conflict. Locally, that meeting was celebrated by an Islamic "Holy Warrior" martyring himself at a police checkpoint. Identified as Abdul Haq, he was successful in killing ten including two children, seven civilians, and 3 police officers. Innocent civilians deaths are an acceptable loss for militants in this conflict.
       In other Islamic militant attacks, 90 killed today in Yemen at a military parade. Al Qaeda claimed responsiblity for the suicide bombing. Fifty five dead in Damascus suicide bombings last week, a sign that al Qaeda may have infliltrated the conflict.
       In an unrelated event, the Lockerbie bomber passed away in Libya,  family members of the 270 victims do not mourn his passing.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19 0700

Perimeter wall. The sniper fencing is missing where it was burned in the Quran riots.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17 Norwegian independence day

Gratulerer med dagen. Photo courtesy of Roger Kopperstad.

May 17 0630

May 17 0615

One of many bomb shelters on camp. Located near housing and places of assembly, these provide protection from incoming. Hesco containers seen on top are collapsable wire mesh baskets with a fabric lining. Filled with sand, dirt, or rock, tens and hundreds of thousands line base perimeters, shelters and housing to provide a barriers for troop protection. Seen here placed on top of ISO containers.

May 16 2120

Flag pavilion at Camp Phoenix.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 15 1820

Once the incoming sounds off or after an actual incoming, we are required to take shelter in a hardened facility. It is important to know which facilities are hardened.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 14 2110

          Ol' glory flies everywhere you go.
 I love it!

May 12 1830

My friend Tredederia Runner and I at Camp Phoenix, Kabul. Temperatures today in the mid 70s with all quiet on the western front. Kabul security is challenging and the name is synonomous with random violence like car bombs, IEDs, and suicide bombers in crowded markets. As often as not, it is indiscriminate and random with innocent victims of all ages. It feels unmanageable and with roads often being black (unsecured and not passable), the security is left to ANA and ANP. Normal diplomatic movement is limited.
      Nine civilians were killed in a market bomb attack in the Ghormuch district today. Yesterday, a member of the High Peace Council was assassinated in Kabul. The former Taliban government official was involved in peace negotiations. He was shot in broad daylight while traveling through the capitol in his car. Two British soldiers were shot and killed in the Helmand province on Saturday. It was determined that the shooters were Afghan National Army Soldiers. Another insider shooting similar to many this year accounting for over ten percent of the lives lost by coalition forces. US Army losses can average one per day during the fighting season, a grim remimder that the war here is far from over.

May 14 1915

No way to prove it, but according to Kassman, this is an Afghan cow. Seen here in an urban setting.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12 1800

Sunrise shot of the valley north of Kabul with view facing toward Hindu Kush range. Lush green farms after a particularly cold and wet winter. Rotary flight to Kabul this morning, one of my last trips before I demob at the end of the month. The things I have seen and the friends I have made, it has been an unbelievable experience with many highs and many lows,  not much in between. One of the few landscape images I am able to post with most of my time either spent either inside the wire, armored vehicle, C130 transport, or here in a helicopter. Unlike soldiers who work out there, the majority of contractors are tightly managed and kept in a protective bubble.

May 11 0615

The week's high point, two ply. Thank you Tovar Camp.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 7 2210

Incinerators at work on the base. There are no landfills here so waste created on the base is incinerated. Two of many, these handle 150,000 plastic drinking bottles a day plus everything else you can imagine. Metals are cut up at a scrap yard sent off base to be reused. Wood scrap is recycled where possible. The burn area is thankfully situated down wind from most base activities but that is not always the case. In Kabul there is an incinerator located close enough that I developed a migrane headache that lasted until the wind changed direction (killed a few brain cells that week). Lord knows what they were burning, plastic bottles I was told. I assume the local population has little say about the placement of these subcontracted facilities.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 4 1845

View facing north at the airfield.

May 5 2100

Cain Ladner and Niko finished with a 300kVA transformer installation. This includes the primary and secondary conductors. Nice work!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 2 0600

Gathered to say goodbye to Josh Crawford (cowboy), we will miss you! LtoR
Bill, Tovar, Josh, Trey (F), Todd, Tony, author. Good friends and good times.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 1 2010

Current guard tower at perimeter. Nothing sophisticated here, several shipping containers stacked upon one another with a 360 degree elevated platform.

May 1 1950

Minefield with rusting tanker and former Soviet guard shack in background.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1 1945

Another sink hole! Excavations by foreign contractors are not compacted, these surprises after a heavy rain are not unusual.