One of my contacts is a Sgt with a combat stress unit. They travel all over the outlying country by chopper and convoy, distributing snacks, Monster energy drink, advice, counseling and a shoulder when needed.
You might think that a "social worker's" job is pretty routine; not when it's in Afghanistan. Here's his latest update:
Friends and Family,
We have traversed yet another week and definitely earned our dollar. Doc and I find ourselves rushing to get the last few places visited before the snows. It is fast becoming the great race. We are doing very well given some of the crazy stuff that happens when you least expect it.
I have been debating whether or not to mention anything about this, but realistically it also is part of the experience of serving in a theater of war. Writing about it, as the purpose of my journal began, helps me to filter through it all. Our convoy did in fact take enemy contact and I would be lying through my teeth if I tried to down play it and say it was no big deal. The contact initiated when an IED detonated under my vehicle beginning the first phase of the attack. We began taking rocket-propelled grenades from the 3 and 9 o’clock positions as well as mortars and small arms fire. This lasted for several minutes until our turret gunners put down enough suppressive fire to repel the attack. A few minutes later we entered the second phase of the EC attack when a second vehicle struck an IED and we began taking more RPG, mortar fire, and small arms from the 3 o’clock. This lasted another 7-10 minutes all the while the turrets spraying fire at the enemy. A few minutes later we entered the third phase of the EC attack. No IED this time, only RPGs, mortars, and small arms fire from our 3 and 9 o’clock again. This lasted another 5-7 minutes before the gunners were able put enough suppressive fire out to repel the attack at which point enemy contact was broken. We later found out that we broke a few theater convoy records that day. We were engaged in the firefight for almost 30 minutes and 3 kilometers distance. Longest 30 minutes of my life let me tell you. It was surprising the amount of ordinance they threw at us with many direct hits yet there were no U.S. injuries, NOT ONE!! We live to fight another day.
As always I look to how I can spring board this whole experience into something positive and have found a way. Now that we have a shared battle experience this Air Force Combat Stress team is truly imbedded and viewed as equals. I had almost 40 informal contacts after the mission completed and it looks as though I may have cracked the shell for several more to come in formally that have concerns from previous missions. Of course I sweetened the deal by mentioning to them that we have Monsters (drinks that is) in our office.
Yes my little tail was blown up; obviously the Master Planner has greater things in store for those of us who were in the TIC. As for me the experience forged my attitude, invigorated my drive, and consummated my determination to make every day count. No one is guaranteed tomorrow; therefore I live, love, and serve as though today will be my last. May God bless all of you, may God bless the United States of America and all that she stands for.
Proud to Serve,