I’ve been on countless dismounts (foot patrols) since I first arrived in Afghanistan back in February. I have truly enjoyed the company of the men that perform this important duty. These men provide security for our base and build relations with the locals during their daily patrols through the fields and villages of Kabul. These are real Soldiers. They are the backbone of our security efforts in Afghanistan.
I’ve had the benefit of befriending so many wonderful people this year. If you’ve got to be deployed and go to war, then you gotta have great friends to help get you through the madness. Two guys that have meant a lot to me is my boss Beau Spafford (right) and my battle buddy from Camp Atterbury Steve Brazelton (left). Both of these guys are standup men, loving husbands and fathers, incredible field grade officers and loyal and trusting friends. I am fortunate to know these two men. I am blessed to be their friend.
One of my favorite pastimes this time of year is tailgating at Carolina football games. There was a day when I wouldn’t miss a Carolina tailgate party. However, times have changed and so have my priorities. Still, the idea of cooking out with friends outside Williams Brice Stadium before a gridiron match in the Cockpit is a pleasant thought — especially when you’re surrounded by all the “stuff” in Afghanistan. Last night our Battalion had a tailgating party in the dining hall during Carolina vs. Georgia football game. One of our Soldiers, we call him Bubba, cooked a mean pot of Chicken Bog for all of us to enjoy. I must say, the bog was the best meal I’ve had in 9 1/2 months. The game was even better! Go Cocks!!
I invite you to check out a recent NBC News feature story on Judith’s Reading Room and their support of our Troops in Afghanistan. The photos in the news story are pictures I took of our Soldiers sorting through the books for Soldiers and the Afghan children. Enjoy!
Today we honor those Americans who died on September 11, 2001 in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. We also pay respect to all the brave Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who bravely gave their lives in defense of our freedom and security here in Afghanistan. The tragic events of 9/11 inspired me, at the age of 34, to drive over to a Navy recruiting office and enlist in the military. My military experience has been diverse, challenging and rewarding. More importantly, it has been a family affair. I am proud of my family’s service and the legacy of patriotism we are leaving with our children. I pray Americans will always be inspired to answer the call to service. Freedom is never free.
We’ve received a lot of candy from supporters back home. A few months ago I received several cases of lollipops from a school in Pennsylvania. We distribute them everywhere we go. The Afghan kids are just like American kids. They love lollipops!