Sunday, May 14, 2006

Advanced Party Departure

Yesterday, the training paid off and the operation started in full gear. We sent off our Advanced Party of over 200 members of the task force. Going forward to establish contact with our predecessors, set the stage for a successful arrival of the rest of the task force and to prepare for assumption of our mission to train the Afghan National Army.

Among the soldiers deployinng from Gulfport to Afghanistan was my friend and colleague Scott Kesterson. Kesterson has made a tremendous impact on this organization. As one of the only photojournalists I have ever heard of to embed with ha unit for its entire deployment, Scott has been exposed to and help to expose others to the incredible cycle of training and preparation that goes into getting a reserve component unit ready to fight.

His blog, located at: has already built an extensive audience and a loyal core of readership. He has uncovered so much of the thoughts and innsights of soldiers, sailors and airmen as they prepare for a year long tour in combat. His pledgge is to keep himself out of the picture as much as possible, focusing on the warriors and their day to day lives for the next year. He has built strong relationships and impressed every member of the force that has met him. Focused on the war fight, he has undergone the same training that the troops have, with a special emphasis on medical and language skills. As he will often be in austere conditions, with nothing but his wits, his body armor and the relationships with the soldiers he is working with to keep him secure.

He is going to have a great year, but his frequent late night conversations will be missed. I wish him a safe passage into the new world he is entering, as well as all of the soldiers he is accompanying.

God Speed!

-out here


Blogger Huntress said...

I just read Scotts first dispatch and it's a must read!

I look forward to more dispatches from Scott..and many more posts from you.

Canada remains committed to her role in Afghanistan..... Last nite The House of Commons voted to extend Canadian troops in Afghanistan for another two years. NATO has asked Canada to take command of the entire Afghan mission starting in 2008.

Stay Safe!

4:35 PM  

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