Latest e-mail from Afghanistan
Last night I went on my 2nd patrol. I was asked to accompany a group of soldiers. Mortar squad on this patrol. The elections are really closer then before and we are ramping up patrols at nearby villages. Anyhow I had just taken a shower and was sitting at my cot when one of the sergeants delivered the news. I looked at him and faithfully answered the call.
I took my trusted side kick SGT. Olson (RTO) and headed to the meeting place. We check all are gear and ensure we had what we needed. This was SGT. Olson's first patrol so I knew he was a little concerned. I am not one of the youngest within the patrol but it’s amazing how the word gets out. I have heard many positive things from the other guys about me. The word is I am a patient quiet individual. I keep to myself and take care of the guys. What the heck puts me in an odd position? Oh well, as I started getting dressed things went through my mind. What would I come up against? I got ready and prepared my belongings and other items.
The patrol took place outside of gate 19. To my surprise I have gone to this village-- the village where the family was locked up. I knew my surroundings well. But there was one difference. IT WAS DARK! In my mind I hoped I would come across those people that caused this family problems. But on the other hand I was concerned with the squad. I know no training can ever prepare you for every situation, but I knew this place.
The orders where clear. We were to tell the elder of the village that we knew he had anti- American people harbored in the village somewhere and he is to expel them from the village or turn them in. The man was very mad and if I am correct it appeared he had been harboring individuals in the villages. He made no effort to assure us otherwise. I expected the worst as we moved away from the village.
We radioed in and gave situation reports. Ever get that feeling you should be going? Well I did but could not. Back into the village we went. Not once or twice but three times. Each and every time I was ready for what ever came. The pack was heavy for my RTO so I took it. It reminded me of the trip I took with my sons Boy Scout troop (Troop 49) to Mt. Whitney. Heavy cold and rocky. I thought I would never see the end of that trip.
Well the end sure came for this one. We packed, checked the vehicles headed back to the base. Oh for crying out loud! We went the same way we came! Doesn’t anybody know that when there is a full moon the Taliban goes gardening? They love to plant those nasty IED's on the road. What makes it worse we where going back the same way we came. That gives them a head start. Hello! Nothing I could do but pray. Yes, as you can see I made it. Because obviously I am writing this.
After every patrol a debrief takes place. I gave the officers my two bits. Change the route! My only concern at this point is that they listen. For now thanks for reading this. Needed you to know what's happening in my world. Love you all take care of my home.
SSG. Torres, Jorge L.