New Year, Past Memory

Dated: 01/05/2019

Views: 27

I spent 2016 in Afghanistan and came across some notes I had written during my time in training camp, Ft Dix NJ, in route to Afghanistan, thought I’d share:

Yesterday was day 4 of Combat Skills Training and it was actually pretty fun, it was still intense and strenuous, but fun.  We started the day with an MRAP simulated rollover, a full 360 degrees, then actually got on an MRAP and convoyed out to the training site.  We then went over several scenarios, including being hit by IED, car bomber, and the sorts.  It was difficult because it took getting in and out of the MRAP and the doors weigh around 130 pounds. Most of the time the driver had to open for me. I could open from the outside, but not from the inside.  I was the unconscious person when it was our turnto get hit, I felt like I was being choked because they grab you from the straps of your vest and the neckline rode up to my neck and was choking me, I just went ahead and grabbed the neckline of the vest and pulled down on it.  Every MRAP also  had the responsibility of assisting a hit if the MRAP in front of them if it was hit, we were to get the injured out and into ours. We had to get four into ours, it sits four, we squeezed eight people into ours, I got CRUSHED!!!  So, day 5 I'm still here with our soldiers, but not out on the range, they are doing running drills and since I will not go outside of the camp for possible real combat scenario, I’m just observing and I am on my IPad!  So I've made it through my first week.  One more training week and I'm done,  We are still continuing to do pretty much what we did the first week, the only difference is the weather.  It has ranged from 17 to 19 degrees first two days of second week and looks like it will continue through Friday, the high is in the low 30's, the wind is fierce and soooo cold, seems to cut right through your skin.  

We're now at Day 7, we went out to the training field for Counter IED training, basically learning how to spot IED's on the road, I learned that they can be missed very easily.  We learned the different types of explosives and how easily they can be made and for very little cost.   Also learned of some pretty impressive devices that can jam their detonation. The  problem is the enemy will soon enough introduce some new device where jamming may not work,---it's a cat and mouse game...

The training continued with the same intensity as day one, finally got through it and even graduated one day early due to a snow blizzard that would be arriving on the day of our scheduled graduation. We left Fort Dix New Jersey on 10 January 2016 and headed towards Baltimore Maryland in an effort to beat the snowstorm and we did. We didn't get to do much because there was so much snow! It's day four and Baltimore and we've been pretty much stuck in our rooms, we head out to BWI airport tomorrow in route to Germany.

At this point, I'm just anxious to get to Afghanistan and get to work. So we are finally on our way out of Baltimore and our flight is delayed by 24 hours, so we had to go back and stay at a hotel another night. We finally get to Germany and from there we flew to Kuwait and from there we flew to Qatar.  We stayed in Qatar three days, it was horrible. We were in a room with about 25 other women and it was cold and it was dark 24/7.  There were no bathrooms in the building we had to walk out of the building across a couple of other buildings to get there, which they called Cadillacs, they were just really old and really outdated and it was not fun.  We finally flew out of Qatar to Bagram on a C31, no bathroom and really uncomfortable!  It was a six hour flight and we finally arrive and I have to spent the night there and fly out to Kabul the next day, this is now 2nd of February.  Next day I'm heading to Kabul by helicopter, that was pretty cool, except the fumes are overwhelming!!  All this time I'm flying with Emily, my friend from combat skills training, but we go separate ways in Bagram, she goes to Jalalabad and I go to Kabul. I was hard because we really bonded. We always tried to make the best of it no matter where we were or how exhausted we were feeling. We are keeping in touch by email. Wow, I can't believe I've  been here three months, I’m trying to bring my friend Emily to Kabul because  Jalalabad is attacked very frequently, she is scared and she wants out!!  Emily wants to go back home, may be leaving in a couple  of months, she can’t take the rockets and mortars coming into JBad anymore....  I feel soooooo bad for her and I’m trying to get her to our camp and my superiors are trying to, but the government program we came under will not approve the move!!!

Afghanistan introduced me to some pretty amazing people, I became part of a ladies bible study group that consisted of 4 and the next week it was 3.  We continued to meet and we grew to about 14.  It was a great group of ladies.  My battle buddy was Allison and I soon meet Cricket and Janice and we were just always together. Our biggest challenge were always the sirens that signaled a rocket or mortar was in the air and would inevitably hit somewhere, we never knew where- you just take cover.  As instructed.  It was always my faith that kept me strong and I knew I wold be fine and would return home safe....

I may continue to blog about my experience  in Kabul, while not too detailed...  Fast forward and here I am today, 1st week in January 2019, delving into San Antonio Real Estate!  Life is full of surprises!!! Hope your 2019 is a great one for you!!!!

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Lucy Mehlen

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