south helmand

Helmand

Spent two days down south in Helmand Province visiting the special forces team we have down there and the Afghan Special Forces battalion they advise.

We flew on UH-60 Blackhawks for a 60 minute round trip from the airstrip. We traveled over expansive desert, sighting numerous kochi’s and kochi tents, as well as shepherds and their herds. We’d come across strips of farmland, always along a manmade canal. The pilots would try to avoid flying over the farms when possible. It’s interesting to see the Afghan people stop and stare up into the sky, I imagine the sensation for them is like somewhat taking a glance centuries into the future. Nomads meet technology.

We visited with the Afghan SF battalion commander, talked about their logistical issues, and toured their compound. We got to see their supply depot, motor pool, and maintenance shop. Their commander asked us to stay for lunch and we got stuck into eating there. I won’t go in to lots of detail about how filthy everything was, in order to escape thoughts of puking, but I’ll just say this…apparently Afghans prepare bread with their feet………

Anyway……..

The trip was decent. We boarded the Dash-8 200 in a balmy 60 degrees and flew the hour and forty minutes back into the mountains, stopping shortly in Kabul, then back up to BAF, stepping off into snow and 30 degree temps. Since I’ve returned, it has been snowing non-stop. I awoke this morning to 5 inches on the ground, and more coming down. For operations, the Army categorizes the weather in one of two ways: favorable or unfavorable. Let’s just say I’ve heard ‘unfavorable’ getting briefed most days.

More later. Sleep.

Wells