Thursday, 24 May 2007

Week 18--And the Beat Goes On....

Well, unless the war ends soon it looks like it will be a long summer. There appears to be no shortage of sick and injured in this part of Afghanistan. The days are long, but morale at the hospital is high. Even with everything that is going on, it is hard to blog every week. By the time I subtract anything that would violate Operational Security (OPSEC) and anything that would violate someone's privacy (my own rule) and anything the Army would consider detrimental to good order and discipline (so they don't shut down my blog) sometimes I'm not left with much to say!

But I can always write about life on the FOB, or occasionally off the FOB. This week I was off the FOB on a mission, so I took a few pictures.
I'm always amazed at how difficult life is in this part of Afghanistan, and how resilient these people are.

With the roads around here, four wheeling is an important skill.



But in contrast to the obvious poverty, there are signs of increasing prosperity.



And wherever you go, kids will be kids.



With gas prices so high at home, I always wonder how much they pay for gas here. I do know that their gas stations don't offer many amenities.



And even here, you encouter traffic jams!



And at the end of the trip, it's nice to find a paved road to take you home.



With respect to life on the FOB, one question I am often asked is, "How is your life different?" Well, it would probably be easier to list the things that are the same. But here is a partial list of things that are different for me here:

I wear a uniform all day, every day. No civilian clothes allowed.
If I get to wear my physical training uniform (PTs) for a day I consider that a day off!
I carry my weapon with me everywhere I go. And I keep it clean and ready for use.
I live in a bunker, and there is a reason why!
When it's time to eat, I've got to walk about 1/2 a mile, one way.
When I want to take a shower, I walk about 100 meters to the shower trailer.
To go to the bathroom I walk about 20 meters to the latrine trailer.
I live and work with the same people, day after day after day.
The patients keep coming, day after day after day.
My office has no indoor plumbing.
The hospital has limited indoor plumbing.
I live in a bay with five other men. We each have our own space, separated by wooden partions and wall lockers and curtains.
My duty day lasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Despite the list above, I enjoy being here. Working with the Soldiers and Airmen in the hospital is very satisfying. The work we do, the lives we save and change for the better, makes the separation and danger worthwhile. When my time here is done I'll be ready to go home, but I will miss this place and this job and these people.

Thanks for your support and prayers and comments. God bless you all.

Phillips out.

8 comments:

Juan said...

Hello sir! we haven't forgotten about you all, I read your blog every week and pray for your safety. I truly understand your feelings, I guess that you have to have been there to really grasp the whole of the war, I wish the news would put more emphasis on our Soldiers and what they are accomplishing over there as oppose to mention the deaths and not much else, having been replaced by you I will tell you that back in the states life can be surreal sometimes, specially when you think of what we went through, I can't still look at a sick or injured child without loosing it...some of my scars. Say hi to 1SG and SFC B. Let me know if you need anything from here and keep writing, it's helping me too.SFC Sanchez

Rejenia said...

When I saw the picture of the vehicle? coming out of the water, I thught of all the warnings we are getting in central Texas right now about not going on when water covers the road, "Turn around, Don't drown!" I anticipate your blogs every week, and knowing you are still safe. When you're blogging, I know you're moving it forward. Keep on keeping on, you're doing okay, and we are very proud of all of you. I appreciate what you are doing to serve and represent our country. A debt we can never repay! The pictures and captions were great! Is there anything we can do for you?

Amber said...

I always want to post something so that you know your thoughts are being heard and recognized. I look forward to your blogs as does much of my family. Thanks for taking care of everyone there soldiers and nationals alike. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. Wish I was there to give hugs all around.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/25/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Margo said...

Thank you for your continued updates. I am glad that you are holding up. I look forward to your updates, and I understand your limitations in being able to share. My darling son uses 6 words a day whether he needs to or not! All of the Army's secrets are safe with him! When I hear from him, I know that he is alive, and THAT is a very good thing. When I read your blog, I get a bit of a picture of his world.

mikentexas said...

Wow! Just like back at West Point!

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