Aug 1, 2005 Hi all, I leave for Kabul, Afghanistan this Thursday, August 4th. I hope to be gone no more than 90 days but that is still uncertain. Wish me luck, keep in touch and I hope to be home before anyone figures out I am there. Cheers, Rick
Aug 5, 2005 (Day 1) Hi all, I will be out of the net for a while. I am safe in Kabul supporting the great "Osama Hunt". I am safe in the rear in the NATO / ISAF Base. Drop me a note when you have a few minutes. I will send pictures when I get some. Love you all, Rick
Richard W. Penland Location: Lost somewhere in 2005
Aug 6, 2005 (Day 2) Subject: Re: Hello from Afghanistan Hi all, We drove up to Bagram Air Base this morning. There were Mine Fields along side of the road that have not been cleared. They line a lot of the road between Kabul and Bagram. Well, I gotta run. Long day again tomorrow. Semper Fi, Rick
Aug 7, 2005 (Day 3) Subject: Afghanistan Good morning from Afghanistan, All is well here. So far I have not seen any combatants that I know of. I am sure they are out there but they do not where signs identifying them. Our compound is fairly secure and the last rocket / mortar attack was in May of this year. The attack hit the building where all of the Generals sleep. I have seen a few of the Afghan Army Personnel along the road to Bagram and was not impressed. They do not stop you at the check points and they just come out and offer you water (which is the source of colera so I am told) and wave to you. The road was loaded with trucks hauling petroleum (marked "Dangerous Fuel) and trucks hauling freight. There are many brick kilns throughout this area and they are fired by burning old tires. As you can guess, polution is not on the agenda right now. I noticed many walls built along the road to Bagram. I was told that they claim land by putting up walls around it, sort of like staking a mining claim. The land is mostly desert and barren mountains with only a few green areas. I have not seen a river but there are indications of underground water in green areas because of the willow bushes that grow in some low areas. The people in Kabul and Bagram seem very busy but are mostly unemployed. Children run loose on the street at around 3-5 years old. Many of them trying to sell you things near the base. We do not stop or even encourage them because it will make more kids want to do this and many will get hurt in the traffic. Traffic comes from all directions and the roads are sometimes like driving the wrong way on a freeway with cars going both directions in all areas of the road. There are no painted lines on the roads so I guess it is okay. Horns are used to let others know you are trying to pass or to let them know they are getting too near. The only police I have seen have been in the city. Mostly you see them flaging traffic and they do not have guns and are not even poorly trained. It is pretty much just chaos for the most part. I will try to get some pictures to send, but it is hard when I am driving, and when I am the passenger, I have my hands on two loaded weapons at all times so it will be a challange. I am not afraid, but am very cautious and my eyes are always scanning for problems and navigating unless I am driving, then it is just watching traffic and pot holes. The roads are in a terribly poor state of repair. Well I better get off the computer and get to work. Semper Fi, Rick
Aug 8, 2005 (Day 4) Subject: Re: Hello from Afghanistan Good Evening, I landed early this morning around 0650. I didn't get much sleep in the C017 I flew in on from Germany. We were packed in really tight. All seats were taken and no floor space to sleep on. It is hot and dusty and the wind blew dust around all day. I got checked in and got a room but will have to move to another one on Wednesday Morning. I got my security badge so I can get around. I went to many places and met many people and did tons of paperwork. I needed toilet paper and went to supply to get some and was handed a form for that too. I told them to give me a whole bunch of them and left to go to the bathroom. I don't think that Italian Major thought that was too funny especially when I took out my Kabar and cut the whole stack in two for toilet paper. Life is tough all over. My buddy ordered a couple of pairs of steel scissors and when we went to supply to pick them up, we noticed in the bag was two boxes. It turned out to be metal sheers. Kabul is at about 5900 feet elevation and you get winded fast here just going up a set of stairs. This is going to be a hoot.
Semper Fi, Rick
Well, those were a few email I sent back from Afghanistan and I won't bore you with all of the emails I sent. Below are some pictures of my time in Afghanistan. Enjoy.