After a few days of travel I have finally arrived in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The trip was long and included an overnight stop at Manas Airbase in Kyrgyzstan, which has to be one of the more beautiful places the US military is currently deployed. Manas is just outside the city of Bishkek, and the surrounding area seemed to be nice and rural and was framed by gorgeous snow covered mountains. The base exemplified the Air Force’s easy living, even in deployed locations, with a 24-hour dining hall, night club where Air Force members can have two beers and a coffee shop with an internet café. A standard four month Air Force deployment to there would have been more like a vacation.
I am currently at Bagram Airfield north of Kabul. It’s a little less cushy here, but you can still tell the Air Force is here with nice dining halls, two PX’s (mini Wal-marts) and a few coffee shops. However, the area surrounding the base is definitely not as welcoming, with the fine dust all over the place, huge jagged mountains, beating sun and not to mention the Taliban still running around. With that said the natural beauty of the mountains is amazing. Just as soon as we got off the plane, all the guys were snapping pictures and remarking at how awesome the mountains are. I will post some pictures in the days to come, but I’m sure they won’t do it justice.
On a much more serious note, the first day we were here we were awakened in the middle of the night to attend a Fallen Comrade ceremony. The very somber occasion was for two Polish soldiers that were killed in an IED attack. A ceremony like that, on the first night, helps keep it in perspective that we are very much in a war zone.
I will be here for a while before moving out to my all Army run Forward Operating Base and will update everyone as I can.