A few Marines write about their time in Afghanistan. Read what they had to say below and may their attitude rub off on us all as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday.
ďItís difficult to sum up my experience in Afghanistan in just one paragraph. I will do so with as much forthcoming and guilelessness as possible. So far Iíve experienced sandstorms that seem to rip the flesh from my face, and work its way into my eyes, no matter how tight my goggles may be, blistering heat that somehow brings me back to thanksgiving dinner, when the turkey is lifted from the oven, toilets that wonít flush, and much more. Iíve worked hard during my shift, and slept hard during my down time. All in all though, Iíve managed to work my way into the inner fabric of history. I feel as though Iíve contributed to something far greater than myself. And even though I canít wait to go home to my wife and all the comforts I take for granted, I donít regret a minute Iíve spent in Afghanistan.Ē
ďAs I sit here in Afghanistan on yet another day, I try to recall my experiences here, some of those are good while others arenít. Iíve seen many things here - everything from double rainbows and the brutal force of a sandstorm to the bright sunny sky we wish for in the United States. Weíve lived in tents and showered when there was water. Weíve been covered by sweat and by the swirling sand of a dust devil. Pretty soon the luxuries we once enjoyed could only be found in our memories of ďback home.Ē The longer we are here the more the days slowly blend together, making it almost impossible to tell one from the next. As dreadful as it sounds it actually means time goes by rather quickly without you noticing. Although anyone you ask will tell you they canít wait to get home, they will also say their time here was rather enjoyable. I have made new friends, grown as a person, and enjoyed doing something very few Americans ever will. Being in Afghanistan has an effect on everyone. Personally for me it placed a lot of thought on what is actually important in my life, so the important thing is not the experiences themselves but rather what you take from those experiences.
My time here has been quite beneficial. Iíve used my time here to reflect on my life and the direction I intend to take in the upcoming years. The more luxuries you go without the easier it is to realize what you really need to be happy. For me I donít need much. Before this deployment I thought I needed all the possessions I have back home. I now realize that most of that isnít important to me. As much as I enjoy riding my motorcycle and as much time as I have spent dreaming about riding when I get back; itís really not that important to my happiness anymore. I could live anywhere and do anything and still be happy as long as my wife is with me. So if I have taken anything away from this deployment itís the fact that I take a lot for granted. All in all my time spent in Afghanistan has been a positive and constructive experience. I am proud and content I was able to do my part.Ē
ďHi, I'm Lance Corporal Brandon and I'm currently two years and a month into my first enlistment with the Marine Corps. A typical day here in Afghanistan is very simple. It's always hot without a cloud in the sky, dust devils run rampant and kick up an enormous amount of sand and debris, and dust storms can be expected daily. Aside from going to work and doing our jobs, we try to maintain a high state of morale by writing letters and e-mails, getting a few phone calls out to loved ones, reading, and playing cards. So far, boredom hasn't been much of a problem and it makes the time fly by much faster. This is by no means a wonderful place to be, especially during the summer. However, we are making the most out of it. Every day is a test and a challenge both physically and mentally and we all overcome these trials together. We remain proud to serve our country and protect our freedom.Ē
-Lance Corporal Brandon
ďOne meritorious promotion to corporal, one Squadron NCO of the Quarter, one Group NCO of the Quarter, One Squadron level Marine of the quarter, one Certificate of Commendation, One Navy Achievement Medal are the awards to date that the Marines have won during their deployment, with plenty more to follow suit. These accolades are well deserved and are a testimony of the dedication displayed in support of the mission in Afghanistan. With less than a month left in the deployment, our Marines are getting ready to receive and turnover with new Marines. Our goal is to maintain continuity of communications for the next rotation as well as maintain the high standards that our Marines have upheld throughout this deployment. It is our prayer and hope that the new Marines will all come home safe with even more to show for their work in support of this historical fight.
It is also important that I mention our families because I doubt a Marine can persevere through a deployment for long without the support of their loved ones. I say this with all sincerity, it is rare to have received as much support from family members as we have. A usual deployment can cause a few households to go into a crisis or even break a family apart but we have yet to experience that in our section. I wish to thank the loved ones back home for their support.
Lastly, myself, the GySgt and SSgt are proud to serve and work with such promising men and women within our detachment. We understand the responsibility of caring for these fine Marines and look forward to seeing all Marines come home alive and in one piece.Ē
-1st Lieutenant Laren