Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I'm excited to report we are having our first (and possibly only :-/ ) night with Major Eden, the Combat Stress Dog, at the Red Cross! The event will be next Saturday the 10th and we are using the new outdoor deck on the side of our building. We will be setting up the Lemon-aid stand, and baking cakes and  homemade desserts and hopefully it will be just a really fun and mellow meet and greet with the dog at the Red Cross.  This event has been very difficult to arrange, as the number of Combat Stress dogs in theater is extremely limited right now and as such, Major Eden is constantly traveling. Whereas when I was here two years ago, we were able to establish a weekly night at the Red Cross with Sgt Timmy the Combat Stress dog, this time around I have been trying to catch Maj Eden almost all summer and this is the first time we've been able to set a date! Fingers crossed everything works out because the Combat Stress dog's schedule is completely dependent on what is going on in the conflict. If something unfortunate happens and a unit needs a visit from the dog, that will obviously take precedence over our event!

And on that note, I wanted to share the information of an organization I had never heard of before, Guardian Angel's for Soldier's Pets. Essentially, the organization provides a foster service for the pets of servicemember's that are called up for deployment. I thought this was such an amazing and kind idea. I hope you will check out their website!


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Today we toured the A-10 ThunderBolts which was such a fun expereince! Our tour was led by the only female A-10 pilot in theater which as a gender specialist I thought was pretty awesome. Technically, the position is not considered a combat role and is open to women, although clearly there is some disparity in the numbers.

We were given a tour of the plane and of the cockpit, it's weapons systems and some of the technology. One of the coolest things I learned about this jet is that it is the only fighter plane ever built that was designed around the gun (note the picture below!)


Thursday, 25 July 2013

One day... just one day... after we are officially out of the battle rattle and we get attacked!! I fear now that my IBA and body armor will be a permanent appendage for the rest of the deployment :-/

On a happier note we are touring the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts tomorrow:

Should be a happy distraction! Pictures to follow...


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

So tonight was my first night doing a Medevac in the body armor and it was a big mission: 9 litters and 4 Ckats (patients on life support). The thing is...lifting a 200 lb man on a litter his hard enough as it is without wearing an extra 40 lbs in body armor! I was sweating like fiend and confess the mission was commensurate to an Olympic lifting session. Can't wait till we are out of this body armor at night :-)

Friday, 19 July 2013

As a gender specialist and a female living on a military base in Afghanistan I find this debate fascinating....

Would Women Bring "Drama" To Special Ops?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Hi there,
Just a quick check in to say that we are safe and well, although still living with these rigid secruity measures. We are still in our body armor and Kevlar helmet every night from 7pm to 5am which is miserable for me working the night shift since I can't go anywhere without it on. We are still experiencing amended gym and class schedules although fortunately they have been tweaked enough that I can still get in yoga in the morning and zumba at night! They do wonders for morale!

There isn't too much to report otherwise because the security measures have really put a damper on some of our activities. The water balloon dodgeball tournament was actually cancelled by the Garrison command which has left me massively disappointed. Still trying to think of other ways to keep people smiling. I'm optimistic we can still use the Lemon-aid stand as originally intended, to catch the foot traffic walking down Disney, but with the heightened security measures we've decided to play that by ear for a little while.

We do still have our radio spot tomorrow morning though so that will be a nice distraction :-)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

So it's safe to say that since 24 of hours before the 4th of July, security on based has changed significantly. Beginning the night before the 4th, all the ECPs (gates) were closed and there were no TCNs (Third Country Nationals/Local Afghans) allowed on base. This meant all the laundry points were closed and we were serving ourselves chow. Then beginning just after the 4th, with Ramadan less than a week away, military security measures really went into affect. Saturday night I woke up to a text from my team leader saying that a curfew would be going into affect at 2200 for the next several nights. Sunday night I woke up to a text saying that we would be in mandatory IBA (body armor) and Kevlar helmets until Thursday. Last night I woke up to a text asking "Are you safe? Those hit really close". I had slept through the incoming and had to bolt outside to a bunker. The rockets hit a 10 min walk from the office. We have been attacked every night for the last 3 nights.

Today everyone on base got an email saying that we are in the "change in uniform posture"  (wearing the IBA and Kevlar) indefinitely. You have to wear the body armor any time you go outside including to the gym and the showers and it must be worn inside the DFAC.
Still smiling though... Red Cross Battle Ready! ;-)


Monday, 8 July 2013

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to do a quick post because a few people have reached out since I haven't written in a while. We are currently in very strict security precautions with Ramadan starting. We've experienced incoming the last few nights. We have decreased mobility within the base and extra security procedures are in effect. We haven't been able to do much these last few days except work our shifts. Hopefully more to report to soon. If you want to read a bit more about Ramadan:

Thursday, 4 July 2013

4 July

Happy 4th of July from Afghanistan!

Today we unveiled the much heralded Lemon-aid stand at the Air Force 4th of July Block party event and it was massive success! The lock party ran from 5:30am where they kicked off a 10k run to 10:00pm tonight with DJs and a BBQ. We set up our Lemon-aid stand during the hottest part of the day when most of the athletic challenges where run - the Fireman's Challenge, the Tug of War, Corn Holes and Horse Shoes. Between the athletics and the 100 degree heat we did a booming business and I think really did a lot to boost the morale on base. 

A HUGE thank you to Terra Zvara and Carolyn Taylor Brown and my Momma for the supplies and decorations! 

Because the event was in the middle of my night, I coordinated the set up of the event and then worked the booth for about an hour and a half before I had to try and get some more rest before working the night shift tonight. I'm definitely dragging but it was worth it!

Enjoy the photos and have a wonderful holiday :-)

Monday, 1 July 2013

The week of the 4th

Tons going on this week with the 4th of July, our bi-weekly radio appearance and the unveiling of our Lemon-aid stand at the Air Force Block Party event! I wanted to give a huge thank you to Brooke Walper and her students at Northbrook School District 28 in Illinois for their handmade cards, notes and decorations!! See pictures below of our decorated canteen and the photos taken today of my team member and I at the Joint Theater hospital decorating the Ward and ICU for the patients!