A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

My Photo
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Combing the Villages, Part I

I think it's making me feel cooler, just looking at the mountain photos. Anything that makes us feel cooler is wonderful. Jalalabad is already above 100 degrees daily now, and packed beyond belief. When the power flickers, and worse, the water in the heads and showers stops running for a couple days, things are pretty beat. Anyway, back to happier days- searching the villages in Kunar...

A motley crew of news media, interpreter and Afghan soldiers stand by as Marines prepare to conduct a village search. That day saw some pretty amusing combinations of the above groups, as the mission continued uninterrupted...

Looking down at the terraced farmland these villagers of Kunar carve out of rocky mountainsides...

Then looking at it from the side. I'd constantly gaze at the terraces and wonder who'd be insane enough to build them. These people are HARD (that is respect, in Marine speak).

Taking the opportunity to grap a quick splash of water on the head makes for a world of feeling good after a few days of sweating your tail off and sleeping in dirt. This ravine/crevasse/gorge, whatever it was, had to be crossed simply to get from one hillside house to another, about a 30-min detour. Extend along the rock for another few hundred yards, and you get the picture...this terrain was nuts. And fun as hell to clamber around, since there was no packs on our backs, for half-a-day, anyway.

Standard Afghan mountain house construction. Most of the homes were leveled, and connected by outside "ladders" (logs with grooves hacked into them). This was not only out of gravity's necessity, but to separate living area from barn, grain/poppies/IEDs storage room, etc.

Some of the terraced farmland was beautiful, and full of Easter colors. Of course, none of the tiny handful of villagers we found knew how such nice land was being tended. All the men are simply away, you know, on vacation. Frustrating, to put it mildly.

Pausing in the search to update positions. Or to take a siesta, depending on your outlook.

Afghan bread and spinach mound, anyone? Don't laugh- that food was a lifesaver! The spinach may have tasted curiously like cowpie, but we gobbled it down. And the bread- it's just the best damn thing about this place.

Members of the platoon take advantage of a breather. There was more humping to go, with all gear on again, to reach a new position before the next day's search.


Blogger kbug said...

Nice story, and great pictures. Nothing tells a story better than pictures. The terrain is beautiful...the kind of stuff I love to hike in, but I can definitely see where you would have had problems finding a flat place to sleep. My dad would have just said...dig a hole..... :) I'm glad you were able to enjoy the sights even though it was a man-hunting mission. I'll bet it does make you cool just looking at the pictures, too, it makes me wish I was in the mountains. Keep your helmet on...and stay safe.

May 10, 2006 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Agnieszka O. said...

Superb pictures again - what camera are you using?
Do you know that Afghanistan was a tourist destination in the 1970th before Soviets invade it? Amazing terrain. I used to do a lot of mountain tracking back in Easter Europe and here in Colorado. Are you packs weight more then 40 lb?
I wouldn’t eat that spinach…but bread - yummy :-)
Wow…100 already. I actually mail packages to JAF but to guys from 1-32 Inf. I’ll make sure I’ll mail them some ice packs :-)
Does anybody from your unit signed up at
Stay safe.

May 10, 2006 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Agnieszka O. said...

And that trees on the hill look like wisteria.

May 10, 2006 at 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Mrs G said...

Thanks for the pics, they are simply amazing, but mostly thanks for your service and for blogging. There are so few of our guys in Afghanistan that are currently blogging and you are the only one I've been able to find lately. Families at home really need something other than the MSM to turn to. Afghanistan is getting left behind in the news.

I couldn't locate an email address for you so I'll use this forum.

I am the co-author of the Mudville Gazette and am the manager of the MilBlog Ring (you may or may not have heard of it). I have linked you many times. Anyway we (my husband and I) continually get family members emailing us with questions regarding troops in Afghanistan and sadly we've been unable to reply with answers. Your blog is helping somewhat to change that.

We have started a blog for all our military bloggers to put in their 2 cents, that would include you as well if you're interested. No large posts required just a online discussion between milfolk. I know you are very busy and limited on time and if you cannot participate we'll fully understand.

We have the biggest milbloggers in this project with high site traffic and are trying to get others like yourself that are deployed. The only agenda for this site is to get the word out of what our troops are accomplishing and to discuss and share ideas.

It's not gone public yet and we're still working out the bugs. One concern is the load time for those with sketchy internet service in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you could contact me, (greyhawk at I can send you the URL. Even if you're unable to participate, it would help greatly if we knew how long it took to load for you. It's very important for us to make sure our guys with limit time and access do not have a problem.

Also I'm a Soldiers' Angel so if you need anything let me know.
Me and my husband are stationed in Germany.

Please stay safe,
Semper Fi

Mrs G

May 11, 2006 at 2:22 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

I'd watch the spinach too - but the naan is darned good stuff.

That terrain is absolutely nuts. Where was the 10th Mountain? I thought Marines liked nice flat beaches? heh.

May 11, 2006 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

Thanks to all who write in - I do read comments when I have time, and greatly appreciate the feedback.
Agnieszka - I use a beat-up Nikon Coolpix 2500. Our packs were much heavier than 40 lbs! And thank you for all you do, we do have guys here who signed up for, and have all benefited from the kindness shown by such volunteers.
Mrs G - I will try to email when I can to answer your questions. I don't have time for a forum, but will try to help.
Maj John - Between you and me...there were a few grins on the Marines as IVs were needed among the 10th Mtn boys, in terrain the jarheads have been runnin' around!

May 12, 2006 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Agnieszka O. said...

Wow...more than 40 wonder you were "rolling" off the hills :-)

May 13, 2006 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous ANTHONY BAUWENS said...

I found what you guys are doing very interesting as well as tough in these hot and rugged terrains.But you are not forgotten mates.I am a vet from (nam)I though we had it hard but you guys just with armer on and weapons,heat you definitely have it harder I think All I can say is you all seem to get allong with Captain Dan good also pluss team work I wich you all a speedy return and stay save pals.And veterans day here in europe the 29 june I will raise the flag for you guys.By the way were can I send a package to you guys.We have a footpedicure practice let me know if you need oitments for dry,feet tired feet tell me and I will have it sent to the Captain.Truly youres Anthony a vet a friend.and I will say a prayer for all of you of course for speedy and safe return..

June 21, 2006 at 3:53 AM  
Anonymous doger57 said...

Captain dan please say hello to spc.Troy O. White,II if you see him in florida base, give him a high five from his gray headed dad

October 27, 2006 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Troy White,I said...

Daptain Dan are you the same captain dan who was in irag and sent reports to foxnews

October 27, 2006 at 9:59 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home