Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year, New FOB, New Mission

Happy New Year!

For me, a new year in a new job, in a new place.

High atop "Alexander's Castle" in Qalat, Afghanistan.

I have left FOB Salerno and the Salerno Hospital and begun my new job at my new FOB.

Unfortunately, you won’t find news about FOB Salerno or the hospital here anymore. I don’t know of anyone blogging from there anymore, but they do have a unit website with information. I will share that address as soon as I can.

Fifteen month tours are long, and it is nice to have a change of pace and a change of scenery at the 12-month point. I think the next 3 months will go quickly.

I am now the Liaison Officer for the Jordanian Field Hospital. It is not really a field hospital, it is the medical, nursing and ancillary staff sent to Afghanistan to train and mentor the Afghan staff at Zabul Provincial Hospital. They are here for 90 day rotations, and I am their US military liaison during their stay, to help resolve issues and guide them through the complex US Military, NATO and ISAF beauracracy. It’s an interesting job, but quite ambiguous. My orders are to “take care of the Jordanians”, whatever that means.

The Jordanian Field Hospital Leadership

So, now I live on FOB Lagman and work with the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to ensure the Jordanians are supporting the overall medical reconstruction goals in Zabul Province. I get off the FOB some, which I like, convoying to the provincial hospital and the Jordanian compound. I have no authority over anyone, so whatever I accomplish is by negotiation and persuasion. I live in a shack and work out of a trailer and have to beg for rides wherever I go, and I’m very happy.

Visiting the FST with the Jordanian Medical Staff

It’s amazing the things Soldiers and Sailors and Airmen and Marines are called upon to do now. When I was a cadet at West Point or a 2LT at Fort Hood I could never have imagined working with Jordanians and Afghans and Romanians and Canadians to build or renovate hospitals or train medical personnel. Today’s young officers and NCOs expect to deploy multiple times, and are expected to fight and rebuild and train and mentor, all simultaneously. With minimal supervision and only general guidance young officers and NCOs are accomplishing the mission throughout Afghanistan and Iraq and all over the world. For the most part, they do a great job demonstrating the best of America to people who may have never met any other Americans. Their hard work and dedication and example literally saves lives, as individual Afghans or Iraqis decide that what we offer is better than what the bad guys offer. It’s too bad that most of the press goes to those who don’t do well, that tiny minority who cause problems and hinder the mission.

Well, for the next 3 months I’ll spend my time at FOB Lagman doing what I can to facilitate the training of the Zabul Provincial Hospital medical staff. While I’m here I’ll report on the things I see and the Soldiers I meet along the way, as Task Force Zabul attempts to bring peace and security and hope to a part of Afghanistan that has seen none of those things in recent memory.

Crazy traffic scenery in Qalat, Afghanistan

Phillips, out.

6 comments:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/04/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Reynolds wife said...

Sound interesting. Nothing like a change of pace to make the time go by quickly.
I rented All Quiet on the Western Front, you mentioned it a while ago...I'm really glad I watched it, I've haven't watched any war movies since my husband deployed. It gave me some insights into the mind of a soldier that I haven't had before.
I hope your remaining time is fruitful, productive and speedy.
Thanks so much for taking the time to blog.

Army Wife said...

Thank you so much for your service, from my family to yours!

May 2008 see you home safe!

Enjoying the photos.

Leta said...

I have no doubts that all those with whom you are working with will learn and grow from what you have to offer.

Thank you for taking the time to keep us informed via your writing and photos.

Be safe!

barb michelen said...
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