Spc Hellyer Flying the Griz flag at sunset

Well we have begun doing just what we came to Afghanistan for and it feels nice to get started. We get better and better with each kilometer we drive. I find this blog harder to write then either of the previous for a few simple facts. The last thing I would ever want is to put any coalition forces in harms way to tell a story. So I will stick to the basics that I can discuss and fill in some blanks when everyone is home safe and sound.

We began our time here with some fun that was put on by the Brits. They were nice enough to put on a comedy/concert/dance show as an early 4th of July celebration. Funny that the Brits were the ones to put on a celebration for our 4th but we weren’t complaining. Ravis joined us and had his picture taken with the band who didn’t know if they should laugh or eat him, the comedians who thought he belonged up their nose, and the dancers who we decided we probably should join him for morale support. The comedians opened up with some pretty good stuff. A lot was hard to pick up with the gap of converting from Brit humor to American humor. But all in all they were funny guys. The dancers were up there every 15 or 20 minutes to make sure the crowd was still awake. The band was a great cover band of pretty much everything. Sang a lot of newer rock throwing in older stuff and ever some love songs for a not so lucky soldier that was serenaded all night.

After the fun and games were over we got to work. I know its taken a while to write this and honestly half the reason is there is so much to tell yet so little I am able to. The local nationals are always a good topic however. The kids have arms of your average quarterback back home. Minus the fact they are about 5 years old and its with rocks. You can always wager on if one is going to give you a thumbs up or throw rocks. Any town we roll through you can expect a small parade like crowd of kids begging for anything you will throw them. If you have nothing to throw expect them to do the throwing. The transportation in this country is just as mind boggling. On any given mission you can expect to see 9 or 10 people crammed in a car. 4 in the cab of a pickup with another who knows how many on top of the fully loaded box. Busses hauling cars on the roof. And as far as left lane right line, forget about it.

The landscape here is very unfamiliar to Montana in most regions however the places they seem to give us the most resistance can actually be quite beautiful. They of course stick to the rivers and any vegetation. Temperatures have been anywhere from 130 when we first got here to an average of about 110 recently. Nights get down into the 80s and when out on mission you find yourself wondering how you are chilly when its 85 degrees.

As far as missions go we are coming together nicely as a company to get a good turn around and accomplish our job at hand. Each mission gets a little easier to prep for but I don’t think it ever gets to the point that you don’t get that eerie feeling when you roll out the gate to go to work. We will continue to hone our skills and get the routes cleared for those who follow. Do everything in our power to get the soldiers and local nationals to their destination safely. Whether it be to draw back troops from one fob to another or taking supplies to people who no other means of gaining them.

We have maintained a good morale taking pictures with the flags, Ravis, and other means that take you away for just a moment. A new mascot has been thrown in to the mix as well with the addition of Cluckers the combat chicken (Pictured with Ravis). We have loved all the support from home as everyone seems to be pitching in to show their appreciation with care packages and making sure we have everything we can ask for. Thank you all for your support we couldn’t do it without you. I hope you enjoy the stories and pictures. Please feel free to ask anything you are interested in and I will add it to the next blog if allowed. 22 Days till Griz football cant wait to see the updates on egriz.com

SPC Bret Hellyer