Sunday, April 12, 2009

NATO weapons transition

You know, I don't miss being bothered constantly by the Afghans...until I'm not. It's been a while now that I've been gone, and I miss my little outpost in the middle of nowhere, where my Afghan soldiers wake me early in the morning to complain about a toothache or to ask to borrow a tool.

Until I saw how things are run with the 'embedded' trainers at other bases I really didn't appreciate how lucky I am to live in such close proximity to the Afghans. My Afghan commander lives in the room directly below me, and we see each other all hours of the day and night. We eat pretty much the same food and live in the same conditions and do the same things together. Sometimes it's a pain being so accessible and I just want some peace and time to myself, but it's much more rewarding than the sterile relationships these other guys have, where there's no shared hardship or proximity to build that bond.

As for here near Kabul, it's been a slow but relatively interesting week. Helping out with teaching the Afghans to shoot the M16 has been enlightening. Most of them actually shoot pretty well, though when they are shooting at paper targets they don't really get into it very much. Give them an armored vehicle or a steel bell to shoot at though, and they get excited. The ones that don't shoot well, really don't shoot well. We had a guy miss the entire 2x4 foot target with 15 straight rounds from 25 meters away until we figured out he was using the wrong eye to look through the sights. I had wondered why his head was cocked all weird. It took awhile but we convinced him he'd be better off shooting using his right eye if we were going to shoot right-handed.

The training done here is run by civilian contractors. I'm just here to learn a bit and then go back and train the rest of our battalion. All the trainers are former military, usually infantry or SF. They're a cocky bunch, competent and entertaining to be around with all manner of funny stories from around the world, although the amount of hours they put in working is pretty sparse given their salaries. Spending time with them has been educational for me on many levels. The contractors tend to curse and yell at the Afghans more than I do when I'm doing training back "home", but then these guys can get away with it because they don't have to live with the ANA the way I do; I'm a bit reluctant to anger my Afghans too much, considering my life is really in their hands.

Civilian contracting certainly seems like a pretty good gig if you can get it since these guys really aren't working very many hours for the ridiculous amount of money they make, though I'm not sure I would want to run rifle ranges all the time. Of course, not all these guys run rifle ranges - plenty of other opportunities exist for all manner of specialties.


Anonymous said...

Hey man just outta curiosity, you ever gonna ask the guys who pictures you posted on the internet?

Signed, one of the guys whose pictured you posted!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should've looked into contracting before coming back in as a retread after ten years....I can understand how six figures would make you jealous but it goes to show you how this "cocky" bunch can use the skills they learned to move up in the private world.
And as far as the amount of hours we put in, lets not forget pal those are Afghan hours half your boys were late or didnt show up as it was.
I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that.
Before you talk shit and post pictures come up with factual information not your personal opinion.
A former Infantry Corporal who makes a ridiculous amount of money.

P.S. I can be reached for comment at

SA said...

Thanks for the comments. I can understand about the pic so it's gone. As for the text of the entry, I'm not sure what you're complaining about. I think it's everyone's dream to be able to use their skills to make a ton of money while also having plenty of time to work out and pursue degrees. I applaud those taking advantage of the opportunity while it's there.