PATROL BASE YAZZIE, Afghanistan — Good afternoon, friends. Tom Brown and I have made another move, jumping from Camp Hanson, home of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, to Patrol Base Yazzie, a smaller outpost in northwestern Marjah that is home to India Company, 3/6.
The drive over from Hanson was certainly an eye-opener for me. While I expected to see poverty, I didn’t expect to see a wasteland. There is obviously no electricity, and modern farming tools are nowhere to be found. Even we and the Marines sleeping on the ground in tents here at Yazzie have far more comforts of life than anyone we saw on the way here. I wanted to take photos, but there was so much dust caked onto the window of our Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, it seemed pointless.
For at least a week, we’ll be following the India Company Marines who work from this base. We’ll go on patrols with them, eat with them, goof around with them and share what we can. A basic fact is that with the poppy season here over, Marine leadership expects the level of violence in Marjah and other parts of Afghanistan to rise. Ambushes will continue to occur, and Marines will continue to fight them off. Marines are also conducting good civil affairs work here that deserves to be highlighted.
As for Yazzie, we definitely arrived on the right night. The company barbecued tonight for the first time in weeks, and there was plenty of chicken, steak, hot dogs and rice to go around.
I also wanted to share the photograph above, which I took at Camp Hanson before leaving. It appears someone mounted two small stuffed animals to an M-ATV, the Marine Corps’ new, smaller MRAP. I suppose it could be some sort of practical joke, but the more likely scenario would be that someone has children at home who sent their father (or mother) their toys to keep him from being afraid.
These are the stories that are easy to forget on a day like Mother’s Day. Plenty of mothers have husbands or sons who are here in Afghanistan, including my own.
Here’s to remembering everyone. And Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I’ll be home soon.