Posted by: Dude in the Desert | February 18, 2010

18 Feb 10

so, yesterday was another mission …this time we went to a few villages to talk to the locals and see what’s going on and who doesn’t like us and what the bad guys are up to and all that… no bad guys, we didn’t get shot at or anything…we were really cautious because the route we took hasn’t been traveled by US or coalition forces in a while …the last time the Polish drove that route they got hit with an IED, and there are supposedly lots of IEDs in that area…we didn’t find any, or anyhting that looked like IED parts–maybe they aren’t there, but maybe they are really well hidden…either way we all made it back safely …heading there was a main paved road, but once we started to the villages it was all sloppy thick slippery mud… I was driving the MRAP…it’s just like driving any big truck, but this was the first time I have driven one anywhere off base…it was kinda scary going thru some of those tiny ass roads with slopes and mud everywhere …we slid sideways a few times and even in 4-wheel drive the tires were spinning and slingin mud everywhere …the first village looked liek a ghost town when we pulled up and stopped the trucks…normally that’s a bad sign…no kids, no animals, no elders–usually a sign that there is some shit about to go down…but, I guess they were all just hangin out inside…after talking to a few of them more poeple started coming out…they were all really friendly and seemed to be happy we were there …the kids loved us because we gave out candy and gum…after about an hour or so we headed out…the next village we stopped at was crazy–the ANA led the way and drove us right thru the middle of the village with these big ass trucks…it wasn’t very cool…the roads were just wide enough to fit the trucks thru–I was almost scraping my mirrors against the houses on one side and the trees on the other side…we got out to a big clearing and set up a security perimeter and everyone hopped out…these people were cool, but didn’t talk much…they seemed to be indifferent, like they didn’t care if we were there or not…nothing hostile or mean, just like were a passing herd of sheep or something…we tried to go out a different way, but the ANA led us right back thru the village…I took out one of our antannae on a was just held on by a magnet so not a big deal, but it did rip the cable out…the guys fixed it up as soon as we got back, but they said that was their last connector so don’t do it again…and on to the next village–this sounds like it’s happening fast, but we went about 5 mph between these villages and it took FOREVER…a total of about 45 miles took us 6 hours…anyhoo, the next village we didn’t even stop, we just drove thru…apparently it is full on 100% Taliban town…people were in towers and on the streets watching us with glaring eyes…it is built like a fortress, with big walls and watch towers all around…one guy asked what a building was and the terp said it was a Madrassa–a religious school for boys-not always, but normally associated with extremist Muslim teachings…we don’t really know for sure, but all reports and intel say it’s a bad place and a breeding ground for bad guys in this province…so, we just rolled thru like it wasn’t shit…I gotta say, the guys I am with now are totally different than the team I was with last deployment…not that they want trouble, but they want to find the bad guys and do what needs to be done…after this village we got out into the farm areas and took a pit stop…finally back on the highway I thought we’d step it up a notch–nope, still only going about 20 mph… it seemed like it too forever to get back to the FOB…we headed in the gate and straight to the fuel point, filled up the trucks and back to our camp…after downloading the trucks I got myself sleaned up and grabbed some grub–after that it was lights out…I always crash really hard after a mission…I slept for about 12 hours solid…woke up this morning fresh and chipper…got cleaned up for the day–with NO shaving because I can grow my beard out here…headed to breakfast–eggs, bacon, breakfast burritos, grits, OJ, and some coffee…it was great …this morning we worked on some MRAP lights and I cleaned up the shop a little–just put things away and kinda straightened up…after lunch I went to find a pistol holster over at the local vendor area…no luck..they only had a couple that would fit my weapon, but no left-handed stuff–freakin right-handed world…anyhoo, after failing to find a holster Ben and I went around to the other side of the airfield–we were on the ATVs…I went blasting thru the giant mud holes and was just playing around doing donuts in the mud and snow…Ben was kinda taking it easy–he’s still new to the ATV riding…I was flying and blasting thru puddles and mud and snow as fast as that bad boy would go…it was great …well, as we started heading back Ben was falling way behind– I chirped some brodies and spun some fishtails and headed back his way…the ATV was dying– wouldn’t run right…coughing and sputtering and choking…we messed with some fuel lines and checked out the air box, but nothing seemed wrong with it…it jsut wouls not run right…so, I pulled out the winch on the front and hooked him up to mine so I could just tow him back to the camp…as I was rolling I realized that the mud on my tires was flying straight up into his face…so I went a little faster and hit every mud hole I could find…I even went completely the wrong way just to hit a couple more…it was awesome …he had fun with it too …he was a good sport about it, but when we got back to camp he was covered in mud…it was great…so, for the afternoon we tore the ATV apart and I worked all the lines, cleaned the carb, checked everything I could think of, and I had Ben pull the spark plugs–one came out pretty easy and it was fouled out, but not too bad, the other one was a super pain in the ass…so, we decided to save that one for tomorrow…it’ll give us something to do…it’s our scheduled down day, but we’ll go out and mess around with it for a little while anyway–not like there is much to do on a day off around here…well, that’s about it for now to you all soon… love you and miss you all


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