Platoon Picture with Ravis and the Griz Flag.

Ravis: End of the 1st QTR

With Griz football less then a day away we scramble to find all the ways we can to keep up on it. Internet is so hit and miss here and streaming videos are pretty much banned. Its like a trip back in time actually having to wait and read about what happened.However we cant help but be humbled by the fact that we can get on and look how the Griz did or the fact that we are a click away from talking to friends and family back home. Makes me proud to be part of an organization that not so long ago would go off to war not talking to their loved ones for weeks or even months at a time. Waiting on a letter from home to lift spirits. I personally feel blessed to have such a great backing from the people back in the best country in the world. Packages arrive almost daily for someone in the company from an organization/school/or just a caring person whom we have never even met. I want to thank you all for your support and want you to know that it truely makes us proud to serve our nation.

In the last few weeks things have become more organized for us. We are getting to the point that we feel more confident in our duties and fine tuning things to become more proficient. The one thing that never changes is that every mission you can think, ok now I have seen it all. Yet the next mission you see something that completely blows your mind. The kids, the adult local nationals, the scenery, and of course the mission itself always has something that keeps you entertained or on your toes for change. One of the things that always amazes us is how the locals can stack rocks here. I know what your thinking, its rocks, how can that be so amazing. Well they take it to a new extreme here stacking rocks for property lines, broken down cars, grave sites road blocks, and once in a while the not so innocent stacks which can be used by the Taliban as all kinds of markers. Its hard to distinguish the innocent stacks from the not so innocent because they use rocks to mark litterally everything.

Another interesting site is the traffic. I know when I get home I will think twice before complaining about a speeding ticket or truely any traffic violation after seeing how it looks when no traffic laws are in place. It is not uncommon to see a bus full of people while hauling cars on top of the bus, or a family of 5 on a motorcycle. As made up as it sounds the current record we have seen is 6 with the front passenger if i had to guess being around 3 months old. You will also see motorcycles with 2 passengers and a goat in the middle, pickups with 12 people in the back, jingle trucks with a full load of wool with goats, children, and whatever will possibly fit on the top. I will attach pictures to support such claims of course.

On to the scenery. As some of the pictures have shown already the sunrises/sunsets are pretty amazing here. The nights out on mission are a time to reflect on the day and think about your loved ones back home. Most nights are peaceful enough to listen to music, talk amongst one another, or catch up on some sleep. Almost everyone has went to the new improved army cots. Some would say we all ordered hammocks but we like to keep it tactical. The best part of mission is the days go by much faster while we are out doing what we came to do. Its hard that we are away from contact with our families but they know we have a job to do here. Other then the clear skies at night and the sunrise/sunsets the scenery is alot of the same dusty road with the occasional little green field normally containing a mixture of plants. Some of which you would not expect to see children running through 10 feet off the road. Its not poppy season yet but alot of marijuana mixed in with corn and everything else. Im sure to the kids its just a way of life and how they make money to eat. The children here are always interesting to say the least. One day its smiles, waves and thumbs up. The next day its the universal sign language that could of only been taught by our well mannered Marines (ok so maybe a few other soldiers have used that sign language before to) and kids trying to surf on the semi trailer or steal our fuel cans or spare tires off the back of vehicles.

We are constantly changing things up to counter both the small things like the kids and of course the more serious encounters we face. We all look forward to seeing/hearing about the Griz game which will be starting around midnight here. I hope to get Ravis out in the field more in the near future for more photo opps. Also Ravis has joined facebook for photo tagging reasons and for those interested in following him closer.

Also we are now looking for a Volleyball coach if there is any volunteers. The Bahrainians keep beating us. Which is sad because i didnt even know there was a Bahrain before i got here.

Thank you all again for your support and taking the time out of your lives to remember those who cant be there at kickoff to celebrate another exciting Griz season. Like always feel free to ask about any of Ravis’s adventures or any info you would like of our time in Afghanistan. I will be happy to write about anything I am allowed to that you are interested in. Enjoy the celebration and GO GRIZ!!