WELCOME TO AFGHANISTAN: SEND MORE AMMO |
September 25, 2009
Name: SANDBOX DUTY OFFICER David Stanford
Posting date: 9/25/09
Afghanistan, and he has continued to write for the site since he returned home. We are pleased to help spread the word that he has just published a book, WELCOME TO AFGHANISTAN SEND MORE AMMO: The Tragicomic Art of Making War as an Embedded Trainer in the Afghan National Army.
While he was deployed, Tupper's audio-posts were often featured on National Public Radio, and "Morning Edition" recently interviewed him about the book. You can listen to the program here.
"A penetrating look at life deep inside Afghanistan and way outside the wire.Tupper's timing is right, and readers will appreciate the context he provides for the news stories we will be reading soon."-- G.B. Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury and The Sandbox
"Captain Benjamin Tupper has produced a series of compelling commentaries for 'Morning Edition,' raw, direct and powerful reports on what it's like to serve along the Pakistani border. This work is vitally important to our 31 million listeners nationwide."
-- Ken Stern, former CEO of National Public Radio
"A keen and sympathetic observer, and a fine writer. His vignettes describing combat and the people involved in it are insightful and poignant, offering vivid and moving pictures of the realities of war."
-- former Ambassador Goodwin Cooke, Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University
ETTs: The Tip Of The Counterinsurgency Spearsoldiers fighting their way through Germany, Korea,or Vietnam. The essays you are about to read reveal another side of the American soldier's experience at war: Individual soldiers removed from the comfort and familiarity of their Army units and placed into the ramshackle, newly formed Afghan National Army.
An average ETT team is sixteen American soldiers, embedded into an Afghan Battalion of about five hundred soldiers. These ETTs are separated into teams of two, each team assigned to its own individual Afghan National Army Company of about one hundred Afghan soldiers. They are embedded into these foreign ranks with little knowledge of Afghanistan's language, history, or culture, and they are forced, often in the heat of battle, to abandon the American doctrine of warfare and embrace creativity, patience, and primitive war-fighting techniques.
These American soldiers are the ETTs, the Embedded Training Teams, and these essays are my personal stories as a member of this force in Afghanistan. ETTs are Marines, Army, and most often Army National Guard officers and NCOs assigned to the fledgling Afghan National Army (ANA), where they are tasked with the daunting mission of training it in garrison, leading it in combat, and mentoring it to a final victory against a thriving and brutal Taliban insurgency.ANA and the ETTS, forming the literal "tip of the spear" in the counterinsurgency fight. They chronicle the personal experiences of two ETTs: myself, Captain Benjamin Tupper (Infantry) and my partner, Corporal Radek Polanski, also an infantryman. The stories vary in their scope, from personal war stories of our successes and failures in combat, to observations of day-to-day life inside the Afghan Army; the humorous moments, the culture clashes, the voice-raising arguments, and the differing role that religion, women, and politics play in the lives of Afghans and the American soldiers assigned to train them.This collection of essays also explores the injuries inflicted during war; from the slow but steady
degradation of healthy minds by combat stress, to treating the physical wounds of combat, to the
permanent, and final mortal death of our comrades and enemies.
To understand Afghanistan's culture, its potential for modernization and democracy, and its remaining military challenges, one must walk in the shoes of the Afghan people and its army. From May 2006 to May 2007, I walked in those shoes. These essays are the footprints of my journey.
Read a review here.
Order a signed copy from the author here.
Links to some of Benjamin Tupper's Sandbox posts:
Pieces in the Snow, 1-22-07
Decency and Honor, 1-29-07
A Clear Shot, 3-14-07
The Heat in Dreams, 8-17-07