Wednesday, July 8, 2009
We've had a new US Army unit in charge of the area for a couple of weeks now. New units bring different things to the table, mostly good in this case. The guys that left had already been here for awhile when we arrived in November, and we could tell. This new unit has that optimism I remember having when we first showed up...not that we've completely lost it, but it's hard not to be a bit jaded after nearly eight months. It's been very refreshing working with them and seeing how they do business. They're much more willing to work with us and the ANA than their predecessors. They also are happy to get out of their trucks and get up into the mountains, which is nice to see. We're happy to be here to help with the transition and provide some continuity. Given that the end is in sight for us, I think the guys in my unit are starting to get a bit of a second-wind and have really been enjoying ourselves lately, while keeping very busy. We're lucky to have each other.
I learned quite a bit working with several different Army company commanders from the last unit. One of them especially really knew how to put his collection assets to work and then operate based on the things he learned. And as for the old battalion commander, well, he was a character that's for sure. During a small firefight I tripped and "fell down a little hill" (as my 3 year-old nephew would phrase it) while running toward the old battalion CO to let him know my unit and the ANA were going to move on out of the area. Falling on my sprained wrist I let out an "Ah!", and he looked at me and laughingly said, "Are you shot?" It's not every battalion commander that's out there calling fires and talking to air support during a firefight - but he was there.