It’s been nine days since I have tended to my blog.  I never planned to let it go, but I did.  I missed a day because traveling in Afghanistan can suck, then another day because incompetent, lazy people & traveling in Afghanistan suck even more, then I missed another day because some days I suck & then the next thing I know it has been 9 days.  I honestly have little interest in starting back up again, but I really should stick with it at least until I get back home, so I will try.

I thought doing the 10 pictures a day thing would be an incentive for me to stick with it, but it didn’t work out.  I did that for 27 days…every day for 27 days.  That is 270 (plus a few extras) pictures.  It began to feel like work to go through my pictures, select ones that I wanted to post, resize them so they are not such space hogs, and then upload them.  It was more work than fun…why would I want to do that?  I need to find a fun distraction, not create more work stress for myself.  The thought of it was almost depressing.  It turned into an incentive to avoid the blog versus tending it.

So, what was the impetus for blog avoidance you ask?  Let me tell you a little story.

Of course before I begin that, let me tell you that I try not to be negative here or in real life…I fail…too often…but I try.  So although this tale of woe is just that, I hope to avoid too much of the self-pity, everything sucks attitude.  But of course I write without planning ahead, so things end up on paper (or computer screen as it were) as they tumble out of my brain through my fingers…let’s see if the brain stays somewhat positive.

It all began early morning on the 16th as I decided to jump a Space A flight from FOB Al Masaak for the short flight back to FOB Apache.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, getting a flight involves hours, sometimes many hours, sitting on the HLZ waiting for the helicopter to arrive. Then hoping there will be room available going in the direction you want to go.  I am an inpatient person, so waiting tends to get under my skin, but I have come to realize that getting irritated only makes it worse.  So I do my best to just let it go & read a book or a magazine.

There I am shortly after sunrise, settled into a spot on the rocks, with a sliver of shade overhead, propping myself against my rucksack, reading a Vince Flynn novel and began the who knows how long wait. It actually wasn’t too bad, because after less than 3 hours of waiting I found myself on a helicopter heading south.  Unfortunately the 30 minute ride turned into a nearly 2 hour trip as we bounced around from one place to another before I climbed out at Apache.

My plan was to return to Al Masaak on the 20th, where I will be living for the duration of my time in Afghanistan.  This would give me 3 solid days at Apache to pack up and organize for the move, as well as have a little down time with all the comforts that Apache affords (like home made pizza).

Well, those plans quickly evaporated as I discovered that I received a message from the Army notifying me I had a ‘bad’ ID Card & it had to be replaced before 2 Aug 12…Well that sucks, but what sucks more is it really isn’t easy to get an ID Card in Afghanistan (is anything?).  I would need to travel to KAF & still be back to Al Masaak on the 20th.  There was no way around wasting some of my Apache time on getting this task accomplished.

I called the ID card facility at KAF to find out the next available appointment was not until 10 Aug 12.  But they tell me I can come in on a walk-in basis and wait to get an ID made on a Space A basis.  They go on to explain that it is usually a 2-4 hour wait, but it can be longer, and people start lining up at 0400 because the doors open at 0600 and they only allow a limited number of Space A to sign in.  Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.

I started making phone calls to see if there were any other options.  I could go to my Brigade HQ, but getting a flight down there and back would definitely not be an easy process & there would be little chance I would be back to Al Masaak within 4 days.  But low and behold, after a half-dozen phone calls I found a Brigade HQ at KAF that had an ID card machine & they graciously agreed to do my ID card even though I am not in their unit.  Woohoo. Things are looking up!

With that information I made the long shot plan to hop an early morning Space A from Apache to KAF (one of the benefits of Apache’s growth is the increase in number of flights), get my ID card and jump an afternoon flight from KAF, back to Apache.  I would only lose 1 day.  That isn’t too bad.

So at sunrise on the 17th, for the second day in a row, I found myself sitting on the rocks of an HLZ waiting for a flight.  After less than 45 minutes the aircraft came in, but before we loaded up they decided they would do some area runs & come back to Apache to get us KAF bound people.  It was a great plan for me because I really do not care to sit in the back of the aircraft any longer than I have to doing the FOB hop.  They said they would be back in 60 or so minutes.

I decided to take a little break from the rocks – after all, I had at least 60 minutes – and get something to drink, etc.  I was standing inside talking to people when I heard the unmistakable sounds of a Chinook coming in.  I looked at my watch; it hadn’t even been 45 minutes, that couldn’t be my ride, could it?  But I had the sinking feeling it was.  So I had to sprint to the HLZ (at least 500 meters), get my crap on, grab my ruck & get onto the aircraft.

I scrambled to do all that, and moved out to the aircraft.  The crew chief directed me to load up, but I hadn’t even taken 2 steps into the aircraft when he stopped me and once more told me they would do some local flights and come back to Apache to get the KAF passengers.  WTF, all that hurrying for nothing.

This time I decided to just wait at the HLZ & they were back within 45 minutes.  Finally we were on our way to KAF…not.  We had to stop at FOB Lagman where we packed the aircraft full with Romanians and their gear – a solid 20 minute process.  Then we lifted off to not go to KAF.  We flew a few hundred feet to the refueling point.  Which means everyone that just loaded up needs to unass the aircraft to fuel & then reload – another 20 minutes process.  Finally we headed to KAF, with just one stop.

Despite all that, I was on the ground at KAF before 1000.  I checked in and was able to sign-up for a 1645 Space A flight back to Apache.  Things were really looking good.  Looks can be deceiving.

I headed straight to the nice Brigade S1 shop that agreed to help me out.  They asked me to come back in 30 minutes as the ID card clerk had just stepped out.  No problem, I didn’t need to be back to the PAX terminal until 1445.  I went to the Post Office & mailed my crappy Sigma lens back to Sigma.

After that I returned to the S1 shop & the ID card clerk tried to log into the ID card system but kept getting an error message.  She asked the warrant officer in charge for help with the same results.  They called the helpdesk (back in the States) to be informed the central system had crashed just moments before.  So I missed getting my ID card by just a few minutes…that’s not a good sign.

…to be continued…

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About danbohmer

...just another guy moving through life Everything posted here is my personal opinion and in no way reflects an opinion, thought or representation of anyone else or any organization.

27 responses »

  1. kizzylee says:

    i think you are a very patient person thats a truely annoying experience you describe and i would have had at least one meltdown! you have my respect for eveything you go through, keep writing because i like to read your blog 🙂 hope your day gets better and runs more smoothly 🙂

  2. SmallHouseBigGarden says:

    Although I clicked the like button on this post, be very clear on one thing: I don’t “like” all the mishaps you endured, but I def like that you’re back blogging about them! I just recently subscribed to you, and worried your lack of new posts meant something bad had happened to you!

    Ps. Hopefully things get easier in part 2 of the story!

  3. though a total pain in the butt for you–this is fasinating reading for your followers – cannot wait until the next installment

  4. rebelsprite says:

    Inexcusable. I’ve been specifically wondering why in the mess of posts that show up in my reader tab why there haven’t been any breathtaking photos for 9 days! Frankly, it’s been depressing.


    I didn’t set a schedule for my blog specifically because I knew it would stress me out…and I’m not sitting on rocks in the sun and riding helicopters and whatnot. Also because I find people who turn blogging into a scheduled activity, particularly if they are writing, tend to run out of really good things to post, the quality gets watered down.

    But in your case it would be neat if you wrote, if that helps de-stress at all. I liked reading it, though that may be small consolation for the shenanigans you’re going through for a bum ID card. Though I think you wrote somewhere that you don’t intend to write very much….

    I hope the situation gets resolved as soon as possible!

    • danbohmer says:

      Thanks for the comments. The story gets better…I really do not like writing, but I think it is because my head thinks faster then my fingers so I make a lot of mistakes & it seems my words end up all jumbled because I am too impatient.

  5. Susan says:

    Geez … I am never going to complain about running my errands again! I’m tired from reading your misadventure. God Bless and happier trails!

  6. Susan says:

    Reblogged this on Sillyfrog's Blog and commented:
    …and folks here, at home, are bent out of shape having to get an ID to vote!!!!

  7. I feel like it’s entirely wrong to “like” this post, from the standpoint that reading about your day from so far away and processing what you have to go through to accomplish something relatively small back home seems so frustrating. I feel for you.

    I think it’s great that you’re writing a blog and sharing with those of us back home who take what we have for granted (like me, sometimes, maybe too often) what life looks like on the other side. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work, and thank you for following mine. What you’re doing takes more guts and courage than most people have, so thank you for your service and dedication.

    By the way, all writers hit road blocks and it’s OK to feel uninspired. Don’t pressure yourself. You’ll know when something makes you want to post again, it’s a common ailment we all share. =/

  8. Margarita says:

    You certainly painted us a picture with your words! Thank you!

  9. suzicate says:

    I have great respect for all of our military. I thank you for your service. Stay safe. Your photographs are incredible…thank you for sharing a part of the world most of us here will never see.

  10. kathruth says:

    I wish I could say I can’t believe that what happen to you is unusual, but I can’t for what I have heard from the soldiers and my son. All I can say is personally I really appreciate this blog and all the wonderful pictures, just understand that all your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed by anyone. To be able to do your job with the pressure your under, says allot for your dedication. Everyone needs down time especially over there. We all understand. Take care of yourself. Kathy Plunkett

    • danbohmer says:

      thanks – I have the pictures of your son & his crew & will get them up in the next day or so

      • kathruth says:

        Thank you so much, I appreciate it so much, especially everything you went through getting your ID. Brian did tell me in my short call and five disconnection that he did talk to you and appreciated you looking him and his soldiers. Thank you again.

  11. Oh dear! Some days you are the statue; some days you are the pigeon…definitely a statue day for you!

    As for the not blogging – if you’re not enjoying it, then don’t; readers always know. Better to tell people you’re taking some time off but you’ll be back.

  12. For someone who doesn’t like writing was thinking of stopping that was actually a very interesting post! It’s ok to do grumpy posts sometimes too. 🙂

  13. Brook says:

    “There I am shortly after sunrise, settled into a spot on the rocks…” A magnificent sentence! I read somewhere that “writing is a struggle against silence”, but *you can write.* *Thank you* for the story and the photos. You’ve put us there with you.

  14. Brook says:

    You also take amazing, colorful pictures of real life over there. *Thank you* for blogging, but like Tilly Bud said, it’s also okay not to blog and take some time off from blogging if you’d like:) You’ve earned it!

  15. […] Days – part II OK, I have to ask you to please stop reading , click this link, go back and read part I before reading part II, trust me, it’s important…last chance to read […]

  16. Keep writing your blog please. Because I like reading it 🙂

  17. […] when I got back to Apache from the ID Card saga, I tracked down her son & made arrangements to take a few photos.  Doing portraits/staged […]

  18. cinandjules says:

    Hang in there……..

    You’ll only have to jump thru the hoops for just a bit longer.

  19. Mona says:

    As I read your narrative, I remember the travel experiences I’ve recently had in China (oh so mild in comparison to your inconveniences), I remember the caution I continually exercised in all that I said and did, and I remember the relief I felt when I stepped foot on US soil. I thank you, and all of our military, for the sacrifices you are making to insure that I have my constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. THANK YOU!

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