Tuesday, November 28, 2006

For the Kids!

Well its about 4 weeks till Christmas, kind of dreading it well honestly I’m dreading it more and more each day. The Phoenix Chapel is all decorated with lights and Christmas Trees, a few of us were talking and decided that it would be better to pretend that its not Christmas and it would be easier to get through the Holidays. It’s pretty tough honestly, I’ve missed Thanksgiving, The Fourth, and even my own birthday but never have I missed a Christmas. Even missing Bayleigh open her presents will be so tough cause I could careless anymore about getting much I just want to see her open Dora or Barbie or whatever we get her.. I just dread it, so I think I’m gonna hide under a rock around the 23rd and come out on the 2nd of January.

Last week we took some backpacks and school supplies to our newest school (Aziz). This school is just a few months old and already filled with kids. There are 10 class rooms and still they have 3 more class rooms in the hallways. I gave out some Smarties while the LTC Yandell and SGM Barrett handed out the backpacks to the top 3 students in each class. After all the, “goodies” were gone we had a meeting with the Principle finding out the other needs of the school. I brought up the idea of getting a program to let the kids at Madill Middle School know exactly what it’s like in the Afghan Schools, and have some of the kids write up some essays and we could have them sent back to Madill. She thought this was an amazing idea and even though the kids are about to get out for their winter break for 2 months they would get them knocked out and back to me. So today we went back to Aziz and the kids were ready!! They had tons of banners, posters and letters for the kid’s back home, and back home Brenda Hix one of my teachers from middle school is getting school supplies and backpack for these kids over here. So we have a great project going on and hope it continues and all these kids get some much needed help and the kids back home get some “cultural learning”…

While I was looking through the papers and posters I came across one of the most perfect examples of why we are here and what we have done, here is what this wonderful little girl had to say. (Pardon the grammar but this is amazing English for an Afghan 6th Grader)

I am pleased on the arrival of the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. Because five years ago I and my sisters all sisters of our country couldn’t go to school. The Taliban were controlling all of Afghanistan. They didn’t wanted the girls to go to school and study. And now that we can go to school we are proud for all our sisters. After the collapse of the Taliban we were studying in ruined school buildings and now we are thankful to the Coalition Forces for building us a new school to study. And now all student can study in this new building we become very happy when some help and serve us.

I was pretty amazed and shocked to say the least, what amazing and inspirational words from such a little girl. She should be a perfect example of why we’re here and why we need to stay here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A little time to myself.....

Well I haven't posted in awhile almost 2 months now, just about everyone knows I was on leave but some people (wife and mom) could wait for me to get a new one out here so enjoy.

Its been a pretty busy few weeks since I got back here to Phoenix, we finally got some more money to start a few more projects and started 3 new ones. We are building some more bathroom facilities at the Aziz High School we finished last month. We also started the construction on the new road south of Phoenix.. Here is the story I fixed up for that..

Despite significant progress since the Taliban were deposed in 2001, Afghanistan still faces daunting challenges defeating an active insurgency, recovering from over two decades of civil strife, dealing with years of severe drought, and mainly rebuilding a shattered infrastructure. The deepest need in the infrastructure is the improvement of the less than standard road system.
Recent floods have put deep scars in the land along the roads in Afghanistan. Large stones and huge gashes - two or three feet deep - run from the nearby hills through the farmland, tracing the floods path. Along with the devastation of war, the huge problem with erosion and lack of funds for quality workmanship are major factors for Afghanistan's poor road system. In addition, the community and villages duty to provide regular maintenance to the roads have been overlooked for many years.
As of last week the 1-180th out of Durant, OK, and their Commanders Emergency Relief Projects (C.E.R.P) broke ground on the first of several projects in the Kabul area. This is the first road construction project the Battalion has focused on for improvements. After 5 months of 180th missions down sarak e barq udh kehyl (Udh Keyl Power Plant Street) the Commander, LTC Bobby Yandell along with the help of 41st BCT Brigadier General Douglas Pritt, decided a change was needed for the people of Udh Kehyl village.
The project is a 2 month plan costing 98,500, this is a great improvement in the area considered to be the poorest, and worst area in Kabul. The specific road is full of huge pot holes and deep cuts in the land not allowing the road drainage to the river in the south. Highly traveled and heavy populated this will improve the area immensely and is a great addition to our current work with the nation of Afghanistan. The road improvement and all of the current work with Afghanistan is a great step forward the soldiers of the 1-180th need and a huge accomplishment for the U.S. in this rebuilding nation. The Battalion will continue building schools, wells and continue the much needed road construction for the country. Afghanistan is still years away from the country's standards in the 60's but with the help of National Guard Units like 1-180th the country can only move in a new direction.

While we were at the ground breaking I ran into a little boy wearing something I never thought I would see over here, a Notre Dame jacket. I thought this was the coolest thing I've seen since we got here. Thousand miles away and a little boy running around with my favorite Team on his back.. Just a sign...

Time seems for the most part passing pretty fast, the 3weeks Ive been back have gone by pretty fast. This is great cause I dreaded the time back here when I had to get back on the plane at the end of leave.

It was great being home just went by too fast and seemed like I didnt get to do everything I wanted to. I had so much fun playing with Bayleigh and spending time with my beautiful wife and parents. I just had the toughest time ever getting back here I don't dont cry much (just ask Jodi) but I cried like a baby when I got back on that plane. I held back till I we got in the air and let it out in the tiny bathroom for about 30 minutes. Blaming myself for leaving and as stupid as it may sound to some, felt my heart tearing apart inside. The only thing I can really compare it too was when we all lost Hoover back in High School. It was honestly the toughest thing Ive done in my 24 years. Until I got back to Phoenix all I could think about was Baylieghs little blue eyes looking deep in mine and I could tell she just wanted to know why Daddy had to leave her again. Its tough and as much as people think they can compare it to something THEY CAN'T. I just know only families that go through this can tell you what it does to you. My wife always tells other women with a deployed husband "this deployment will make or break you as a family and as partners.'' She is right when I was home I felt a love so strong and passionate for my family I've never felt before. I love those 2 girls with all I can but there was something while I was home and really felt it on the way back that got me and I never will leave those girls again.

This is not a family business and it takes a different breed to do what we do, I really dont think I have what a lot of these other soldiers have but I do know I have 2 beautiful and wonderful girls at home and a wonderful family in general waiting on me to get back home...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This will be a quick post but I wanted to put this Poem "The Final Inspection" on here for someone who just lost a loved one in Iraq. Jay Williams from Madill who is here in Afghanistan with me, just lost his cousin in Iraq and I wanted to tell his family and everyone out there who has lost a soldier here in Afghanistan or Iraq that Im truly sorry and hope that one day very soon we can all come home and be with the ones we love..

The soldier stood and Faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the cheek?
To my church have you been true?
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
~Author Unknown~
It's the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.
It's the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Soldier, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It's the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Well Im sure you all know what this blog will be about so enjoy!!

Exactly 5 years ago today I was 1 day into Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Like all the rest of the days we were going into our class rooms to start off the day and begin all the wonderful training the Army had to offer (ugh) I remember the rest of the day like no other. We took a 10 min break after the Chaplain came in and whispered something into one of the Drill Sergeants ears. After we came back they had the TV on and all of us sitting there watching the 2nd plane crash into the Trade Center. A few guys ducked their heads and a few other had tears running down their face, come to find out one of the guys dad washed windows at the Trade Center and anothers Aunt and Uncle owned a deli just down the street. There we are new recruits and seeing what terrorism was doing to our once Free country. I can't really describe what I felt, shocked clueless I just sat there and it felt so unreal that I shouldn't be there that this wasn't happening. After 30 min or so we were released to call our families and let them know we were ok and see how they were with all of this. I remember the phone lines being busy and standing next to the guys who were trying to call back to New York. So our day was one we would never forget and it was that night in bed when I realized that I wouldn't get to spend my next four years in college but defending the country we love so much for the terror we all hated.

So now here I sit in Afghanistan fighting the "real terrorism". Whenever this deployment started even though I didn't want it to happen I felt it was kinda my duty to come over here and defend our Freedom. I spent 8 months for my Egypt deployment, laying on the beach, playing in town going on numerous MWR trips. So when a chance came up to defend what we love so much I felt deep down it was part of the reason I joined the Army and now was my chance to do it. The people of Afghanistan didn't attack us but the country was infested with terrorist and now we want to change that for the better..

Five years ago I never thought I would be here now in Afghanistan but I am and I hope one day the country can go back to the way it once was. We have changed so much in the last 5 years, the school system, the government, the Army as of last week Major Roper and I started the process to recruit the first female ANA soldier. Everyone wants this place to change for the better, that and 9/11 are why we are here. I don't think we would be here on any other circumstance if the USA wouldn't have been attacked. Im not taking away from 9/11 any at all but what if we wouldn't have come here to stop the Taliban? What kinda of fear or war would we be living in? Maybe the kind these people lived in for over 30 years.. Deep down I guess Im glad we're here, there are so many great people here that deserve a better life than a lot of people have in the states..

So again, here I am Sept. 11, 2006. 5 years after that horrible tragedy sitting in the last place I ever thought I would be. This afternoon I was standing outside of the Chow Hall after our 4th moment of silence for the collapse of the south tower. I was standing with a few Afghan Nationals who work on Phoenix, as we watched the American flag go up the flag pole, Waheed turned to me and with a very sad and quite voice, "Today is a bad day for Americans and a very sad day for you." I agreed and thought for a second and turned back to Waheed, "Yeah its a very very horrible day for every American, but the day after was a great day for all the innocent people of Afghanistan."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2 months down and counting!!! Man what a long time.. oh by the way Notre Dame is #2 in the AP "Charlie Wiess and the Football Factory"

Well the last couple of weeks have been going by pretty fast for me I guess we've been so busy and a lot has been going on here in Afghanistan that we just don't think about the time and it just flies by. I think if we really dwell and sit around and do nothing than it just goes by really slow and we spend the time thinking about the ones we miss and love so much and it really gets us down. I don't think I could handle not getting to leave Camp Phoenix or having to do the same thing day in and day out, I would become so overwhelmed with sadness that I couldn't function. I mean a lot of guys don't want to leave Phoenix cause they worry what's outside that front gate and I understand that cause there are a lot of bad things out there that at any second could hurt any one of us. I guess I take that risk to leave and get out cause I couldn't stand being stuck here.. There are a few places I like to go and get out of here and really hate coming back on to camp, I like going to the other camps but once again we're trapped there as well so when we get to go out and do our CERP missions its great not just because were helping but because we are getting out of here and getting a little "FREEDOM" of our own...

We checked on the school we are building its coming along really good and should be ready for a final inspection by us Saturday and hopefully have the grand opening next month. We also checked on the hospital were we are building the patient rooms and they are almost finished as well. It nice seeing what we're doing for them and hopefully we can keep it up.

Last week I got to attend one of the most memorable things I would probably get to do here besides all the good stuff this was something fun for us to do without any work. We went to one of the local villages for a wedding and this was by far the biggest wedding I have ever been to.
Well let me go back this really wasn't the wedding but it was part of the ceremony. This was more like the bachelor party but they really don't call it that. Of course there were no women at this but there were over 600 guys there so Im sure the wedding itself was 1200 easily. We showed up talked for awhile and had supper and then got hena painted on our hands if you look at one of the pictures you can see the little girls waving and on one of their hands is hena and that's what they are doing to our hands. Then they brought in a famous Afghan singer who cost 3 thousand for the night so Im sure the parents are spending a lot of money on the whole thing. After the singer started all the guys wanted Lt. Marmen one to get up and dance so of course he did and there was a little old man there they called "Joker" (and if your reading this and from Madill you should get the next part.) Joker was Catman Morgan to the tee, crazy, didn't make any sense and his dance was more like a gymnastics contest than anything but he could put on a show, and that's what he did, he even wore a weight lifting belt Im guessing for his extra protection. It was an experience I will never forget and sometime next month our Interp will be getting married so Im sure his will be just as good.

Well anyway last week we did another MEDCAP like a couple weeks ago. This one was a lot larger and we were able to see more people. I did my usual part, taking pictures, helping out here and there with security and of course playing with the kids. I always seem to find one that Im drawn to one little kid who always catches my eye or does something that reminds me of Bayleigh or just doesn't bother me or bug me for stuff like the other kids do. One little boy (the one in the white clothes with my kevlar on) he is the son of the owner of the house were we did the MEDCAP he is about 6-7 I would say I never did ask him but he was the cutest and most ornery little boy probably the equivalent of a boy Bayleigh. He stood by my side the whole time and would pull on my pant leg every time he wanted another piece of candy and then whenever anyone else wanted some candy he would run them off no matter how bug they were. After awhile he got in trouble from his dad and then wanted to "flex" his muscles and show me how strong he was by moving rocks and picking up his brothers.

Later in the day I was standing on the porch of one of the houses and saw a boy pushing a wheel barrow into the compound and inside the wheelbarrow was his brother who had some type of crippling disease that mad his body contract and distort into positions the body shouldn't go. The boy was placed on one of the litters and the medics looked him over and there is really nothing they could do for him but give him documents to go to the hospital. As the boy pushed his brother outside the front gate a few of us stood on the porch and I thought what Im sure the rest of the group was thinking and that he probably wont live much longer and how sad it is that they cant be helped enough to fight all the diseases they face and all the problems they face. We can only do so much here and the longer I stay and go out the more it seems that they may never be able to help themselves without the help from us.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Ok first I want to start out with something that sruck my attention and really really got me pissed off and iritated especially after the day I had today. (Heres a little excert from the email I sent this "wonderful American" I found on myspace.com) Here is the link to his


"I dont know who this is but your an idiot!! Honestly do you really find any of that funny.. Of all the people you could make a profile about and say shit about how the military cant find him, you really are a "mo-ron" (A person of mild mental retardation having a mental age of from 7 to 12 years and generally having communication and social skills enabling some degree of academic or vocational education) ... Congrats!!!

You have no idea how many Americans and Oklahomans have gave their blood sweat and tears in Afghanistan (including myself) to help out this country that was punished by the Taliban.

When you leave your humble abode of Madill, Ok you can say whatever you want and be as much of a moron as you like. All I ask is that you really know what your talking about and if you really want to appreciate someone please pick someone other than a Taliban.

Now I'll stop waisting my time on worthless people as your self I have better things to do like help the people of Afghanistan.

Ok now back to my day!!

We started out pretty early this morning and headed out to do a MED-CAP (we organize a "clinic" in a village using the medics and the help of the locals) Today was actually the first one we have done since we've been here. We set up at a locals house which is very large and expensive. We treated about 100 patients men women and children. We started out and I was playing with some of the kids that will be living in the house as soon as its finished. I was having a pretty good time doing what my Dad (Scott) does for Bayleigh when someone is at the Hospital. Scott takes a glove and blows it up or i put it on Bays head and she has to have about 10 rubber gloves. Well I took about 5 gloves and made "balloons" and drew a face on it using the thumb as a nose. The kids loved it running around chasing the other kids with them. While I was blowing them up I would let the air out in their face and they would just giggle thinking that was the greatest thing ever.

After awhile of that and walking around taking pictures a man brought in a little girl (the girl in purple in the guys arms) she is 1 and very very malnutritioned her fingers were no bigger than a straw. Probably one of the most difficult things Ive seen here so far. She was so timmed and shy so one of the medics gave her a bear almost bigger than her. She just sat there looking around at everyone as they treated her and she was just so cute and sweet I wanted to take her home and give her what she wasnt getting here in Afghanistan.

It was all pretty tough today the medics treated so many malnuritied children and children with all kinds of problems. I stood and watched as one little boy who looked no more than 3 months probably 3 years he just laid in in moms arms looking lifeless and so weak he could even wave the flys from his face. This is so so sad and all I could think about (what I think about everyday) bayleigh and how I could never let Bayleigh get any where near that bad (thinking this mom was a bad mother) but then I watched another little girl getting water out of a well and saw what looked like Lake Texoma water running into a bottle, the little girl carried back over to her mom and she tipped it up and drank it like it was straight Dasani. Its just tough remembering sometimes what these people go through then I cant imagine going through it myself. They are defanaitlty stronger than I would ever be, I would have given up by now.

Friday, August 04, 2006