A DAY IN THE LIFE |
November 17, 2008
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Name: Vampire 06
Posting date: 11/17/08
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Folsom, CA
Milblog: Afghanistan Shrugged
Our first patrol here in Bermel was quite exciting, a short jaunt down to the Paki border to check on the outposts there. These outposts routinely exchange fire with Pakistani Military (Pak Mil), so who knows what could go on. A little insight as to why the two countries shoot at each other might be valuable here: One of the Pak Mil outposts is actually 500m inside of Afghanistan, thus the Afghans aren't happy. Now it's pretty clear from the map that they, the Afghans, are correct. So this is the setting we're rolling into.
As we prep to depart the FOB an interesting piece of info passes our way. Someone outside the FOB can see us, and knows we're prepping to move with the ANA. Additionally, he's reporting to his martyr-hopeful buddy where to emplace an IED in order to to hit us. This doesn't make us happy, in point of fact it's a tad bit of a bummer. We quickly huddle and decide that we should change the route. Seems like a prudent decision!
We start to move. We're still getting reports that they're trying to get ahead of us and emplace an IED on the route. We're trying to get recon in front of us and get some close air support (CAS) to screen us. The tension level is building now. Imagine you drank 10 espressos one morning prior to leaving for work and then drove in rush hour traffic. This might approximate the feelings we're having right now.
CAS finally appears on station and we start trying to talk them onto our position, which, due to the fact that we're convoying, is changing constantly. Plus everything in Afghanistan looks the same -- i.e. "I'm by the brown mud building" just doesn't work. It's like saying, "I'm next to the Starbucks" in Seattle.
The CAS is a flight of two F-15Es. Oh, and meanwhile back at the ranch we're now about 800m from the reported position of the IED. Tension is much higher now, at about the 20 espresso level.
The pilot, a female (this is significant in that Afghan culture doesn't value women the least little bit, so if they knew a woman was about to bring the smackdown on them it might offend their sensitive cultural morays), calls tally on our position. This means she can see us. We're now about 300m from the IED. I'm trying to get her and her wingman down to conduct a show of force mission. Show of force is the jets flying very low, very fast and very loud to announce to the Taliban that we will pound them into oblivion if they do something. We're now 200m from the IED.
At about 150m the driver turns to me and says, "Dude, where's the F-15?" Which now makes me laugh at a totally inappropriate time. Because this is funny! Ashton Kutcher couldn't have done any better. We could be blown up soon, but this is really funny. I reply, "Dude, it's inbound 30 seconds out with good tally," Meaning they are 30 seconds away and can see us. Now it's even funnier.
BOOM! It's not the IED: The F-15 screams overhead. If this is designed to confuse us, it does, and we all check to see if anyone is now BBQd. The pilot calls overhead, a little late, and we drive on to the order. Anticlimactic, yes, disappointing, NO!
A day in the life of an ETT; scared to death, laughing like crazy and relieved, all in the same moment.