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C-130 Day

Bagram Air Field | Day 30 – In honor of our project saviors I’m dedicating, what was supposed to be my last blog, to the aircrew of the U.S. Air Force C-130 who picked us up today. I didn’t have a business card handy when I was on the aircraft, so they may never even see this, but they are awesome.

Everything started off peachy keen as Ken and I got all packed up and ready to fly out to Kabul. We check in, throw our baggage in the appropriate area and wait patiently in the terminal for some time. Then tragedy struck, the air terminal man pointed at me and said “Gallahan, you not going.” Major Sabula was there with us and immediately asked about Ken and the man said “Raimondi, you not going.” Then he walked away.

I hope Ken will never tattle on me for the sheer quantities of

 
Overtime with Americans

FOB Shank | Day 31 – We’re in overtime! Due to the travel delays, we weren’t able to get to all of the regions in 30 days, so we’ve extended our trip until Sunday. We are now in Regional Command East, the “bread basket” of Afghanistan, or so I have been told.

The goal now is to cover eastern Afghanistan. Throughout the trip we’ve been heavily concentrating on all of the international forces in Afghanistan. Looking back, I wish we could have covered more. There are 44 contributing nations here, and it’s really easy to write the number but it’s really hard to show what that number really means. Some countries are contributing thousands of troops while others are contributing a few. Other countries, like Japan, have contributed more than $5 Billion dollars to various projects in this country. We could spend years talking about all of this, but we’re restricted to 30 days because Ken and I are really looking forward to going back to our families.

 
The fifth pillar

Padkhvab-e Shanah | Day 32 – It was a little strange being out in the province again after we’ve spent so much time in the major cities of Afghanistan. It was actually quite nice. I’m more of a country guy versus a city guy.

We headed out with soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team on a mission with a special Agricultural Development Team. It may not sound like a massive forward operation to clear the Taliban from their most well defended havens, but we learned agricultural development missions can be just as important.

The basic idea is these ADTs help Afghans farm better. Eastern Afghanistan is an agrarian society so a lot of their economic strength is founded on what they grow. If you can strengthen

 
Every little bit helps

FOB Shank | Day 33 – When times are slow, and missions fall through, I always have our 30 Day visitors to fall back on. In many ways I prefer taking your questions and directly answering them because I know that’s exactly what you all want to hear and learn about versus what I’m seeing and bringing to you. I love that aspect of this project.

So our plans have fallen through today leaving me with another opportunity to address your questions and ideas I remember one person asking on the forums about how everyday people can help Afghanistan. I had addressed this is a previous blog, but I want to touch on the subject again because I learned one 30 Days participant is really helping, more on him later.

ISAF isn’t the only organization in Afghanistan.

 
Troops in Contact

FOB Shank | Day 34 – There’s a very important portion of the Afghanistan story that I feel we haven’t told successfully. It’s the story of the troops living in holes next to the Afghan National Security Forces while fighting to secure this country.

I look back on 30 Days, and the only time we spent with them was at Strong Point Khyber. It was a great day, a great story with great people helping us to tell it, but I feel like we should have done more.  Yes, I feel mass media sensationalizes the amount of fighting going on. Yes, I do feel the global view of Afghanistan is skewed towards this place being 100 percent hell hole when it isn’t. But there is a lot of fighting going on here and Ken and I did everything we could to get out there to cover the story.

My dream photo has always been showing international forces

 
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