I think about the past, where I came from to get here. I think about the future, what I’m going to do when I get home. But I live in the present and enjoy the job I’m doing here, even on the hardest days. And for us here at the hospital the hardest days are those where we lose a fellow Soldier. We’ve lost a few patients recently, some to enemy action and some to accidents. That takes a toll on all of us here at the hospital. There was a time when I could remember all the deaths in the hospital, by face if not by name. That was some time ago now. I have learned the hard way that at a trauma hospital in combat not every patient will have a good outcome.
But for me, the best days on the FOB are actually off the FOB. Recently I had the opportunity to visit our local Provincial Hospital in the city of Khowst. I’ve been there often enough that it feels very familiar to me. We were visiting the hospital director and conducting some training. Our relationship with the Provincial Hospital is good, and getting better all the time.
It’s also the site of the suicide bomber in February. In fact, I took a picture in front of the wall near where the bomber detonated. The damage has not been repaired so you can see some of the effects of the bomb. I’d like to say that he was the last suicide bomber in Khowst, but unfortunately that is not the case. In fact, he turned out to be only the first of many suicide bombers in 2007.
But Khowst offers many more entertaining and safe sights and sounds. Right outside the hospital I followed a few goats wandering in the road. Since my daughter raises sheep I thought she would enjoy this picture of goats wandering in the road. It is a common sight; goats and sheep and even cows and donkeys. Mostly they are guided or herded, but sometimes they are just wandering.
The locals told us stories of the fort’s role in the war against the Soviet Union back in the 80’s. In Germany or France it would be a tourist attraction. Here, it’s an operational fort, a garrison for Afghan security forces. And a great place from which to take pictures.
Here’s a view of the mosque in Khowst, Afghanistan.
It's huge, and beautiful.
I’ve seen it from the road outside, from the air above and now from a hilltop in town.
And even from inside, the views of the surrounding countryside are great.
Like all castles, it’s got a tower from which you can see everything around and below.
I don’t think I’ll be moving to Khowst anytime soon, but like the rest of Afghanistan it’s got a lot of potential. It could be a lovely place, much like a resort town in Arizona, if it weren’t for the suicide bombers and ambushes and rockets and mortars.
Mostly, I’m very happy. Mostly, I work with happy people.
We all look forward to going home,
but most of us enjoy our jobs,
enjoy the adventure
and enjoy the camaraderie of being here and serving our country.
As always, may God Bless you all.