Advisor, Afghan National Army, Eastern Afghanistan…

…so read an email announcing my next assignment, thus commencing my “15-Month Adventure.”  This blog documents that service as a member of an Embedded Transition Team (or, “ETT”) to Afghan National Army forces in Khowst and Paktya provinces in 2008 and 2009.   I knew as soon as I read that email that the tour would be very interesting and very dangerous, and that I would want to write about it.  Some of the entries were made while I was deployed, but most were written upon my return as I looked back on my war experience and tried to write in interesting, original, and truthful ways about it.  In July of 2012 I shut the blog down because I thought I had said enough and wanted to move on to other writing projects.  I have a new blog called Time Now that discusses art, film, and literature whose subjects are the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Please visit it at acolytesofwar.com.

I’m proud of my service in eastern Afghanistan and honored to have served with the great American, coalition, and Afghan soldiers that I did.  ETTs, it seems to me, had the greatest appreciation for Afghans, thought they were doing the most good, and had the best stories to tell of all the American forces who served in Afghanistan.  I’m especially fond of my fellow members of Embedded Transition Team class #55 out of Fort Riley, Kansas and all those who served at Camp Clark in Khowst province.  Three Camp Clark ETTs did not return home to America:  1SG John Blair, SFC Kevin Dupont, and SSG Alex French.  I’m privileged to have known these men and fought alongside of them. Two members of class #55 distinguished themselves above and beyond us all.  CPT Will Swenson and SFC Kenneth Westbrook were with United States Marine CPL Dakota Meyer in Kunar Province during the battle for which CPL Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor.  SFC Westbrook died of wounds he received that day and has posthumously been awarded a Silver Star, while CPT Swenson awaits formal recognition.  I did not know them personally, but I do remember CPT Swenson and SFC Westbrook from Fort Riley days.  Without claiming the slightest sliver of reflected glory from their heroism, one small virtue of my blog is that it records events and experiences probably very similar to those they lived through leading up to the battle in which they performed so magnificently.

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