Friday, September 08, 2006

ABC Nightline and Suicide Bombers at Massoud Circle


No member of our task force was hurt.

That said, we lost two of our fellow servicemembers here in Kabul this morning. Right after we had concluded a two hour patrol in suburban Kabul in a part of town we call "Little Mogadishu" while escorting Terry Moran, Anchor of ABC Nightline, we returned to Task force Phoenix. After about an hour's time with our commanding general, BG Doug Pritt, we got the news. A vehicle borne-suicide bomber had driven into a US HMMWV, killing two soldiers and up to 18 Afghan citizens at a major traffic circle.

What a loss. As we approach the fifth year anniversary of 9-11, we are all more conscious of the threat, with any number of whackos wanting to turn the Koran inside out and find a Divine justification for their pathetic ambitions, pawns in the strategic chessboard of devils who want to keep the people uneducated, poor and oppressed in order to maintain control of this segment of Earth's Mortal Coil.

I have done my best to keep as much opinioning out of my comments, but there is so much good going on in this country and then something like this happens and everyone will claim how the Taliban are more and more in control, when if all it took to assume control was to deploy hopeless illiterate twenty-thirty something men to their deaths because they haev no hope of achieving anything were what it takes to assume control, this country owuld have fallen long ago and the progress we witness daily would be yet anoter pipe dream.

Our patrol wa a perfect example of the positive change we see daily. the weather was warm compared to the past few weeks as it has been cooling significantly. We were moving with Alpha Company, of the Security Forces battalion. Alpha is made up predominantly of soldiers from the southern Oregon units of 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry. Commanded by Capt. Garry Repp, a second tour veteran of Afghansitan, and 1st Sgt. Santoyo, the men are hardened and used to the streets of this city by now.

We took a short dismounted patrol down our main avenue then broke into "Lil' Mog" and while we witness some suspicious behavior and the occassional sideward glance, for the most part it was children and elders, placing their hands over their breast and greeting us "Salaam Aleikum" About two thirds of the way through our hike we stopped and met with about a dozen men, truck drivers that openly discussed with us the situation they witnessed daily. With the help of our interpretter, we learned that they were truck drivers that had much of thier livlihoods limited by the untrafficablilty of the 'Ring Road' the main highway through most of Afghanistan.

But, in speaking with Terry Moran and the patrol leader, Staff Sgt. Blake Moser, they also expressed theiri belief that the government of Afghanistan is doing the right job and the best it can under the terrible situation facing it. They said that they belive that education for women is a good thing, one of them stating that he wants both of his girls (both apparently under the age of eight) to attend college and escape the poverty they lived in. After that, we brought the "Doc" medic forward and he offered a letter to the father so that his daughter could get treatment for an affilication at our medical center on Camp Phoenix.

It was a good day and Staff Sgt. Moser did one phenomenal job, both in controlling his patrol and keeping their focus on the right objectives and in speaking through the work they were doing to the anchor of one of the most important news media in the United States. Nightline, as I told the soldiers by way of introduction is viewed worldwide, but most significatnly to them, is one of the most watched news programs in the Capital of the United States, Washington, D.C.

It was a very successful patrol and made a lasting impact on the crew and journalist from Nightline. After we returned to Camp Phoenix, we spoke with BG Pritt for a bit, both informally, then while he was on the record as well. Almost immediatley after we finished the interview, as I was walking them to the gate, we got the word about the explosion.

It was aa terrible way to change the focus of our story from progress to ruin, the ultimatel objective of the Taliban and Al Queda, or any terrorist government: keep the people focused on fear and death, loss and hopelessness and you can control them any way you choose.

I choose to focus on the good. today we made a difference. We improved the health of a small girl and built trust with Afghan families that are living in poverty. Today the brave soldiers of Alpha Company, 141 Logistics Task Force recovered the vehicle that had been hit.

Today we made a difference and that is a good way to close the day.

-out here.

12 Comments:

Blogger Joann said...

You made a difference today and everyday.

Thank you so much for what you are doing and for your blog.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Thank you for this update... I've been out of my mind with worry...glad everyone in your task force is OK. I heard from my adopted Soldier, so I know she's alright, thank God.... My prayers are with those who were wounded, and the families of those who were lost.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

You are doing GREAT WORK,
We all believe in you so much,
KEEP YOUR HELMET ON!
Love,
Patti and The Soldiers Angels

1:48 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you for the update. My husband is stationed in Kabul and I was so happy when he sent me a note saying he was ok. Thank you so very much for all you do. We are forever grateful!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Jeff's Page said...

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5:51 PM  
Blogger Huntress said...

"I heard the news today oh boy"

...and I thought of you and your men.
Glad to see you blogging.

You make a difference EVERYDAY!

Stay safe!

6:45 PM  
Blogger Huntress said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Zoe Kashner said...

Dear Major Strong,

I'd like to contact you about possibly reprinting one of your blog entries in a publication (we would pay you a fee). I can't find your email address through your website. Would you please contact me?

Zoe Kashner
zkashner@waegroup.com

10:00 AM  
Blogger MrsK said...

A simple "thank you" with alot of emotion behind it...

4:06 PM  
Blogger Agnieszka O. said...

There is bad...and there is good. We hardly ever hear about good. Thank you for keeping us posted.
That said, 2 great soldiers are gone, more injured - keeping their families in my thoughts.

9:43 PM  
Blogger chtrbx said...

Everyday you make a difference in so many lives....thank you....

8:01 PM  
Blogger Thinkfast4 said...

Arnold,

What a great story. I think you make some interesting points here -- notably about the poverty. People with no hope have no choices. Sounds like in spite of the Taliban's efforts, people are finding reason to hope. A father who wants his girls to go to college. What a wonderful story.

Thanks for sharing. Please be careful out there.

Than

8:41 PM  

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