Wednesday, 28 April 2010

More Photos

I know everyone likes the pictures, so I post them as soon as I can.

Here is a group photo of the Soldiers in our Medical Brigade Headquarters. We chose this spot for the picture because of the mountains in the background.

And here is a photo of our "Command Group", those of us who work closely with the Brigade Commander and Brigade Command Sergeant Major every day. Notice the American flag in the picture; it was a windy day! The Soldier holding the Brigade Colors almost got blown over a few times. We held a ceremony to award the 62d Medical Brigade "combat patch" to our Soldiers (and Airmen, notice the USAF SSgt in our group) deployed with us on this tour.

Enjoy the pictures. I will post more as I can.

Phillips, out.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Here are some of the pictures I promised! Thanks to my assistant editor, Joyce. :-)
And my consultant, Rejenia.

Here is a picture of the warren of B-Huts near my office. If you look closely down the middle you will see b-huts stretching off into the distance. B-Huts are high class living here, but they are really just crowded plywood shacks.

Here is a view of the mountains in the distance (notice the b-huts in the near foreground). Bagram Airbase sits at approximately 5000 feet above sea level, the mountains in the distance reach to over 20,000 feet above sea level.

Here is another view of b-huts on the way from my hootch to my office. The white building in the distance is an MWR for one of the sub-camps within BAF.

Overall our quality of life here is good. We are overcrowded, hot and dusty but there are many others living without some of the comforts we take for advantage.

Personally, I'm working on being content; with my living conditions, my job, and my current situation. I thankful for what I have and I realize what I can do without.

Until next time, keep praying for out Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines in harms way.

Phillips, out.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Dirt Roads and Potholes

It's been raining alot lately here at Bagram Airbase (BAF). I guess the initials are BAF because it was originally Bagram Air Field, but as it grew and grew and grew it became Bagram Airbase.

That's funny, because this post is all about how bad the roads are here at BAF. We've been here 9 years and the roads are terrible! Well, actually the road, singular. There's really only one paved road with a few side streets and branches. Otherwise, we walk or drive on gravel or dirt roads. And when it rains, the gravel roads fill with giant puddles and the dirt roads turn to....mud, of course. Walking to work today (I live one mile from where I work) I was circumnavigating puddles the size of hot tubs and attempting to find the narrow dry path down a muddy road when I remembered a tour I took in Seattle before I deployed. The guide described the early years of Seattle, when the roads were dirt and the houses were were wood and just navigating across the street was an adventure for the average person. Of course, it does rain occasionally in Seattle so those dirt roads must have frequently been a muddy mess. In many ways BAF is like a frontier town in the US 150 years ago. I wonder what a new arrival from New York or Philadelphia or Boston thought about Seattle in 1869? It was probably similar to what most of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines think when they arrive at BAF in the middle of the night after a long journey: "What a dump! What have I gotten myself in to now?".

I still don't have any pictures, but I think I've broken the code on that. Thanks to the advice of a friend I think I will have pictures up on the blog sooner rather than later! Yea! Thanks, Rejenia. :-)

And to Scratch, who asked about the American flags we wear on our uniforms; we wear Reverse American Flags so that when we are marching forward, and viewed from our right side, the flags appears to be waving in the wind. I'm not a general so I can't say who came up with that idea. The US Army is the only service that wears the flag in such a manner, I think. I'm sure it does look nice in a parade, but it looks awkward otherwise.

Well, it's time for bed amid the noise of the flightline just a hundred meters or so from my room. And if it rains tonight I will be back on the obstacle course again tomorrow, threading my way through the rocks and puddles to get to work.

Until later.

Phillips, out.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sights and Sounds of Bagram Airbase

The sound of Bagram is jet noise, 24/7. All manner of aircraft come and go, all day and all night. There are many other sounds, but they are all routinely drowned out by the sound of jet engines. Sometimes even conversation between two people standing side by side is impossible for a few moments.

The sights are quite varied; US Soldiers, Sailor, Airmen and Marines from around the world, Soldiers from many other nations and all manner of armored vehicles, various SUV and too many Toyota pickup trucks to count. And in the distance, mountains towering over 20,000 feet. Some of the streets are paved, some are gravel and some are just packed dirt. The "buildings" range from tents to containerized buildings to "B" huts to "brick and mortar" structures. An indoor, porcelain toilet is still a luxury. Most residents of Bagram live in a tent (with about 100 of their closest friends) or in one of our infamous "B" huts, which is basically a wooden shack housing from 4 to 8 persons.

Unfortunately, my internet is too darn slow to upload many pictures yet, so these will have to do for now. I take pictures throughout each week to show how we live here. As I travel I will provide insight into some of the other FOBs (forward operating base) and the living conditions of my fellow service men and women.

This picture is the view from "main street". Afghanistan is a beautiful country.

This is a picture taken on Easter Sunday Morning at our service at the "clamshell" a big tent where we usually go for MWR events. On Easter Sunday morning it also served as our church to
accommodate the large crowd.

Well, it's almost 1am so I should get some sleep and be ready for another busy day.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for praying for our deployed troops.

Out here.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan!

I'm back. Back in Afghanistan and back on the blog. I hope I can use this to keep in touch with my friends and family and let them know how I am doing, and how all our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are doing here in Afghanistan.

My "home" this time is Bagram Air Base, a huge, dusty and crowded base north of Kabul.

Here are a few pictures of my new "home".


Well, uploading pictures is not going well tonight. I will try again in the middle of the night when there is more bandwidth available (at least that's what my friends in communications tell me. bandwidth must be affected by daylight.)

That is one of the frustrating things about being here, good internet is hard to come by. You would think that after 8 years here in Afghanistan we would at least have good internet at all the bases, or at least all the large bases. But no, I pay an high price to an Indian company for mediocre internet. :-(

I will try to not complain too much. Many of our forces here live in much more austere conditions than we do here at BAF. Living in a tent is still the norm; it is rare to live in a regular building. One step up from a tent is a containerized housing unit (CHU) and at the top of the housing food chain is Afghanistan is a concrete building.

Well, at least for now I can tell you that I am back in Afghanistan and back on the blog. As before, I will try to let you see Afghanistan through my eyes. I will shy away from politics as much as I can, and of course I will always keep operational security in mind when I post.

To my friends and family and readers, I thank you for your support and prayers.

Phillips, out.