PoeticaL
cluttering the net since 2001

Dear Afghanistan...

Monday, Jul. 08, 2002
While I ponder my future and feel a thousand emotional attacks on my heart and try to decipher what is real and what is fantasy and what is the best path for me to take regarding my diary, my life and everything else I am reminded of what “real” life is all about from my new friend who is stationed in Afghanistan which eerily just goes back to my 4th of July entry. A tent without AC? Imagine that…it certainly puts things into perspective..

Kristy,

Welcome to another beautiful day in Afghanistan! :) I thought that I would tell you how a typical day goes for me here, okay?

I usually start off at about 0600 Local, that is when it starts to get hot here, because the sun is up by 4:15 am. Do a little PT then off to the "gang" showers by 7:30 or 8:00. [side note; the showers remind me of Warrant Officer Candidate school, but that is another story].

After the morning "meat gazing" session I walk the 1/2 mile to get to my office [it is really a tent with out AC]. On the way there I have the opportunity to enjoy severly contrasting views. On the one hand, you have beutiful snow capped mountains on three sides of the camp. But every couple of hundred feet the view is punctuated with signs that read "Warning Mine Field", "Vorsich Miene" or even a few in Russian. Or the calm is disturbed by either an explosion (EOD destroying something) or one of our colistion partners charging his weapon for guard duty.

So after my leasurly stroll, I arrive and begin reading the significant activies that took place over night. These might include attacks that took place through out the theater, people getting injured by mines or even the announcement of up coming operations. It might suprise you how may infiltrations, attacks, injuries and deaths actually happen here, becasue the majority do not ever make the evening news.

Now it is time to start addressing the network issues that are still left over from the previous night. Sometimes it is simple stuff like "my phone/computer/email doesn't work" other times it is more indepth. I cannot tell you all of it, due to security classifications.

Then comes the fun part of the day. Monitoring the network waiting for something to go out. Once that happens I move into action to resolve what ever issue has arisen. In between trouble calls, I plan future signal operations, develope training plans for the signal teams and try to think of ways to enhance the voice and data routing with in the theater of operations.

Then when most other people would be going home at about 5:00pm or so that is when things start to pick up. You see, with the time zone differnces (we are 8 1/2 hours ahead of Eastern time) people on the east coast are just getting up and going to work. What does that mean to me? A whole new slew of "my phone/computer/email doesn't work".

But this is the thing that is really hard to understand, it seems that most of the "major" issues happen after the sun goes down. That is when we might lose whole links. So I end up working to 2:00 or 3:00am getting things as perfect as possible. Then it is time to head off to the cot and sleeping bag for a couple of hours of sleep.

Then there are days when the Colonial says "Mr. P---, I need you to fly to (somewhere) and fix that switch/router/system, because they are a bunch of soup sandwiches down there." So I spend a few hours trying catch an aircraft to said camp. The travel would not be so bad, except it seems easier to get a flight there then to get one back. Oh-well.

I hope that helps give you a little understanding of what I do on a daily basis. Some days are worse than others. But to be honest, I enjoy my job. I enjoy working with all the computers, routers, and voice/data switches.

Thank you for your time. :)
7:36 a.m. ::
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