Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Last Day in MAR

Whoo HOO!

One month gone - 5 full ones to go. Then it's all down hill from there.

Skype is a good thing - it's wonderful to see my family. I've gotten to talk with almost everyone! Yes - even my parents!!! My Dad is home alone (yeah - like the movie) and he and I had a 20 min conversation the other night. Before that, I talked with my Mom and brother in FL - and I speak to my wife everyday (just about). Technology is great. I often think about the guys like my Dad in the Korean war - they didn't have Skype!!! I kept wondering what he thought about sitting in his living room talking with his son 10,000 miles on the other side of the planet. I guess I should have asked him - but we had a lot of other things to talk about...

And I got my FIRST PKG today!!! I TOLD you mail was a big morale booster!!! :-)

My wife sent me some goodies and necessary stuff - it's ALL good! Thank you Honey!

Many of the guys have received pks and it really makes their day. I have a box of Girl Scout Cookies that came from a little girl who was thoughtful enough to add her mailing address to the box - so I'm going to email her and tell her that the cookies she sent found their way to a happy tummy inside of an Air Force guy. Hope she's not too disappointed - she intended them for a solider! :-) Since we are attached to the Army - we get a lot of Army morale items too - it's very nice.

Work is going well - I got some more pictures I have to sift thru - I'll probably post some of them tonight (the ones I can). I'm not in any of them.

One guy (Cpt Jaw) ordered a BIKE!!! Yeah - $350 bike. Single speed. Touring bike. Hope that works out for ya... The roads here are TERRIBLE and you can forget going OFF road on a touring bike - that's just asking for trouble. It's hard enough to WALK - much less ride a bike. But, who am I to say? I will say, good luck!

That's all for now - time to Skype!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Skype Face

I've heard a few gripes -


So I did - and then I hear,

"Your not in any of the pics!!!"


Here is my Skype Face - I might be wearing my PT shirt (like here) or my uniform - that is all they let us wear.
I promise to take some pics next week with ME in them for you.
Fallen Comrade Ceremony first thing tomorrow :-(

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Pics!

There are 30 more pics uploaded!

Next time I'll start a new album. (BAF2) - look for it on my main page:


I'm off tomorrow - well, kind of. We have an electrical inspection in the BHuts (our hooches) and I'm going to the office for at least half the day. The MWR folks are showing "Facing the Giants" on SAT - I'll probably check that out and I'll be attending church regularly on Sundays @ 1430L - It's called the Chapel NeXt service and it's very good - (see my earlier post "Rain - No snow - Yet! "). Good series...

We are starting to plan our R&R trips for the group - everyone seemed very excited about that - all the guys/gals are working very hard and and this will certainly be a welcome break.

Going to dinner - hopefully RIBS tonight!

I'll let you know.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Looky Here!

I took some pictures of some of our crews in action. By the time you read this, hopefully they will all be loaded. Internet sucks! It was completely out all last night.



Monday, March 23, 2009


Aren't you guys lucky today!

I just got off Skype with Marcus and we figured out where I am!


Yup, that's my hooch! :-)

Ok - going to call Pam and go to bed.



This is for Doug and anyone else who knows anything about INET speeds

Last Result:
Download Speed: 94 kbps (11.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 7 kbps (0.9 KB/sec transfer rate)

What is more disturbing than anything else - this particular Internet package is the "Premium" service and costs $100 per/mo.

When you quit laughing, send me a note... :-)


Rain - No snow - Yet!

Well it rained today - I don't THINK it will get cold enough to snow - but I'm not the weather man. They still say it will - we shall see.

The weather did put a damper on things today - as far as construction production goes. For the most part, we did very well in spite of the rain. LtCol Lehman and I had the privilege to escort the 755 AEG commander, Col Reed, out to some of our various projects! He's a GREAT guy! He enjoyed his time with us and was happy to see what we are doing and he got to meet many of the Airmen on our team! He was pleased. So was I and LtCol Lehman.

I'm feeling pretty good these days - all finished with the chest cold I had. Back to normal and it feels good. I'm walking a lot - haven't had the desire to RUN much. I did jog a few times - no great distances - maybe a mile or so. That running thing is getting harder and harder. The good news is I'm able to walk without any pain and that doesn't bother me at all - so walking it will be for a while. Around here - it's faster to walk than it is to drive in many cases.

I still have a few breadsticks left that I really enjoy in the evenings - with my non-alcoholic Bitburger beer! In fact, I'm enjoying them both right now!

Can't think of much more I can tell you. Just that I miss my family and friends and thanks to ALL of you who are praying for me and the team. We all appreciate it!

I did go to church yesterday - it was a very nice - very similar to what I know... A bunch of fun loving Christians who can't sing very well, but love the Lord! Very similar to many churches I've been too. :-) The preacher was an Army Chaplain who delivered a very good message about what it means to be born again - if you haven't read the story - check it out - just look in your index for Nicodemus or follow the links below.

Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3:1-21)


The preacher was a Jim Carey look a like and he did a great impersonation of him!

Several people were really touched by the message and it was great to see the Holy Spirit at work here in Afghanistan.

OK - enough of my preaching. Seriously, thanks for the prayers!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Meaning of Our Symbol

The Meaning of Our Symbol

The U.S. Air Force symbol honors the heritage of our past and represents the promise of our future. It retains the core elements of our Air Corps heritage -- the "Arnold" wings and star with circle -- and modernizes them to reflect our air and space force of today and tomorrow.

The symbol has two main parts. In the upper half, the stylized wings represent the stripes of our strength -- the enlisted men and women of our force. They are drawn with great angularity to emphasize our swiftness and power, and they are divided into six sections which represent our distinctive capabilities -- air and space superiority, global attack, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority, and agile combat support.

In the lower half are a sphere, a star and three diamonds. The sphere within the star represents the globe. It reminds us of our obligation to secure our nation's freedom with Global Vigilance, Reach and Power. The globe also reminds us of our challenge as an expeditionary force to respond rapidly to crises and to provide decisive aerospace power, worldwide.

The area surrounding the sphere takes the shape of a star. The star has many meanings. Its five points represent the components of our Total Force and family -- our active duty, civilians, Guard, Reserve and retirees. The star symbolizes space as the high ground of our nation's air and space force. The rallying symbol in all our wars, the star also represents our officer corps, central to our combat leadership.

The star is framed with three diamonds, which represent our core values -- integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. The elements come together to form one symbol that presents two powerful images -- at once it is an eagle, the emblem of our nation, and a medal, representing valor in service to our nation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Somebody pick me up!

Holly Molly!!
Yes - I thought I had died!!!
I'm walkin down the street and I see this guy on a John Deer tractor!!! People were scurrying out of the way and I said to myself - "No way - this CAN'T be David!!!"
Well, the guy got a little closer and sure enough - I thought I was going to crap my pants.

It sure LOOKED like David - after all, he WAS on a John Deer TRACTOR!!! Pulling a load no less... Had a mustache!!! But that's what gave it away - it WASN'T GRAY!!! HAHAHAHA!

But of course, I had to take the guy's picture because I knew nobody would believe me if I told them we are fighting the war with guys on John Deer tractors... My guess is now that David knows this secret, he'll be at the recruiting office first thing tomorrow morning!!!

The first full week is almost over. Lots of fun and exciting things going on.

More to come...

I'm fine - been feeling pretty good. Food here is great and the weather has not been to bad to date - looks like they have SNOW in the forecast - that should make it very interesting around here....


Thursday, March 19, 2009


It's FRIDAY tomorrow!!! Yeah! It's funny that I even know that... All the days seem the same. It's been a long week, but we are finally getting into a rhythm and running on all cylinders - well, kind of... that's a long story.

I posted some more pics from CST - And I took some today here @ BAF. All the pics posted to BAF1 are from the same relative standing position - so you can see there is a 360 degree panoramic view of the mountains! That makes for some BEAUTIFUL sunrises and sunsets! And you know I'm up for both of them everyday!

I'll take more in the next few days - many areas are restricted.

So some added to this album (9 I think)


And my first pics from BAF are here:


More to come...

I'm going to call my parents tomorrow! :-) About 10AM FL time.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

First "off" Day

It was Sunday today - was because it's almost over... Yes, I did remember it was the Lord's day although I did not make it to church. I worked most of the day and came back to my hooch for a little clean up that needed to be done - the dust is terrible and must be dealt with daily just to avoid having a filthy place! So a weekly cleaning is also required - which is how I spent most of my afternoon. Then we had a 1930 Newcomers Briefing and met the 755th AEG Commander - a very nice (genuine) guy. We also met his staff (1st Sgt and CSS (Commander Support Staff) people - but not the Chief! Apparently he was stuck in Qatar - the R&R place... Hummm.... That's funny.... :-)

As we finish our first week (and it wasn't even a full week) we look to move into our projects hard and heavy tomorrow. There is a LOT of work to be done and we have just the team of people to execute it. There will surely be challenges along the way and we will met and exceed all of them - I'm sure.

They majority of the guys/gals all had a relaxing day and they really needed it. The structures guys we in high demand for renovations to many of the interior hooches. Most of that was accomplished and we celebrated with a few Bitburger (non-alcoholic) beers (readily available at the PX). Chief's Treat! :-) Of course, I had a few myself...

I'm going to try and call my kids tonight before I hit the bed. I did manage a good Skype call with Pam the other day and it was WONDERFUL to see her face and we sure had a nice talk. The audio and video was pretty good then. Yesterday, I tried to Skype with Heidi and Jeff and we had a few issues, but I did get to see both of them and gave them a virtual tour of my hooch! - Not too exciting!

Hopefully I'll get to speak with Shelly and the kids - that's my first call tonight.

Hope you all reading this are well and I'm doing fine - feeling a LOT better than yesterday!!! I'm back in the up swing and ready to get to work tomorrow. I do need a good night sleep tonight and I think everything will be gone in the next couple of days. Maybe the BEER was the cure!!!

Love Mark.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I bumped my head! :-)

So I whapped my melon on a door frame today. Hurt like hell...
Not to mention it was inside and of course I didn't have my hat or helmet on. The facility we work out of has 5-5.5 foot doorways - yes, some of them are just that high. Some are 6 ft - but that's the limit. I can walk through the front door without ducking, but inside the building, everywhere else I go I have to bend over - more than a duck!!!

Anyway - this time I came up a little early - oh yeah, they are also 1-2 ft in width!!! (made of concrete!!!)

So that's how I ended my day - Also walked with the Col to review a job site and take some mental notes. I have a lot more of that to do tomorrow.

I'm sick - again... chest cold this time. Today I actually felt kinda crappy - days leading up to this we OK - just coughing a lot and lots of nasty stuff to spit out (I know - thanks for sharing).

You have to realize how easy it is to think of things I can't write about... Your stuck with the stuff I can... :-)

My hooch is a 7X10 ft plywood box. I do have a door and there is a desk here for my cpu and a bed - that's pretty much it. I can tell you I REALLY miss my own bed now!!! The latrines are just a short 30 yrd walk and upstairs are the showers in the same building. That's not so bad - there is a LOT of walking to be done - the DFAC (Dining Facility) is close by and so is a PX (Post Exchange) of getting some small things. The laundry is drop off/pick up. That facility is a good jaunt to the other side of the camp - probably more like a 1/4 mile. It's a 1.5 mile walk to work - but you don't have to walk. There is a shuttle bus that runs up and down the main drag every 15 min - so it's easy to get from one side of the base to the other or anywhere in between.

I have my own vehicle (for the most part - I let the CC and OPS Officer drive it if they ask nicely) I'll find out now if they are reading this....

Working with everyone has been good - the guys/gals that we replaced did the best they could and tried hard to make the transition easy for everyone.
I'm tired - going to bed. I started this and fell asleep! :-)
Gnite all!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Im Here - really

A LOT of you are probably upset with me because I've been spoiling you with regular posts up till now... well - sorry about that!

It's 6AM ish and I just have a few minutes before my first meeting @ 0630 today. I got up @ 0400 to meet with the group that was leaving. Yesterday was our first official full day as the 755th ECES/UD.

So the weather here is nice and cool at night and warms up to just about HOT by mid-day. Only in the 60's, but it seems warm. DUSTY!!! Holly Molly!!! Dust is TERRIBLE. My computer already has a thick layer on the keys and I'm going to have to figure something out to keep it clean or the blogs will stop!

Not to worry, I'll take care of it....

So I'm safe and sound - lots of work to do here.

More posts coming regularly now - especially the next couple days as we get into the weekend. I'll have some time to spend in my HOOCH cleaning up and straightening things up as I've not had a chance for that activity yet - most of you know I do not like to be unorganized and I can't depend on my wife to find things for me while I'm here (she's really good at that and I miss her for that and many other things...)

Love Mark.

Friday, March 6, 2009



I made it to Norfolk. One step closer. Leaving was VERY hard this time - as you can imagine. There are some GREAT photos here:


It was a very emotional goodbye, but all I can say now is I so look forward to the return! In between, it will be mission focused and I couldn't be prouder to be with the men and women from the 94th CES.

My next post will probably not be until I am situated in Bagram. It will likely be a few days and they will be long hard days, but I promise to post as soon as possible.

Enjoy the pics - the media from WSB was there - may of you may have seen the coverage on Channel 2.

Thanks to all for all your support - it means the world to me.