MY YEAR IN AFGHANISTAN |
March 21, 2007
MY YEAR IN AFGHANISTAN
Name: 1SG Troy Steward
Posting date: 3/21/07
Stationed in: Sharana, Afghanistan
Hometown: Amherst, NY
Milblog url: www.bouhammer.com
This is a time of reflection. Four years ago the war in Iraq began, and it has had a profound impact on many of us. I had just flown back from Hawaii, spent six hours packing my stuff at home and flew to NYC. We settled in at LaGuardia airport and worked out of there for the next 30 days supplementing security there, at JFK and on the LIRR. There were soldiers spread throughout NYC securing many other sites.
One year ago I was at Camp Shelby doing some needless training -- 95% of it had nothing to do with here or what we would be doing here. Unfortunately it has not gotten any better, according to the newest people to come over here. They are still doing the same things, and making the same mistakes.
I have been mobilized for 13 months now, and over that time a lot of stuff has happened. This is my second war, so the initial “excitement” of being shot at had its time 16 years ago. But the “time standing still” moments of trucks blowing up, bodies being shredded, or shots being fired at you still cause the adrenaline to pump and the senses to be on overdrive. Those times are still branded into my psyche and probably always will be.
There are other things I will never forget. The bonds between friends that were forged like steel, under heat and pressure. The looks on children’s faces when we handed them a simple “dollar store” stuffed animal or a five-cent piece of Tootsie Roll. The hateful stares of men and some boys as we roll through their villages or walk by their houses. The one curious eye of a woman peering around a head-wrap as she watches us. The smell of dust (yes, it has a smell). The weird weather that goes quickly from snow to sun with a 30 degree rise in temperature.
I have changed, as anyone would spending a year in combat. There are things back home that I used to consider small and insignificant that are now very important to me. I have a higher appreciation of how much our country has, my family has, and I have. There are reminders of this every time I go to a Third World country, but even more so spending a year in the third poorest country there is.
As I reflect over the last year, I know there will be even more to think about once I get back. I still have a little bit of time left here, and who knows what unforeseen events lay out there for me and my team.
I have spent a lot of hours over the last weeks editing together still pictures and videos I have shot here, adding the appropriate music by Flogging Molly. The film below is actually the third one I made, so it is called Volume III. I plan on releasing Volume I, Volume II and others later. The images are of combat operations, life on the FOB, convoys and kids, Afghanistan scenery, and other things that give a brief snapshot of life here. I hope you like what you see.