Friday, October 20, 2006


I love Fridays here. It’s our slow optempo day and for some lucky guys, is a day off. For me it’s a slow optempo day. COL Vitali expects his staff to work on Fridays although not the entire day. For the lucky ones, for example the 2nd BDE guys – my team from Utah, it’s a day off. Ken wisely recognizes the fact that if he works his guys every day all day, burn-out is inevitable.

So why do I love Fridays? Well I get to sleep in for one thing. At home I can never sleep much past 0700 or 0730 – there’s too much to do. Here I have no problem sleeping until 0830 or 0900. It’s great knowing I can lie there in bed and not have to get up immediately. For some young punks, hmm, Aaron comes to mind, he says he can sleep much later than that. He’s been known to sleep until noon or later. I don’t know how he does it. You’d think that someone as old and broken down as I am, I’d be the one who could sleep, but no, it’s the young kids who can do it.

After I get up, I go the gym and workout for 90 minutes or so. It’s great.

After that, I get ready for staff meeting at 1130. Because it’s Friday, it’s usually shorter than other days. After that, we go to lunch or breakfast as the case may be.

Because most of us have nothing to do the rest of the day, we can sit around and talk. Take today for instance, Ken, Steve, Larry Hansen, Jimmy Stewart, Ron Jonas and eventually Aaron and I were sitting there talking. We talked about stupid stuff. We talked about funny stuff. We talked about our families. Mostly we laughed. It was great just to be able to sit there and talk with friends. That’s about the only thing I’m going to miss about this mission, is the ability to sit and talk with friends, commiserate about our problems, glory in our triumphs and gossip about each other, I mean, tell funny stories. Case in point:

On Tuesday, Merrill and I attended a court-martial of a soldier involved in a traffic accident. Don’t get me started on the stupidity of this court-martial. Anyway, we had visitors. Paul Waldron, my good friend from home and one of my JAGs here in another part of the country was in Kabul visiting. He came down with our Navy JAGs to attend the court-martial. The Navy JAGs brought their interpreter. They also brought headsets so we could listen to the translator. Merrill was sitting next to Paul. Poor Paul, he was pretty tired and he kept nodding off during the proceedings. Well Merrill would reach over and turn down the volume of Paul’s headset. Paul would wake up, realize there was a problem and begin to fiddle with the wires on his headset. He didn’t notice that the volume had been turned down, even when he had to turn the volume back up to hear. He would then doze off again. Merrill would then turn the volume all the way up. Paul would wake up and continue to fiddle with the receiver not understanding why it was acting up on him. Apparently this went back and forth for quite some time. Finally Paul caught Merrill in the act.

At the next break, Paul told me the story, laughing as he did so. What made this story so funny is that it was so unlike Merrill to do something like this, or so I thought. I looked at him in a new light. Here was this quite, unassuming guy who we all never suspected was capable of such “sneakery.” As Paul told the story, Merrill turned red in the face. It was pretty funny.

So I shared that story and we all laughed because it was so out of the ordinary for Merrill. This is just one example of the kinds of things we laugh at and talk about. I could share other stories but don’t want to get in too much trouble with my friends.

Of course we talk about Subject A as we all know him and are familiar with this saga.

Laughing is the best part. We all get along so well that it’s easy to laugh at each other and at each others stories. And everyone has one. Boy does everyone have one.

After lunch the 2nd BDE guys go off and watch movies. I make an appearance in my office. I pretend to work but in reality I’m sending off e-mails, writing blog entries and even watching a movie here and there. COL Vitali expects us in our offices so I’m in my office.

Every other Friday the bazaar comes. Today was bazaar day so I walked over to see if an order I placed was ready. Can’t tell you what I ordered though, as they’re intended as Christmas gifts for a lucky few. I wish I could say that going to the bazaar is exciting, but it’s the same vendors as Tuesday bazaar with the same kinds of things. On a rare occasion, you’ll get something different but for the most part it’s the same thing. Despite the sameness, it’s fun to go over and just get away for a few minutes.

The weather was so nice today that Aaraon went outside to clean his weapon. It is a sight to behold. I think he’s a little OC about it but you have to hand it to him, his weapons are clean. I was sitting there talking with him when Steve came over. Then a few others showed up doing various other things and once again, we were laughing and talking.

Friday afternoon around 4:00 p.m. you can smell the aroma of charcoal and grilling steaks. Friday nights are grilled steak and seafood night. The seafood is either lobster tail or crab legs. They also have fried shrimp or fried scallops, but I don’t care of fried seafood. It’s also ice cream sundae night. There’s always huge tubs of Baskin Robbins ice cream, usually strawberry, pralines and cream or vanilla with all the toppings. I indulge myself on Friday nights. I know, we have it pretty rough and I don’t take it for granted as I know so many of my friends and fellow Utah soldiers have it far worse.

So those are a few of the reasons why I love Fridays.

Tomorrow is Saturday, the first day of the Afghan week and we’ll all be back in ANA land working with and mentoring our counterparts. And yes, we’ll work hard!!

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