Friday, September 30, 2005

Ramp ceremonies, ISAF, and playing ball

Over the past week I have been to three ramp ceremonies. One was for a French soldier who was killed right before the election. Soldiers from all the militaries on KAF lined up and rendered a salute as a coffin draped with the French tricolor was placed in front of the ramp of a French Armee de l’Air (Air Force) C-130. An officer read in French and English a tribute to the soldier and then a Chaplin recited a prayer. After that he was loaded on to the aircraft and headed home.

Next a CH-47 went down and five soldiers were killed in that crash. Over at A Storm in Afghanistan writes about the ramp ceremony, since the five soldiers killed were from his unit.

Then we one more soldier who was killed in a TIC and I was back on the ramp doing the right thing and paying my respects in a military fashion. When I go to a ramp ceremony I will spend a few minutes in silence at parade rest with a few hundred other soldiers from all the coalition nations that are waiting to snap to the position of attention and salute the fallen comrade in arms one last time on his or her way home. During those minutes I do a lot of thinking: am I a good soldier, husband or father? How will I be remembered if I buy the farm? When I make it out of here what will I do? Where will I go? Seeing a coffin pretty well drives home the message that I am mortal and have to make the most of the short time while I am here on terra firma. Most of the time I think I am doing good- but when I am away from my family, friends and country, while reading the newspapers online, sometimes doubts creep in to the back of my mind. Those thoughts are erased when I go into an Afghan village and the villagers tell me about the horrors that they suffered under the Taliban. That is another blog entry there.

This is a spot on report on Afghanistan coming form all places Parameters! It was written by a Canadian. What is the world coming to? The article is polite but tells of the problems that ISAF has. Unity of command is a problem, being cheap and not being able to bring enough personnel and equipment to do the job. Some say ISAF want to avoid casualties and just drive around with their national flag for display.

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Playing ball with a boy.

3 Comments:

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2:05 PM  
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4:05 AM  
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10:03 PM  

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