After watching the teams assemble the weapons, my interpreter Omid and I started the hike back down the hill. The 173rd Airborne’s joint teams found it much easier going down the mountain and proceeded into a run to their next event. Their next tasking would evaluate their land navigation skills. They were provided a map of the ANA camp and they would have to seek out bright yellow puzzle pieces. After they collected all 9 pieces of the puzzle, they would convene again at the next station for additional instructions.
Omid and I took a shortcut to the next station and we passed a large group of soldiers preparing to go to chow at their new DFAC. I haven’t been inside yet, but plan to visit it in the near future. I
also spotted some ANA soldiers playing volleyball using an invisible net. At the next staging point the teams were required to decipher the puzzle pieces by forming a word.
Since the characters were in Pashto, this test was given to the ANA soldiers to resolve. Surprisingly, none of the ANA soldiers were able to resolve the puzzle. Only after the
answer was shown to them (Minister of Defense) did they acknowledge what the answer was. Since no team could resolve it, all of the teams were assessed a 2 minute penalty.
The next test involved preparing an MRAP for a typical mission. The teams were timed but also evaluated on their knowledge and training
skills. In the picture, are the first aid backpack, ammunition, M-240b machine gun, gunner’s seat and harness. The squads would have to properly mount the weapon and ammunition, use the radio equipment and electronics properly, etc. Some of the teams were penalized for minor mistakes such as not combat locking their doors and were
assessed penalty points for the infractions. Each team was given a 3-minute time out so the evaluator could point out the infractions and the teams could learn from their mistakes.
The last leg of the competition was a jaunt back to the starting point which also served as a finish line. The teams were pretty tired by this point, but drew on their reserve energy to sprint back to the finish. Here their times would be assessed and penalties calculated. When all of the points were tallied, there was a two-way tie between Alpha and Bravo Company. To resolve the tie-breaker a litter carry race was held on the Landing Zone. Bravo Company edged out Alpha and was declared this year’s champion.
Later in the day, my team prepared the MRAPs for tomorrow’s mission. We are still turning in excess and unserviceable equipment through the Army Supply system. Tomorrow should be another fun day.
11 Mar 10 Mission: Still no fresh eggs, fruit, milk, cereal or bread at the DFAC. No ketchup, mustard, or coffee creamer either. We are all hoping the delivery truck will arrive today. The DFAC is getting creative with their meals these past two weeks in anticipation of the delivery truck arriving. It’s still better than having to eat MREs … lol.
We departed the camp with our excess Humvees and drove through the capital city. The air was filled with a lot of smog this morning, but it was another unusually warm day. In fact, we used the air condition inside the MRAP on the return trip. It heats up rather quickly when you have all of the protective gear on. Anyways, on the trip
there, the Captain used my camera to take a close up of a typical horse cart loaded with vegetables. I also had to maneuver around a motorcycle that was overloaded with supplies. I knew the driver couldn’t see or hear me. It amazes me how Afghans are able to load these items and then balance them without wrecking. Shortly after that, we passed a bicycle that had the same configuration, but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to take his picture.
We spent most of the day processing paperwork and running back and forth to the various offices. Overall, it was a very successful and uneventful day. While at Camp Phoenix I visited their bazaar and found a mink blanket that really appealed to me. I didn’t buy it just yet; I was hoping to get Mrs. T’s approval … lol. I know our dogs Charlie and Sam enjoy napping on these blankets and since it’s a picture of their ancestors, it should really appeal to them.
Filed under: Mentoring ANA | Tagged: 173rd Airborne Brigade Support Battalion, Afghan National Army, Afghanistan, Alpha Company, ANA, Bravo Company, Camp Phoenix bazaar, Deployment, ETT, FOB Shank, MRAP, MRE, U.S. Air Force, war | Leave a comment »