AfghaniDan

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

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

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

Sunday, May 28, 2006

FOB Tillman

Everybody smile now! Posing during Saturday's regional security conference in Khost was a collection of Afghan officials, provincial and district governors, and U.S. military leadership. This visit by the head honcho of all Coalition forces in Afghanistan enabled me to jump aboard the entourage for a quick trip to other spots in the region...it was a double bonus, since not only did I get out, but when traveling with top brass, you get a guaranteed return trip.

To borrow a famous line from Ireland's legendary Michael Collins, "Can I have that hat?" That's LtGen Eikenberry himself, bidding farewell to one of the region's governors before we set off for the tour. Some of these photos, including this one, were taken by a combat camera soldier who I brought along for the whirlwind trip.

The ol' chinook...where would we be without this capable bird in the 'stan? It was again my transportation of choice for this adventure, along with most of the schmoes in the traveling carnival.

As for the VIP party of the carnival? They're in the blackhawk, swooping down overhead here...a split second before blowing dirt, rock and anything unsecured across the wide-open dust spaces of our first stop.

"It's like this, sir...we can build structures all day, but this will still be a desolate wasteland." The general gets the lowdown on the latest construction progress of a sprawling new Afghan National Army base we visited, from the engineers overseeing it. (Not an actual quote)

On your left is a low-slung military building, the type popularized...oh, everywhere in Afghanistan. Keep in line, please.

Hard hat or no hard hat, nothing quite rocks out like a good set of manjammies.

It was amazing to see just how much construction was taking place at once on the large base, which will hold thousands of ANA (Afghan) soldiers when it's completed.

Touring the gleaming white insides of some brand-spanking-new buildings, which would surely be looked at with envy by residents of a few of our current Coalition installations...

Heading now to our next stop, we passed over a good bit of farmland along with the usual endless miles of arid land. Our pilots shook us up with some evasive manuever and terrain masking, making it an enjoyable ride...

See the enjoyment? That's how happy Marine captains are in this country when they see another one. My friend Shannon was instrumental in helping me get onboard this little getaway at the last minute.

Heading towards the mountains that border Pakistan, and our next destination, FOB Tillman...named of course for Pat Tillman, the NFL star who quit football to become an Army Ranger after 9/11, and was later killed in Afghanistan.

Sandbag bunkers guard the entrance to this outpost, situated in Lwara, an area that looks desolate but is actually a very active border region. It was here that Kevin Sites was writing about on his blog a couple of months back...

http://hotzone.yahoo.com/afghanistan;_ylt=AmgB2WfH6CkKyWwuJa6QBMmLFMsF

Check out the tactical red ballcap on the long-haired Afghan interpreter in the front few...he made quite a pair with the pot-bellied police chief next to him.

The deep and heavily-fortified bunkers and mortar pits give you a good idea of what a frontier post this is.



Nothing like the top general in the land coming through your barracks to brighten your day, right? Honestly, I was impressed with how he took the time to greet each individual he came across, despite always-tight schedules.

Check out the crazy wiring! God bless 'em for employing Afghan labor, but yikes. The woman who seems oddly out of place in the background is CNN's Barbara Starr, also along for the trip.

The soldiers of Alpha Company, 2-87 Infantry - known as Catamount - assemble for the general's visit.



After recognizing a few individuals for their actions above and beyond the call of duty, the general, a former commanding officer of their battalion, addressed the troops. He praised them for the hard fighting they've put in, and spoke frankly about the work yet to be done.

An air crew member lends the CNN cameraman a hand by keeping him from tumbling out of the rear of the chinook while we fly back to Salerno.

Alas, another helo flight without the 90 degree angle I was hoping to capture. I did miss the best banks, but this one was decent at least. On to the next adventure...

12 Comments:

Anonymous Squidward said...

Great pics & commentary, as always, bro! That General reminds me of Yaz - at least in these pix ... Happy Memorial Day to you and all the rest of our guys & gals over there ...

May 29, 2006 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

"pot-bellied police chief" in Afghanistan, isn't that needlessly repetitive? Heh heh.

Lwara won the non-coveted, "most rocketed place in Afghanistan" trophy during OEF V...whenever you are there, please note the nearest location of a bunker. And keep your ears open.

Saty Safe.

May 30, 2006 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Great pics as usual but I am in a state of some confusion. If that is you with Shannon, is it you in the pic, "Back from the Field"? Different angle I admit, but also different build!

Moving to see FOB Tillmanm. Thanks for the tour of your part of Afghani, Dan! Stay safe, God bless.

May 30, 2006 at 5:56 PM  
Anonymous HOTRODS MOMS said...

MY SON IS CURRENTLY AT FOB TILLMAN. I SCOUR THE NET ALMOST DAILY FOR INFORMATION OF ACTIVITY THERE AND AM TRILLED WHENEVER I RUN ACROSS ANY PICTURES. HE E-MAILS ME OFTEN WHEN NOT OUT ON MISSION BUT IS NOT ABLE TO TELL ME WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON - AND THAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF HAVING HIM THERE, THE NOT KNOWING...SO ARTICLES AND PICTURES ARE A GOD-SEND TO THIS MILITARY MOTHER....THANKS.

November 9, 2006 at 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Crap, I lived on that firebase for two years when it was still refered to as "shkin firebise" looks like they cleaned it up alot.
Aloha
Scoops the Auswaiian

January 29, 2007 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The love of my life is on his way to Tillman as I write this. Thank you for the pictures. I don't know when I will have contact with him. These pictures are a great comfort.

Be Safe.

KC

May 5, 2007 at 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Tillman photos and info. There's nothing else out there for us to see. Thank you for serving your country and taking the time to share your experiences w/us.

Airborne Mom

May 25, 2007 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Milller Network said...

My son is there too and I too am just looking for a little info on what things are like for him.

October 9, 2009 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Aria said...

Hey Beradar AfghanDan!! Was that CSM Redmore, front left on the picture captioned CNN's Barbara Starr? I was there in 2006/07 in Khost and Konar..
Thanks,Aria

May 21, 2010 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

One of many posts from '06 that I never doubled back on during the years since... Thank YOU all who commented, especially those of you with loved ones there before or since, or those who put in time there (TWO years, Scoops??).
My apologies, Aria - I don't know if the CSM was Redmore or not. Too much time gone by...
-AD

August 29, 2011 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger gus said...

i have a civilian brother who is helping at fob tillman, any post or info would help a great deal of us. please continue and keep the love going. god bless

January 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

Gus, thank you for reading. I hope to have updated pics and descriptions of FOB Tillman, or at least the region, soon...my cousin may be headed there.

Incidentally, GEN (Ret.) Eikenberry returned to Afghanistan as the US ambassador there before my last deployment, and I saw him once or twice at the embassy in Kabul. See, another one who can't stay away from A'stan...

January 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM  

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