Holidays in Afghanistan

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Filed Under Military on Dec 2 

Another insightful note from my cousin behind the lines. Paragraph two will break your heart.

I just watched the departure of a part of our aircraft and pilots, as they work their way west and home to their loved ones, and it was not without a bit of sadness to see them leave. I know, they will probably be home for the Holidays, be able to see their wives, children, friends and other family, but they were each fantastic Attack pilots, and we were honored to fly here in combat with each of them. They will be missed, as they did great work both in the air and on the ground, and the squadron will not be the same without them here. But I am happy that they will get to spend time with loved ones, enjoy the holidays, and in their moments of silence as they cannot sleep at night, secretly wish they were back here with us.

For those family members who still have quite a few months before you see your Tiger Sharks, let me share an occurrence that happened recently here, and is not for the faint of heart. Some coalition forces were patrolling an area here recently, and gave candy to some local children. After the coalition forces were gone, Taliban thugs swept through the town and found the candy wrappers, and proceeded to cut out the tongue of all of the fathers whose children had taken candy, and scalp the mothers. All for taking candy from soldiers. Evil like that has no place here on Earth, even 9,000 miles away from home where we could all ignore it and go about our merry way, focusing on our own lives. We cannot right every wrong, and save everyone from cruelty and tyranny, but here we have an opportunity to ensure that thugs like that have few days left on this earth. I miss my family terribly, and like a few others this will not be my first time away at Christmas, but if I can make even a small difference to allow Afghanis to determine their own future without the fear of the kind of awful brutality they have been used to, then there is no place I would rather be right now.

For those of us who are left here, we will continue to act according to Shark Standard, and make a difference here in Afghanistan. We appreciate the support, the emails, phone calls, cookies, and even the ‘clothing’ for Betty, as it all helps to make the time go faster, and reminds us of what we hold dear. I am continually amazed at how well the entire squadron is doing, the judgment, composure, worth ethic, and desire to make a difference each and every groundhog day. The routine can wear on you, but that has not lessened everyone’s commitment to making the best of things and do it right. There is no other squadron in theater that is more highly requested, and the guys never let the customers down.

Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful prep for the Holidays. Our “festive stick” is up and decorated, our fire pit is blazing, and we are all slowing getting sick off of chocolate. It is awesome.

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