Friday, October 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Flying in formation, stag left.
The trip to Jalalabad was very beautiful, with a large river providing moisture for the whole valley. It was all very green; unlike most of the rest of Afghanistan that I have seen.
Another photo enroute to J-bad
I really liked this area, with a larger city built around the river.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
These last two months or so I have been working out more consistently and eating more healthy food to try to whip myself into shape. That means that good food is on my mind constantly, so I have already thought of several places I would like to eat out at when I get home. I have really been craving pizza, so we will be visiting Mellow Mushroom, which we used to eat at quite a bit while I was in flight school, since there is a Mellow Mushroom in Enterprise, AL.
I love pizza and have always heard so much about authentic NY pizza, but have never been able to try it since I have never really lived near or visited NY. We love to make pizza at home, but the dough never turns out the way I want it to. Don't get me wrong, I still love the homemade pizza, but I want it to taste better. A few months before deployment, I ran across a website of a man who has been trying to recreate an authentic NY pizza at his home in Atlanta, GA for the past 10 years. Jeff Varasano has a website, www.varasanos.com where he details how he came up with the recipe and cooking technique to make a NY pizza. In March he opened a restaurant in Atlanta, Varasano's Pizzeria, and seeing as how our journey will take us right through there, part of our vacation plan now includes a stop at his restaurant.
Once I thought about going to specifically visit an establishment specifically for the food, I started to think about what else I would like to eat while on leave. Something else that I like to make at home is donuts. Homemade donuts are the best, since you can eat them hot and fresh and whenever you want to. I make a mean spudnut, although it has been quite a while since I have taken the time to make them. I started looking on the internet for the best donut shops in the country and ran into a few different sites that have a top 10 donuts list. Unfortunately, some of the best donut shops are not along our route of travel. I found the blog, www.theblognut.blogspot.com recently which follows the donut tasting adventures of blognut as he visits some of the most highly-touted donut shops around the country. I like his dedication to donuts; they're delicious. I would someday like to taste a Round Rock donut, as my brother and his family used to live in Round Rock, TX and have been praising those donuts for years. Fortunately, we will probably be visiting Siesta Key beach on the gulf coast of Florida while we are there, and nearby is Yummies Donuts, that has received some very good reviews on several websites; I am excited!
If anyone knows of any other noteworthy stops from Clarksville, TN to Orlando, FL area, please let me know. It could be food or just something worth stopping to see.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
SPCs Marc Raglin and Javier Medrano and I ordered the Chicken Sizzler. It is chicken cooked in a red sauce, with your choice of steamed rice, fried rice, or french fries on the side. It comes on a plate similar to a fajita plate/dish and is served sizzling, just like the name implies. It took a few moments before it was cool enough to eat. It is a spicy dish with plenty of hot peppers added in, but they offer a normal spicy or the "spicy" spicy. Of course when they asked if I wanted it spicy I had to man up and say, "Of course." Of course that meant that Raglin and Medrano ordered it spicy as well; isn't peer pressure cool? I took the first bite and within two minutes I started to sweat. Soon after my nose began to run. Looking across the table I was pleased to see the other guys using tissues to blow noses/wipe foreheads as well. I am no foreigner to hot foods, but when half of what is on your plate is peppers and you can't take a bite without biting into a pepper seed, it is probably going to be hot. CW2 Justin Mix was the smart one; he ordered a pepperoni pizza. All in all it was an "experience" not soon to be forgotten.
Marc Raglin placing the order; two orange slushies.
Afterward we checked out the coffee shop for the slushies that I highly recommended. Unfortunately I was too full to properly enjoy, so I will have to get one at a later date. The taste is great, reminds me of a shaved ice!
A photo of me, Justin Mix, and Javier "Javi" Medrano. I know I'm not photogenic, so what! Plus my stomach was already beginning to feel the effects of lunch.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Here is a little photo montage of the call we received today. There were two wounded, I am not sure of what cause, but neither was life threatening.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I wasn't sure what the sign was talking about so I opened the door and lo and behold, there are no steps, just a two and a half foot drop right onto the gravel below. First, you need to understand that there used to be stairs there, just a couple of hours before I went into the building. Second, there was no reason to believe that the stairs that had been there for two months would suddenly disappear. I went outside to investigate and apparently the deck that was being built between the Chinook CP and our CP was going to extend to the far end of each CP as well. After a little more investigation I found out that Captain Summers, one of our platoon leaders was the one who wrote the note. He did what anyone who entered the South side of the CP would have done when leaving through the North side of the CP; he opened the door, stepped out into space and fell two and a half feet onto his face into the rocks below. CPT Summers is a pretty happy-go-lucky type, so when I heard the story from him he was laughing about it and joking, but it seems that right after the incident he was quite upset, even uncharacteristically so. It may seem cruel to laugh at someone else's misfortune, but hey, it breaks up the monotony and he was actually no worse for the wear. The second photo is of the next day, after they had begun to build the deck outside of the CP exit and added a couple of planks to walk across.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Softball was a big draw with a multiday tournament and I believe they even flew in a team from Bagram to compete.
I was able to compete on our company's volleyball team. As I was waking up a little after noon, (I am currently flying at night), I heard some of the guys talking about competing in something. I got up to brush my teeth and shave and saw that they had started the volleyball tournament. We won the first game and I was able to play in the second game which we also won. However we fell apart on the third game and ended up losing to the medevac team. It was a blast though and very exciting. I think that everyone who participated in any of these events really enjoyed themselves. It was a nice break from the usual groundhog day routine, (great movie by the way!).
Some of the guys from our company, A Company Comancheros, watching the game before our 3rd volleyball match. Pictured left to right: SPC Raglin, SFC Nelson, CW2 Wilson, SPC Bryer, CW2 Hollandsworth, SPC Powell, CW2 Brillhart, and 1SG Horn. The team consisted of myself, CW2s Hollandsworth and Brillhart, 1SG Horn, and SPCs Powell and Leppink (not pictured).
Thursday, July 2, 2009
This story is one that we took a small part in by launching and retrieving PFC Lucas "D" Dispennette to take him to the FOB Lagman (Qalat) medic station for treatment, where we were stationed on medevac standby.
The Crew: Top left to right: SPC Spencer and SPC Alvis. Bottom: CW2 Mix.