I finally arrived at the FOB (Forward Operating Base). After a very quick orientation to the layout, I was allowed to sleep for the remainder of the day. I'm sure it will take some time to adjust to the time zone. We are 8.5 hours ahead of Eastern time. (I didn't even know that time zones could vary by 30 minutes)
It has been a while since I blogged. The main reason has been the increased security being place on us. While at the CRC (CONUS Replacement Center) at Fort Benning, I was forbidden from taking pictures of most of the interesting sights and activities. As you can imagine, the same is true here. It is going to be much harder to give the reader a feel of what we are experiencing during this deployment. The last time, when I was in Iraq, the rules weren't as strict.
CRC wasn't that bad this time. It was much better organized, and the facilities have been vastly improved. We spent about a week qualifying on our weapons, going to briefings, learning about IEDs, and getting equipment issued. We flew to the 'Stan on 3 different aircraft. One was a C-17, which is very uncomfortable for the soldiers, due to the wearing of our body armor and cramped seats. Fortunately, as the ranking officer, I was able to sit in the cockpit! I had a reclining seat that swiveled, and had adjustable lumbar support! Whereas the soldiers didn't have any windows, I could see everything. We flew over Dubai, and I saw the palm tree shaped man-made island at night. I also viewed the sunrise over the mountains of Afghanistan. It was quite beautiful! It isn't so beautiful from the ground.
We are located on a flat plain at more than 6,000 ft. elevation. The terrain is desert. We are surrounded by mountains that have a small amount of snow on them. The temperatures are very similar to the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. The weather has been quite pleasant so far, with bright sunny days and cool evenings. Due to blackout rules, at night, the stars are magnificent! The Milky Way is very prominent and beautiful. I must start doing some amateur stargazing while I'm here.
Time to end for now. I'll post some pics soon, I promise!