Before I started Time Now, I kept a blog called 15-Month Adventure, about my service as a US Army advisor to the Afghan National Army from 2008-2009. In its time, 15-Month Adventure was more popular than Time Now has ever been, measured by number of views. Still, it was never a blog for the masses, and you could easily be a reader of Time Now and not even know 15-Month Adventure existed.
If you care to check them out, below are links to several 15-Month Adventure posts that tell some of the most significant and interesting stories related to my deployment. The posts here are largely drawn from the first seven months in Afghanistan, when I was the leader of an advisor team (known as “ETTs,” or “Embedded Transition Team”) on Camp Clark in Khost Province. Camp Clark was co-located with Camp Parsa, the home of the Afghan National Army 1st Brigade, 203 Corps, which was the unit with whom my advisor team worked.
Looking back at the posts, I’d say most of them concern the ambiguity of the events I lived through and the Afghans I met, while others record the respect for the men and women with whom I served. There’s also a few that describe combat or events that happened after I redeployed.
Red Beard. A strange encounter with an Afghan elder.
LACKA-LACKA. Afghans relished verbal back-and-forth.
Orientalism. We knew so little about the Afghans with whom we worked.
Big Tent. Encounters with Afghan women were few, but telling.
A Little Bit of Afghan Goofiness. When things got crazy, you had to laugh.
500 Mattresses. About corruption and knowing who to trust.
New Yorker: More about corruption and knowing who to trust.
Sabari. A hardcore Pashtun elder was surprisingly easy to work with.
The BSO. BSO stands for “Battle Space Owner.” I learned a lot from the BSO in Khost.
Swenson. A fellow advisor was awarded the Medal of Honor.
War Horses. In praise of my XO and Sergeant Major.
All Hail the Defenders of Spera COP. My worst fear was that our tiny outpost on the Pakistan border might be overrun.
Spera COP Sector Sketch. More on Spera COP.
Afghanistan Combat Medic. One of our medics was a true hero.
The Best ETT of Us All. In memoriam.
Me Time. How we tried to take care of each other and relax in our down time.
The KG. Every trip into the Khost-Gardez Pass was epic.
Tani. While we were there, Tani was a quiet place that inspired reverie.
Up Sabari Way. In Sabari, anything could happen, and usually did.
Pat Tillman. We traveled to Spera District Center, near where Pat Tillman was killed.
The Death of Hekmatullah. About a gun-battle just outside of Camp Clark.
On the Border. Two ambushes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier.
Big Battle. Insurgents occupied a government office building in downtown Khost.
12 May 2009 Redux. More pictures from the big battle in downtown Khost.
Bronze Star with V Device. An award recommendation for a Special Forces sergeant. Not written by me, I should say, though I heartily approve.
RPG Boom-Boom. When rocket propelled grenades come your way, it is no joke.
Gun Run. Calling in two Kiowa Warrior helicopter gunships.
Still. Thinking about a very bad day in Afghanistan.
The Road That Dare Not Speak Its Name. The name of the main road through our sector was classified.
The Prettiest of Trees The Dogwood Now. Encountering a former student, now a disabled veteran.
Man Down. About a motorcycle accident.
Fallen Soldier. A picture from a memorial service in Khost.