Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back from Tarin Kowt

We are back from Tarin Kowt. It was supposedly a suicide mission, with over 3000 taliban forces in the mountains between here and there. We were escorting over 100 ANA light-skinned vehicles, and it took 14 hours for us to travel ~170km. We made ZERO contact although we lost one soldier.

We stayed a couple of days because it was "too dangerous" for us to drive back through the pass. We actually ended up flying back on a Canadian C-130.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Books and redecorating

Well, I have read several more books, and watched several more movies. I've watched "1408" which is an adaptation of a Stephen King short story. It was an okay movie. I've read several other books from the CP, none were really outstanding in any way.

I have also redecorated some. Instead of using a plastic footlocker for a seat, I'm now using an ammo crate. I have two other ammo crates that are being used as shelves on and under my desk. It has freed up a little bit of room. There's still some question as to whether we will move into B-huts, and if so, when. Many of us would, by now, prefer to remain where we are, since the B-Huts would probably not be wired for the MWR network, and would only be wired for Hajji-net after we moved in.

Myself, I'm still only focussed on my leave, which is coming up soon. I haven't started counting hours yet, but it won't be long.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Truck fixed

The truck has been fixed. New brakes, and we put a new rear bumper on it, so we can strap fuel cans to the bumper, and put more mortar ammo in the trunk. There might come a day soon when we need it...

However, in the meantime, we are all staying trained up. We had a Combat Life Saver refresher course today (CLS). We had to give an IV to another soldier (I gave an IV to White, and did a decent job this time), and we had to be given an IV as well (White gave me an IV and we discovered that I have veins of steel. The catheter actually BENT as he was trying to insert it into my vein. But the second time went much better). In addition, we discussed NPAs and OPAs, pressure dressings, tourniquets, and suchlike. It was very informative.

I also discovered that Captain Sevilla will be flying home at the same time as me. Probably on the same flight, even, since there are not many flights leaving around the same time as mine. She was the Physicians Assistant who palpated my potential hernia earlier in this deployment. She has a good sense of humor and doesn't take her rank too seriously (can I say that? We'll find out, I guess).

Also I tried to complete another of my goals for weight training a few days ago and I am JUST short of the mark. I am sure I can do it next time, though.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Truck is in the shop

Our truck is in the shop and has been for 3 days. We evidently drove it until the brake pads were ground down to metal. And then drove it some more. In the meanwhile, we've used a borrowed truck to go on missions. That's always a super huge pain in the tuckus, as it involves taking the other crews equipment out, storing it in our area, putting our gear in and setting it up the way we want it, then when we're done with the missions, doing the opposite (ours back out, theirs back in). It just adds a lot of work to the prep stage of a mission.

Our last mission was another trip to Sperwhen Gar. We gave 1 to 5 odds against us making contact and actually made $6. I hope I can make some more money this way before I go on leave. hehe.

I have 3 more exercise days to test my last achievable goal before going on leave, so I have to really push myself on that. I feel pretty confident on it though. And my body weight has not been an issue. The heaviest I've found myself weighing so far is right at 180lbs.

Sadly, I'm out of books again. I have one Terry Pratchett book left that I'm saving for the trip home, I've read all the others. Now I'm going through the library in the company CP, but sadly, most of those are violent detective/murder mystery type novels, which just don't help me maintain my witness very well.

Anyway, now I have guard duty for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leave is not CANCELLED, just delayed

In case any of you are worried, my leave has not been cancelled, just pushed back a little bit.

The men we sent to Camp Phoenix have come back, and brought with them Capt. Pinson, who will be staying on our FOB for a week or so. In addition to being a former member of the unit (both enlisted and officer), he is also 1) my insurance agent, and 2) the son of a deacon at my church, and 3) graduated from the same college as me.

Lately I've been playing a lot of EverQuest. The new internet provides fairly decent ping, so I have two options for connectivity, which is good.

Not much else new is happening. Well, I did see a cat the other day and fed it some tuna. And Lindsey, the dog, is gaining a lot of weight. She looks healthy for the first time in a while. Actually, for the first time since I've ever seen her.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My leave is delayed

The 1st Sgt told me today that he has the flight schedule for November, and I am not flying out on the first. This makes me sad. I'm sure when Sgt. Knight gets back, he will be unhappy about this as well.

However, this does mean that I have more time to make sure that the new HajjiNet is working up to speed before I go home on leave. That's important to everyone here, since most of the guys use Skype to talk to their families. Or Yahoo Instant Messenger.

Now that I know I'll be leaving later, I need to reassess my PT goals (3 out of 5 so far!) and think more carefully about what to pack for the trip.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My role as network administrator for Hajji Net

So. We have commercial internet access. Some/Most of the time, anyway. I refer to it as "Hajji Net," because we call the local nationals "Hajji's." I'm given to understand that this is a title given to a muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, but I haven't looked that up, it's just hearsay.

Anyway, the commercial internet is being provided by locals, hence HajjiNet. Due to my background in computers and networking, I've been "asked" to make sure that the locals know what they're doing when they set up the network. So I've been getting lots of questions about "Why doesn't my internet work?" and "What's wrong with my computer?" and that sort of thing.

I've had to re-crimp cables, troubleshoot bad cables, bad ports, and in general bad networking practices. I've helped to run the cable and offered advice on how to configure the network. I also spend a good bit of time testing the networks response, to make sure it's running at the speed we were promised.

In order to do all this, I've been pulled off of mission duty, and not been assigned any guard duty. I spend all my time working on fixing computers, testing the network, or troubleshooting new problems. It's been a lot of fun, frankly, and I'm really glad that I have some skills that can prove useful to everyone in the company, and to their families.

I do still want a wireles router, though. /grin

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The time for handwarmers is now...

The weather has finally changed. It's getting cold here. If I were to wear my shorts and t-shirt outside even in the early afternoon, it would be chilly. My feet get cold just sitting in my area typing away on my computer, even though I'm wearing socks and boots!

Now is the time, if you are of a mind, to send handwarmers! And knee-high socks. I have determined that I get cold easily because my entire shin has a mere 1/4th inch of skin over it. No fat, no muscle, just skin and underlying tissue. So, when the weather is cold, my BONES get cold. It's hard to stay warm that way.

Only 4 more weeks until my leave starts. 27 days, really, and that's 648 hours, or less!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The new internet

So. The commercial internet has come to FOB Lindsey. But it has it's problems. So much so, in fact, that I was removed from a 4-day mission and left behind so I could work on fixing the new internet.

After 5 hours of troubleshooting and work, I was able to make it work. However, it still needs considerable tweaking, so I'm off mission rotation until it's up and working at the speed we expect.

Feels good to be able to really contribute something to the company.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday, October 1st

My leave is supposed to be in 30 days.

Horne's leave was supposed to start today. His flight was cancelled, so they brought him back here and told him "we'll call you when there's a flight available." So, leave doesn't necessarily start when they tell you it will. Which is understandable, and I expect there to be some flexibility in the dates.

Also, yesterday, I fixed the internet. It had been down for a day and a half, and the brigade staff personnel had looked at it "for two days" according to the 1st Sgt., and it would require the attention of someone who was at Camp Phoenix. Well, I looked at it for 30 minutes and thought about it, and I got it fixed. Not hard. There was a shorted out port on the core switch, and plugging a cable into that port meant that the switch would overflow with bad packets, and the switch above it would block the port due to flow control/bad packets.

So, I felt pretty good that the old network administrator skills are still sharp.

Finally, we had a mission today, out past FOB Wilson. Another one of those "you're almost guaranteed to make contact! They've been ambushing convoys here constantly! They'll be waiting for us!" type of missions.

Naturally, nothing happened. I'm going to start a betting pool, maybe.