In Hindsight

I’m what they call a “short-timer” around here now.  By this time next month, I’ll have returned to the land of the living.  Its been quite an experience here.  It’s not been at all what I expected.  I’m not even sure what I thought it was going to be like.  How can you even guess what something like this will be like?  I’m not sure.  Either way, I have learned a lot.

This has been the single biggest growing experience of my life.  I feel like I have learned a lot about being a soldier and an officer.  I believe (well, hope) that I’ve earned the respect of the seasoned NCOs around me.  I can only imagine what I looked like to them when I first came on board.  A young, green lieutenant added at the last minute who hasn’t even cut his teeth yet.  Its funny looking back.  I have to admit the learning curve has been pretty much vertical.  I was tossed into the thick of it and had to learn as I went. I’ve made a full lieutenant’s share of mistakes here but I’ve learned from them all.

I’m happy with the progress we have made here.  When we first arrived everyone told us not to get too ambitious and to have patience.  Afghans don’t learn really fast and changes seem to take decades.  Of course we thought we could do it better and change the world in our time.  Eventually you realize that you’re pushing boulders up hills.  Its been overwhelming and more than frustrating at times.  Sometimes you even want to throw your hands up in the air and quit.  I can say that I’ve done everything I can used all my skills and knowledge to try and help develop this army.  If anything I taught them sticks, I will never know.  But I’ve created something from nothing here, and that is something to be proud of.