Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Another e-mail from Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Jorge Torres, whom I know as a scoutmaster in my church (and one of the finest scoutmasters I have ever known) is a reservist now serving in Afghanistan. Jorge has only been there a few weeks, and I posted his earlier e-mail home here.

Now we have another report from Jorge, direct from the front lines in the war. He sent pictures and I will post those also, as soon as I have a little more time. Here's what Jorge has to say:

Thank you all so much for your emails. After being on duty for 16 hours or
more I can’t wait to get back and check the email or to see if anything came
from home. When I am relieved from duty I patiently wait to arrive to my resting
area. I receive my new orders for the following day. Some duties are a little
more troubling then others. Sometimes you can’t help but sit there and wonder
what may happen. You pack according to your assignment. The more risky the
assignment the better you pack your belongings. Everything that your family may
and can use you pack tight with a lock and tell your buddies send this home if
something happens with a set of instructions. All the rest in the duffle bag.
You pack your ruck sack and your assault pack and lay them on your cot.
Hopefully you didn’t take to long in packing everything because you need your
rest. You rush and take a shower if it’s your turn (every three days) and hope
for the best. In truth I rather be stuck in a fire fight then be blown by an IED
(Improvised Explosive Device). That’s a story better left unsaid.

You all ask what we could use down here and for the Afghanistan people. I
think for the American Soldiers knowing that we have you guys (Family, Friends,
The American People) in the rear we couldn’t be more blessed. We receive
packages down here from so many different people. Girl Scouts sending cookies to
grandma sending extra socks. Truly God has made such a wonderful place called
America. Oh how I miss that place! Home sweet home. The Saturday mornings
thinking of cutting grass. The yelling for Dad to the wife asking me to work on
her car. The worries of the family to the house duties all seem so simple now.
What ever made me think it was so hard.

I keep telling myself that its Monday 06:00. When soldiers ask I tell them
it's Monday morning six O’clock. They tell me it can’t be its afternoon. I tell
them soldier if you’re in the Army in this place with me it’s always Monday
morning six o’clock. They stand there perplexed. At times I can’t tell what day
it is because I truly convince myself that the day has started. I don’t want to
know what day it is until they say pack your bags and go home. Till then I
continue to stand here and do my job. Supported with a firm foundation (America,
family and friends) and trust me the Afghanistan people can see this.

On the other hand I stand there and look at my little buddy name Bob who
dances for something to eat; I can’t help but turn around and hope that my
watery eyes behind my military sunglasses do not give me away. I gave what I
can, what ever I packed in my assault pack which really isn’t much and hoped
that it was enough for him. I continue on my watch and hope that God some way
some how would make time go by faster.

Enough about this!Here are my observations.

1) The male population really has bad shoes. I think by American standards
even are old shoes are better then what they wear.

2) The children are going to school or those that can get there. If you
look at the pictures you will see that they have clothing. But there are many in
other villages that do not. Worse, no well to perform hygiene. It appears they
wear the same clothes day in and out for those that do not have a well. This
village is lucky and does have a well.

3) The children could use paper, pencils and pens to write. It appears they
value pens very much. A small care package in a one Gallon Hefty Glad bag with a
composition book or pad with a pencil makes a perfect gift for the

4) Candy and more candy. Most soldiers pick up sandwich bags and throw in
some candy, pens and pencils. We assemble I guess little care packages. That
really makes all the difference in the world. I can’t even begin to
explain the multitude of children running behind the Hummers (Military Vehicles)
asking for water and food.

In closing I can’t think but feel what Jesus felt when the children
gathered around him quote "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have
him touch them,but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was
indignant. He said to them,"Let the little children come to me, and do not
hinder them, for the kingdom of Godbelongs to such as these. I tell you the
truth; anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will
never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and
blessed them. Mark 10:13-16Well my good friends, my love ones until my next
email and new encounters.God bless…Note: Can you tell I have a little time off
today, Thank God!

Picture bob1, the little boy who dances for food. This picture taken from
the tower.

Picture school1, a bunch of little girls running to school. They can not
wave at us because the elders will beat them. So they try to give us thumbs up
when they can.

Picture go to school, two girls I guess the best of friends walking to

Picture rosi, this little girl came up with her brother to get water at the
well. Reminds me of my mother and her stories of getting water at the

Picture JackJill, The best picture ever I think. Reminds me of my wife and
me how young we where when we started our journey together.

Picture Dad52, All this watching from the tower. A little risky when the
Taliban has been trying to hit the towers with home made rockets. The last time
they came too close.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting these e-mails from your friend, who is so obviously a very good man indeed. They not only personalize the conflict in ways that make it difficult for me to read them without tearing up, but is such a refreshingly different perspective from the daily casualty count that passes for "reporting" from the MSM. Please let Joe--and his family (how they must worry for him!)--know how much his sacrifices are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 11:44:00 AM  

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