Sunday, 6 May 2007

Week 16--The Sun Comes Out Again

I guess no matter how dark the night, the sun does eventually come back out.
Using that analogy, it's morning for me here. Definately not the full light of day, but not the dark of night anymore.

Thanks to all who were concerned about me. I appreciate the emails and comments and prayers and kind thoughts. I did not mean to alarm anyone, but it is important for me to post each week, the good and the bad.

I'm approaching the four month mark on a deployment of undetermined lenghth. Fifteen months boots on the ground (BOG) is now the rule for Active Duty units. How that applies to Army Reserve Soldiers deployed to augment a USAF hospital is still hazy, much less how it applies to an Active Duty Soldier deployed with the Army Reserve in support of a USAF hospital! To say I'm confused is an understatement.

And now the Department of Defense has revised it's rules on blogging. Previously, we were required to register our blogs. Now it appears we may be required to submit our blogs for review prior to posting. If that's all that is required it won't effect me, but each individual unit has some leeway to manage the program as they see fit. My unit could forbid blogging completely. If so, I'll need to find another way to get the word out about my deployment. This has become a routine, and a way to vent at least some of my feelings and thoughts about deployment. I hope I can continue.

The new hospital continues to go up. All the columns are now poured.

The foundation is next. I can see progress every day. One day we will be done with the tents and working inside a new, "brick and mortar" facility. Of course, there's lots of work to be done between now and then, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel. Watching the hospital go up is fun, especially if you like to watch the big equipment.

And it's not only the construction. We keep upgrading the existing facility; moving things around and improving how we provide patient care.

The old tents need constant attention; from floors to liners to lights and doors. I often think, "If these walls could talk, what stories would they tell?"

And all this happens here in Khowst Province, Afghanistan. It's a very strange place in many ways. I was reminded of that when I saw the parking lot for the Host Nation workers here on the FOB. As you can see, lots of motorcycles in the valet parking lot.

Our Afghani workers are vital to the mission and they risk a lot to do this job. And they do so much with so little. Even watching the construction projects is interesting. They use a minimum of power tools, even bending rebar with hand tools. It reminds me of the Clark County Fair, the area where the demonstrate "old fashioned" ways to do things.

As you can see, things are not perfect here, and the crisis has not passed, but things are looking up. Like hiking in the mountains, you struggle upwards toward a peak and celebrate the conquest, only to see another, higher peak ahead. There will be many higher peaks, but at least this can't go on forever. Twelve months, fifteen months, whatever the Army decides, eventually they must send me home and that will be a glorious, wonderful day.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring.

Phillips out.


Brian said...

Suggestion: keep open to other "glorious, wonderful" days before departing. It's not uncommon for vets (who couldn't wait to escape from theatre) to be consumed with nostalgia for the intensity and "reality" of their war experience. And, in any case, attention fixed on escape will perhaps seriously undercut awareness of roses and booby traps by your feet.

Anonymous said...

I really hope you can continue to blog. Your venting is our little window to a world those of us who can not be there are curious to see. I understand the caution of telling too much but I appreciate your openness with what you can tell. Thank you

Rejenia said...

Keep blogging, Yours is one of the better ones, and we have to be there for the opening of the hospital.

"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder ...
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens...
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance ....

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'

Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion)
I hope you dance
(Always rolling us along)
I hope you dance"

By Lee Ann Womack

Anonymous said...

Did we bomb the old hospital to smithereens or R we just building a new hospital (no nationbuilding)so they will like US?

Anonymous said...

More to the story than you believe?

Perhaps the last commenter should read more of the blog, and/or do a little independent research.
The hospital talked about is the military hospital operating on Salerno base. Currently they work in a tent hospital, but are building a more efficient and safe structure. They treat Afghan civilians and soldiers along with NATO forces(the smallest numbers of the three), besides training Afghan doctors who work alongside.
The Afghan civilian hospital is in the town of Khowst nearby and it receives support from the NATO task force, also. Just read the earlier entries of the blog.
And do a little research. The Afghans are fighting tremendously for freedom and a new life. Don't belittle their efforts through ignorant comments.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/07/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Patty Brand said...

My dear friend, don't let "anonymous" turkeys get you down, okay? Unfortunately, sometimes people don't think before they type and can be so insensitive and rude, and for that I am so truly sorry. Thank you for walking this road ... even when it is pitch blackness around you .... you are appreciated. Be encouraged today with the Words of Psalm 27:1-3

The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Hang in there .... daylight is comin'!

Geek said...

Thank you for continuing to blog. All the assorted Phillipses are supporting you and we love you.

Rejenia said...

checking back in on you. Hope silence is a good thing. Just wanted you to know you were on my thoughts and in my heart, continuely part of my prayers.

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