Kandahar Diary

From: Iain
Sent: 09 April 2006 13:47
Subject: Muddy Boots

I'm back in KAF after an interesting week out in the rhubarb.  I was at an austere Forward
Operating Base (FOB), living with an Engineer Troop attached to an infantry company.  
Each day was a little different.

The trip out was long.  We had halted along a highway due to a breakdown.  We were not
letting any vehicles through, and I had ended up as the lone dismount at the end of the
convoy.  Cars were bypassing out in the desert but a bus full of people stopped.  A group
got out and tried to convince me to let them through (some spoke English).  A crowd of
about thirty formed around me.  I tried to be firm but polite.  I wasn't worried, but it was good
when four infantrymen joined me.

The FOB was very dusty, but I slept well under the stars.  I could spend all my time in those
places if they had phones, internet and a computer to write and send my reports!  KAF
seems a little strange when you come back to it.

Later in the week I was waist deep in irrigation ditches which also served as sewers.  Not the
most pleasant experience.  When I got back to the FOB I stripped down and tried to wash
with a 500ml bottle of water, a washbasin and some shampoo.   My laundry bag smelled
quite disgusting this morning when I turned it in, even by Afghanistan standards.  Didn't
expect to get muddy boots here!  Dusty, yes.  I had a beard by the time I got back, and I
suppose I didn't present a very soldierly appearance as I trudged to my tent from the flight
line (rode a Chinook home, great ride).  I felt bad leaving the Troop, but I needed to write
and make sure that my previous reports were being sent, plus I had to talk to the next group
coming over.  It was fun being in a Bison crew again, living and cooking out of a vehicle.

It was fascinating to read the
Globe and Mail piece, especially the pictures.  They pretty
much captured the experience.  The reporters were all good sports and they certainly
earned their stories.  I got along quite well with the Globe photographer.  He's a fisherman
and has travelled widely.  We spent a few nights by the fire in Gumbad telling tales.

Well, I'd better go.

Take care,

Louie Palu, Globe and Mail
Canadian soldiers
prepare for convoy
Louie Palu, Globe and Mail
Louie Palu, Globe and Mail
Members of the
Canadian Military's
Quick Reaction Force
form a defensive
position in a field after
dismounting from a
Chinook helicopter
outside the wire at the
remotely located
Gombad safe house
outside the city of
Louie Palu,       
Globe and Mail

DND Photo
DND Photo
DND Photo
DND Photo
DND Photo