Monday, August 23, 2010

Shaky Ground

Since I've been deployed (I left on 27 July 2010), I have had issues communicating home. Afghanistan as little to no infrastructure, especially outside the major cities. There is a cell network, and I swear I will never complain about AT&T again. Most calls are dropped, if they even connect at all. There is no voicemail, and a recent study conducted by my Soldiers showed that only about 25% of texts actually make it through (but they sure as hell charge you for it whether it got there or not). There are 20,000 people on Kandahar Airfield, which is where I've been until about a week ago. Those 20,000 people share only a few hundred computer terminals and phones to contact home. There tends to be a long line just to get a 30 minute phone call or 30 minutes online. Then, who knows if there will be a rocket attack while you're on the phone and then you have to get off and go to a bunker. Also, keep in mind that Kandahar is 8.5 hours ahead of Eastern time, which just makes communicating home even more awkward.

My point in this long ramble is to show how difficult communications back home can be for a deployed Soldier. Now, I realize some have it better than others, so if you're thinking, "I know someone who is in Afghanistan, and they call home every day", just stop. Combine this communication issue with my work schedule (6am-midnight), and you will start to get an idea of how often I was able to talk to B during the first few weeks of my deployment.

Recently, I've arrived at a much better base near the border of Pakistan. We have Combat Housing Units (CHUs) that are just little trailers that fit a bunk bed and some personal bags. While they may be small, they do have 2 key components to a good deployment - air conditioning and internet. My internet is fast enough now to do video chat on skype, but it comes at a hefty $130 a month per person (well worth it in my opinion). So now that I've been able to talk to B much more frequently, I've found out that she has filled the emotional void that created after I left by getting a crush on a guy friend of hers.

I'm not exactly sure how to handle the situation, because I have about 400 different emotions running through me, but I will outline as many as I can in the following posts as I sort through them all. For now, I need to go on a mission, so I will continue this when I get back.

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