Making some dry runs and preparing for Afghanistan


In 2009 while traveling with the Red Bulls in Basra, Iraq I had to provide manifest info to get on blackhawks into and out of Baghdad.

The Soldiers I’m meeting in Afghanistan are getting their travel arrangements set.  In doing so they are asking me for information they need to get me on the flight manifests.  I’ve provided the last four of my SSN, my blood type and weight of my gear.  These are some of the final steps that need to be taken before I head out one week from today.  Between now and the time I arrive in AFG the Soldiers meeting me will be making a dry run to check into where the best place to meet me will be.  One thing I appreciate about the U.S. Army when they deal with journalist embeds is they leave very little to chance.

At home I’m doing some dry runs of my own.  I’ve written about packing a lot, and have received a lot of very thoughtful feedback.  I’ve been challenged to bring less.  I’ve been encouraged to bring more.  I’ll land somewhere in between.  Yesterday, against better judgment, I wore one of the few shirts I’ll bring with me.  It’s an UnderArmor-type long-sleeved shirt…and I wore it to work…in an office.  The shirts feel pretty gross, they’re clingy, there’s not a stitch of cotton in them, they wick sweat and, in turn, they’re quick to stink.  Maybe they don’t end up stinking when you wear them, but they do when I wear them.  Last night I rinsed it out in the sink and hung it on a bathroom hook.  This morning it was dry and the pits smelled a little better than they did last night.  I guess this is what I want in my shirts.  They need to be easy-to-rinse and quick-to-dry.  I may have access to the on-base laundry service, or not.  Either way I’ll have long-sleeved shirts at the ready.

Long-sleeved shirts are required while I’m with the Military.  The shirts will provide the obvious skin protection from sun, bugs and debris blown around by a helicopter.  I’m finally now able to check out a 10 day forecast for the region to see what the weather could be like while I’m there.  Looks like highs in the 80s, lows in the 50s and a dew point in the upper 30s can be expected.  Not bad at all.  Maybe I’ll come home looking like I spent a couple of weeks in Puerto Vallarta.  Probably not.

My blogs are lagging right now, feels like I’m beating a dead horse talking about getting ready to go.  When I get to Afghanistan I’ll have more to write about, I promise.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.  Question for you, when I’m there what sort of things do you want to read about?  Photos will be posted as often as possible; what do you want to see?

Thanks for reading…more later.