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.

100 DAYS |

December 10, 2007

100 DAYS
Name: SPC Beaird
Posting date: 12/10/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url: allexpensespaidafghanvacation

100 days until I am home.

100 days until I can have a tasty, cold beer.

100 days until I can see the face of a woman and not think it is a rare sight.

100 days until I don't have to bring a gun and wear body armor and a helmet each time I go "out".

100 days until I can travel down a road without wondering if a culvert, pothole, parked car, or pile of rocks is going to explode as I pass by.

100 days until I don't have to analyze people and cars up and down, looking for weapons or signs they may be a threat or a suicide bomber.

100 days until I will no longer be woken up in the middle of the night because someone is attacking the place I call home, or we're being spun up for a QRF mission at any hour.

100 days until I see my family and friends again.

100 days until I am home.

Framed_beaird_mtns_2I am glad to say we are now under the 100-days-remaining milestone for being in country. It’s hard to imagine I have been here for eight and a half months, and that it’s been 11 months since I left home to start our mobilization training at Fort Bragg. We’ve gotten word about our replacements coming and I can say I should be home in Arizona by the end of March -- maybe the first week of April at the latest (nothing is ever set in stone in the Army). We have also heard that with the new National Guard and Reservist deployments that the total deployable time will be reduced from the standard 15 months to 12 months max, including mobilization time -- meaning they’ll probably only be in country for 10 months. Lucky bastards.

Many higher ups will say soldiers on deployments become complacent or start to let their guard down once hitting the 100 day mark. Maybe this is true somewhat, but I assure you that I and my platoon and PRT* are just as vigilant when we go outside the wire as when we first arrived. I think what changes after being here so long in this environment is that much of the “shock” value for certain things that we experience or hear about from intel briefings has worn down to a certain extent. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I just have to make it through a cold Afghan winter.

We had our first rain in over two months, which left a good sight on the surrounding mountains: snow. A sign we’re that much closer to leaving. When we first arrived in April there was still snow on the caps of the mountains, and with the recent drop in temperatures I imagine the snowfall from a couple days ago will be there until next spring.

Here is a video slideshow I put together from pictures of our first three months in country.

* PRT: Physical Reconstruction Team, a mix of Army and Air Force whose mission is rebuilding infrastructure (water, dams, roads, electricity), local government, health facilities, and schools. My infantry platoon makes up the security forces side for the PRT, accompanying civil affairs teams on various missions, among other duties while in theater.

 

 

Comments

SPc. Beaird - Being short is a great thing. The day will come when you begin to count hours too and then maybe minutes. "X and a wakeup" is the mantra. There is a tendency to become more risk averse as X approaches zero. Can't offer any advice there. Stay safe . . . Get home alive.

Great pictures. Notable for the vast country, beautiful mountains, and lack of green anything. What do those animals graze on? Looks like very harsh living conditions. 100 days is either a short time or a very long time, depending on the circumstances. We hope you make it in one piece. Take care.

Short timer! Keep your head down. Get a short-timer's calendar and fill out the days. Those 100 days will seemingly never end.

Know this brave soldier, it is only by the sacrifice of 1000's like you that make it possible for all the things you look forward to. We enjoy them while you all pay the price. I will never take your effort and sacrifice for granted. Keep low and stay safe. God Bless!

Thank you for showing us a side we never see in the evening news.
Good luck and godspeed.

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