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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.

THE GREAT WALL |

August 28, 2007


THE GREAT WALL

Name: CAPT Doug Traversa
Posting date: 8/27/07
Returned from: Kabul, Afghanistan
Hometown: Tullahoma, TN
Milblog url: traversa.typepad.com
Email
: traversa@gimail.af.mil

Although I never wrote about him on The Sandbox, anyone who read my blog Afghanistan Without a Clue will remember my friend 1st Lt Dany Barcan, Romanian Army. Dany and I played soccer together many times, as well as poker on Saturday nights. He even posted on my blog occasionally. But one of Dany’s biggest contributions to life at Camp Phoenix in Kabul was The Great Wall.

He and his unit created a most impressive monument to the troops who served at Camp Phoenix. In this photo you see the courtyard of the Romanian section of camp -- painted conexes with huge US and Romanian flags -- and in the center you can see the Great Wall itself.

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Dany was a wheeler-dealer, a friend to everyone, the sort of guy who had never met a stranger. He spent his last month at Phoenix trading his gear to Americans for U.S. items. My hutmate ended up with a bust of Vlad the Impaler (the real Dracula). I ended up giving him my Air Force running suit in exchange for a Romanian uniform and field jacket. I also have a huge Romanian flag that I haven’t found a good place for yet. But I digress. 

Dany decided to start asking everyone he met if they would donate a patch to the memorial he was creating, and within two weeks he had all the patches you see below. 

You can play “Where’s Waldo” if you wish. See if you can identify patches from Italy, Greece, France, Mongolia, Romania, KBR (our contractor), Great Britain, Georgia, and even Gen Pritt, the Camp Phoenix Commander. Most importantly, you can see the names of many men and women from many countries who risked their lives to help rebuild Afghanistan. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to return to a peaceful Afghanistan and see the Great Wall still standing. If not, sharing these photos is my part in preserving its memory.

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Dany and I pose after I had added my name to the wall.

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Comments

May this wall stand forever in honor of friendship and peace!

Thank you!!!

May this wall stand forever in honor of friendship and peace!

Thank you!!!

The wall is definitely a great display of unity and friendship between the men and women fighting in Afghanistan. Thanks for sharing these pictures.

The wall is definitely a great display of unity and friendship between the men and women fighting in Afghanistan. Thanks for sharing these pictures.

That is a great display of cooperation for a peaceful Afghanistan. I hope you do get to return and see the Great Wall again!

That is a great representation of people coming together towards peace. Thanks for sharing it.

That is a great representation of people coming together towards peace. Thanks for sharing it.

That is a great representation of people coming together towards peace. Thanks for sharing it.

That is a great representation of people coming together towards peace. Thanks for sharing it.

It is comforting to see that in this war where incessant conflict plagues the horizon, a monument like this stands as a sign and hope of a future where there is peace between nations. Thanks for posting this! You have our support from back home!

I think that's great what your friend did!! Such Comraderie is essential to keeping high spirits.

This is such a great idea! I'm glad you shared this story. This wall stands for what you are fighting for. Thank you and God bless.

That is amazing! Great idea to stand for unity, hope, and much much more. May the Great Wall stand forever! Thank you!

Thank you for posting such a great example of peace. The pictures speak volumes

CAPT Doug Traversa -- My college English class assignment was to read this military blog and respond to posts that I felt I needed to. I have to say that I really loved yours. First, because it includes photos... and I believe that pictures capture and preserve moments in time and can help readers vicariously experience some of your memories. Second, your post reinforces the human aspect of war... it reminds us that connections and friendships can extend in many directions, even in spite of the conflict that created them. I loved your smile in the second photo... you must be an amazing person. Thank you for sharing good things and positive vibes with us and with the people that you are in touch with every day... it is priceless. Regards from an Indiana housewife, newly married to an Army MP veteran, Mary

This was a great idea. You have personalized what we see every day on television and I will think of you often. Thank you for your service.

I have many friends and family member who are overseas in different part of the world serving our country just as you are. I think that it is great that you are posting pictures for the world to see what you are seeing daily. You are all thought about by all of us in the states each and everyday. I want to thank you for serving and giving your time for the rest of us!

It is really a heart warming site to see something such as this.

I will never hear about Dracula in future without thinking about this Great Wall in Kabul courtesy of your Romanian friend Dany. This is a great story of friendships made that are never forgotten - a different kind of war story.

Thank-you for sharing it. God bless.

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