The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


October 18, 2006

Name: SSG Glenn Yeager
Posting date: 10/18/06
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Sandy, Oregon

It sucks that the Afghan National Army is being targeted only because they're standing up for their country and what they believe is right, and we're being targeted only because we're here trying to help the ANA stand up for their country and what they think is right. What does the enemy want?  Well, they want to be free to roam the country and do what they do best: terrorize. As far as the civilians in this country, some support us and try to help us out by giving us intelligence on what's going on. Others either turn a blind eye to what the enemy is doing, or they're too scared to do anything but help the enemy, whether they support them or not.

It's a hard place to be, Afghanistan. It's not like wars we've fought in the past, wars when you knew who the enemy was, where they were, and knew how to hit them. Now, you can't tell who's who, where they're hiding -- or when you do know where they're hiding, it's a place we're not allowed to hit. It's frustrating to all of us.

Some people back home either don't support us being here or maybe just don't understand. Others do support us no matter what the reason. That's what we have to rely on to keep us going, knowing that there are people back home that are behind us, each in their own special way -- whether they send words of comfort and support, wave the American Flag proudly, send care packages, or just keep us in their thoughts and prayers. We as soldiers appreciate those people. And, as far as the other people, the ones who see it their own way and the way they want to...well, we're still proud to wear the uniform for them, too.

Generations before us have come together in times of war and hostility. Those were times when the entire nation stood behind their military. We were a different nation back then. Here's something to think about as I close this: What would they think of how this country is now? One thing is for sure, they would still support the troops. Because none of us would be here today if it wasn't for our military men and women, who are over here just doing their job. A job they volunteered for. It's not something that deserves disrespect or a cold shoulder.

When you hear of a soldier dying, either here or in Iraq (or anywhere for that matter), bow your head and think of the families of that soldier. And then remember them always. Remember the soldiers, both home and abroad, no matter what they're doing. Never forget them.


Not wanting you there isn't the same as not thinking of you and hoping you stay safe and return to your families and friends.

I've heard this exact story before; not knowing who the enenmy was, where they are or if you could fight back. It was Viet Nam.

I truly do not want you to be in harms way; the best way to express that in my opinion is to insist the Afghans and Iraqi's stand up and do their own fighting.

Just like children, if you don't set a definite date to stand on their own 2 feet, they will drag it out as long as possible.

If they are serious about freedom, as everyone says their voting showed; then let them prove it and allow us to bring you all home.

Please, you are doing us all proud; don't ever doubt that. Just because we have a different opinion about this situation doesn't mean we don't care about YOU!

Thank you for your courage and sacrifice to protect my freedom! I pray for your safety and the safety of all the soldiers. There are people back here in Oregon that try to show support everyday. It may be hard to come by here in PDX, but it is out there. You are truly just doing your job, and are not paid to have an opinion, and you have our respect for it. The soldiers are doing great things to improve the lives you all touch everyday, and I hope you remember to take pride in that.

Please stay safe and alert and if you see Sgt. Johnson, tell him his wife and boys send their love. Our love extends to you as well...take care!

Hang in there brother. I spent 9 months in Vietnam as an 11B40 or in civilianese infantry. I identify with all your thoughts , doubts, fears, and hopes. Keep doing the right thing and looking after your brothers in arms and everything else will fall into place. War sucks but it is a necessary evil. If I weren't 58 years old I would saddle up for another tour because I realize how important your mission is and what crummy conditions you must endure. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys. Eyes and ears with a low profile will get you home safe. Sandy, Oregon is a beautiful stretch of country that will welcome you home with open arms. Take care

I am against this war and I know many others who feel the same way. But! Not one of us is less than !TOTALLY! supportive of all the servicemen and women who are putting themselves in harms way for our country.

"What does the enemy want? Well, they want to be free to roam the country and do what they do best: terrorize. "

um, it seems to me that what they really want to do is to fight the influence of evil in Afghanistan, as they see it. you are.

Do you really think that the Taliban want to roam Afghanistan and kill and blow up people?

Do *you* want to do that?

Well, if you both have the same desires (just different target groups) then you'd better consider that the only difference between you, on that score, is that you think that the Taliban are evil and the Taliban thinks that you and the other Westerners in their country are evil.

as far as the latter half of your post goes, that self-serving attitude is exactly why so many people in this country disrespect the military and the Administrationthat has them over in Iraq and even in Afghanistan...for any other reason than to find bin Laden.

I'm sorry to inform you of this, but nobody, not even the President or US military forces deserves respect simply because of who they are.

You should be quite aware of the inevitable results of such a philosophy. When you think that, no matter what, you should be supported because you're a soldier, then you've achieved that state of mind that Americans are so reviled for having, overseas. Eveyone has to pay for their mistakes. No matter how much they delude themselves that they are not making a mistake.

SSG Yeager,

THANK YOU a million times for VOLUNTEERING to protect all of us - even those like touristguy who must be getting all of his information from the media and not from any of you who are and have been actually THERE.

As a supporter of our military around the world I hear from them every day. It truly mystifies me the difference between what you all "report" and what the media "reports." TRULY.

I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again - while you all are doing your jobs in it is our duty and responsibility to do ours by giving you 100000% support on all levels with no questions asked.

Please know that so many of us here are forever grateful to you and your families for allowing us to sleep well at night - for giving us the security of our freedoms - for guaranteeing our future. Nothing we do here is thanks or support enough.

Each day I take time to think of all of you, pray for your safety and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

There is no one, not even the Administration's most vocal critics, who doubt the need for the military presence in Afghanistan. Just as there is no one, left or right, who doesn't support the soldiers--what we don't support is a political leadership that never completed its task in Afghanistan before flinging troops into an ill planned and unnecessary war in Iraq. What we hope for, all of us, is your safe return. What we want, most especially in Iraq, is for our troops to be extricated from Mr. Bush's folly. We want our soldiers honored for their service, and taken out of harm's way.
Afghanistan is deteriorating precisely because we took up another task before securing the peace and polpulace. Whatever you may be told about the level of debate back home, keep in mind that all Americans suppoort you; the debate is about the mission and means.
Be safe. Come home to honor and peace.

SSG Yeager,

Thank you for putting your life on the line so that gentlemen like touristguy can have the freedom to voice their opinion without any fear of reprisal, imprisionment or death.
Being a soldier takes a special kind of person. And were it not for those such as yourself we could not enjoy the freedoms or liberty that we take for granted everyday.
As for mistakes, apparently the gentleman has not the understanding of the Articles of the Constitution that he has for the Bill of Rights. And that is a shame.
Stay safe and be smart.

I always admire anyone who makes sacrifices to do what they feel is the right thing, even if I disagree with them about what the right thing is. When those sacrifices include putting themselves in harm's way, my admiration is tremendous. But just because I admire soldiers so much and think so highly of their courage and dedication, I don't want to see it placed in the service of any but the highest cause. So when it seems to me that the cause they're being asked to fight and kill and die for may not be right, I speak up. But it's not because I don't value the soldiers – it's because I do, with all my heart.

You and I may disagree, but I respect you and support you and want more than anything for you and your comrades to come home safely to your families and the people who love you. If and when I protest the actions or decisions of my government, I am saying that I believe that what they're asking of you isn't worth risking your lives for, and because I value those lives, I don't want them risked for something I believe is wrong or misguided.

I know that your mission – to protect the Afghani people and secure their ability to govern themselves – is honorable and good. I just don't believe the way it has been and is being carried out is going to secure the goals that you and I share for the Afghani people. But that does nothing to tarnish my respect and admiration for you.

Thank you for the job that you do. As an American I appreciate the fact that you put yourself in harms way to defend my freedoms. Don't second guess what people back home are thinking. I want you to have the best gear, the best food and water and the best direction from command that will eventually bring you home safely and as quickly as possible. Those are my concerns. I stand with you and your fellow soldiers and will work from this end to try and see that our country provides you and others the services needed to get the job done. But, if you see me on the street with a peace symbol on my shirt and a peace flag in my hand know that it is in your honor. It is because I care about you that I will work to bring you safely home once again. Peace on earth to you and yours.

Words cannot convey debt of gratitude that I and every real American knows we owe you. Thank you. We are with you. We have no way of understanding the trauma, horror, sacrifice, and pain that you endure. We know these things as concepts, but you live them daily. We admire your strength, bravery, kindness and compassion. We owe you a debt that can simply never be repaid. We pray for you and are with you every day and night. God bless all of you and your families. Stay strong.

Thanks for the insight staff sergeant, words of wisdom. There are many of us who, although we may disagree with policy, support our troops always. I found your last paragraph touching and made me think how my Sunday morning routine of coffee and the paper now includes reading the obit section, reading each paragraph of each soldier killed and looking at their picture when there is one. I think they deserve that.

thanks SSG. you are from my home town!

my family serves also. people who say they support the military but not the mission may want to reconsider.

for the last 5 years, those joining have joined knowing they would go to war. for the last 3.5 years, they have joined knowing the fight might well be in iraq.

if they are joining to fight that fight do you still support them? lets at least be intellectually honest!

iraq and afghanistan are fronts in a war that has been going on for the last 30 years. we are late to the party. the enemy has told us their intentions. maybe it's time to listen?

we swear to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. i consider that a high calling. the only question i have is: are the people that the constitution protects, worth dying for? it a question yet to be answered in my mind.

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