OUR INTERPRETERS |
October 13, 2006
Name: SSG Glenn Yeager
Posting date: 10/13/2006
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Sandy, Oregon
I sat down with two of our interpreters today. We sat and BS'ed for a good 30 minutes or so. They told me stories about other teams they've worked for before us, the Afghan National Army, things they've seen since they've been here, and some of the people from the other teams.
One thing really struck me at one point during the conversation. One of the terps, Javied, was talking about why we were here. He said that he understood that we were here to protect our country from terrorists, understands what we went through (which made me remember that these two guys, and a whole hell of a lot more like them, lived the nightmare that we only had a taste of), and that he also understands that we're here to help the ANA stand up and protect their own country like we do for ours. He was looking right into my eyes and was completely serious about it, too. And the other terp, Shah, nodded in agreement.
It's like I said before about the ANA, these guys are putting a lot on the line by doing what they're doing. Any one of these guys, including any of the ANA soldiers, could get killed at any time if they're on leave or walking in public without protection. All because of what they're doing, or trying to do. This whole group is not doing this for the money (because, as for us, the money is minimal compared to a lot of other jobs outside the military). Our terps and the ANA soldiers are doing this because they want their country to be like it was decades ago. And they believe in what we're doing and why we're here. They know we're here for them. This isn't the first time I've heard this, either. Different ranks of ANA soldiers have told me this before, too.
It just made me even more proud of what I'm doing and what I'm a part of. And it doubled the amount of respect I have for all of these guys I'm with. They've become my brothers. And we tell each other that each time we see each other in the morning at formation. We shake each other's hands and we hug as a gesture of friendship and respect. Another sign of respect for another person in this country is after you shake a person's hand, you place your hand over your heart. You see it everywhere. I've learned the various greetings in their language, too. As another sign of respect towards them.
I'm honored to serve with these soldiers and I'm honored to have our terps. I feel safe and secure around any one of them. And I will hate to leave them when it's time to go home. They will always be my friends...and my brothers. Because of what they are doing and what they are standing up for.