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...