So I'm working over here in Wardak Province on Task Force (TF) Slugger. It is pretty sweet being on TF Slugger...it just sounds cool. On thing that the Army does quite well is come up with team names. I'm convinced that corporate team cohesion could be created with some great team names.
"You have a question about your bill? That is handled by Team Ripcord, I'll transfer you now."
"You'd like to speak with marketing? Transferring you to Team Thunder."
I'm going to push for our structural engineering team back home to come up with a better name: TF Blackbird, TF Dagger, TF Tank, TF Hat-Trick...all good names.
We went out on movement today. 4 MRAPS chock full of soldiers and me. We had to go look at a potential bridge project, inspect a wall, check out a building, and meet with the provincial engineer who works for the governor. It was pretty sweet...MRAPs are nice rides! I may have to get one when I get home. Not sure if I want to get the one with the 50 caliber machine gun in the turret or the grenade launcher. We had one of each out today.
Here is a picture of the bridge project we went to see. As you can see the current bridge is having some difficulties. The river bed is dry, but in the spring the snow melt turns this dry river bed into a raging torrent. So raging, in fact, that it has caused the damage to the existing bridge.
Today I felt like I was doing the work that I came to Afghanistan to do. I was working on projects that can really make a difference for Afghan civilians.
The wall we inspected is one of the last pieces of an Agricultural institute that will help teach local farmers about different techniques to maximize their crop yield, irrigation techniques, as well as ways to store crops to prevent spoilage. The area around here is a high apple producing region and part of the Army's initiative here is to teach the locals what else can be done with apples: saucing, juicing, etc. A number of cold storage sites have been built in the last few years and more are planned to prevent this resource from going bad.
Slugger is also working towards procuring ambulances for the 11 clinics that have been built in the region. They are working with various NGOs, and USAID, and others to to figure out how to make this happen. Purchase should be finalized in the next few weeks. It is pretty amazing to watch as the Commander doesn't say "how" to do something or "who" to talk to, he just says..."there is a need for 11 ambulances, get it done"
And the best part about the day...nobody try to shoot us!