Tag Archives: Afghanistan

JBLM soldier reunited with life-saving helmet

Courtesy Adam Ashton, staff writer.

Courtesy Adam Ashton, staff writer.

The News Tribune: Sgt. Roger Daniels knows he’s alive and still walking because his Army-issued helmet did something it wasn’t supposed to do.
When enemy fighters ambushed his patrol in Afghanistan last year, his helmet somehow stopped a large-caliber machine gun round that should have easily penetrated it and gravely wounded the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) soldier.
Instead the bullet pierced the helmet, rattled around a bit and caused only a concussion and some cuts.
Daniels, 22, got to pick up the helmet Friday for the first time since the August 2012 attack.
The Army’s Virginia-based Program Executive Office Soldier, which manages the equipment soldiers use, had kept the helmet for much of the past year to study how it saved Daniels’ life. The information that was gleaned could improve plans for the Army’s next standard-issue helmet.
Daniels broke into a wide smile when he lifted it. He seemed to marvel at the equipment and his close brush with death. “I guess I just got lucky,” he said.
He serves in Lewis-McChord’s 109th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. Soldiers in his unit worked hard to get the helmet back from the Virginia office because they knew it was special to him. They also used his experience to encourage soldiers to maintain their equipment and listen when they’re advised about how to use it correctly.
The message is simple but powerful: “We had a soldier who was shot in the head and walked away with only a concussion,” said Capt. David White of the intelligence battalion. Their unit specializes in collecting and analyzing information on the battlefield. Daniels was shot on what was the battlion’s first mission outside the wire.
He was attached to an infantry platoon on overnight patrol in Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province. He was there to gather information that could be used to help the infantrymen. They stopped for the night in a compound and heard reports that insurgents were preparing to attack from three directions. Soldiers climbed on a roof and prepared for battle.
Hidden enemy fighters hit the rooftop with heavy machine guns. Three of the infantrymen were wounded. Daniels felt the bullet strike his helmet as if he was being clubbed with a bat, he said. He staggered off the rooftop and settled in on the ground floor. Fellow intelligence soldier Spc. Shiniah McKinney, 29, tried to keep him and the other wounded soldiers calm until they could be evacuated. “I was just in a daze, really,” Daniels said.
He spent a week at a head injury clinic in Afghanistan. He rejoined the team in Ghazni Province about a month later. He started going on missions right away.
He’s grateful for the care McKinney gave him on the day of the shooting. They’re close friends. “It’s beyond a mental bond,” McKinney said.
“When you’ve been shot with someone, it’s just like family,” Daniels said. He’s going to keep his damaged helmet for years to come, he said.
“It definitely did the job it was supposed to do, and then some,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Owens of the Program Executive Office.

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Six months down, four more to go!


Today marks the end of six months my soldier Matthew has been in Afghanistan. Now we are counting down the last four months!

I’m not going to lie, it’s been stressful. They were rocketed on Christmas, Easter, and whenever the Taliban feel like throwing one out there. Most recently, four soldiers were killed by a rocket attack at Matthew’s post 🙁

Thanks for all your support and prayers for Matthew. Please keep him and all our soldiers in your prayers as they serve in the sandbox.

Bring them all home safe!



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Pres. Lucy Once Said " "I Know, Too, That Islam Has Always Been A Part Of America's History."

I’m Thinking Not So Much.

Food for thought – Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital? 
Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital, heard a Muslim orchestra, 
seen a Muslim band march in a parade, witnessed a Muslim charity 
shaken hands with a Muslim Girl Scout, seen a
Muslim Candy Striper,  

Best I Could Do LOL

Best I Could Do LOL

or seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American 
way of life ????
The answer is no, you did not. Just ask yourself WHY ?
Barack Obama, during his Cairo speech, said: 
“I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of
America ‘s history.”
Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention the Barbary Pirates
They were Muslim.
And now we can add November 5, 2009 – the slaughter of American soldiers at Fort Hood by a Muslim major who is a doctor and a psychiatrist who was supposed to be counseling soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan and 2012 when these peaceful religious believers invaded our embassies – American soil, by the way – and killed our ambassador. 
That, Mr. Obama is the “Muslim heritage” in America.
~Steve~                                             H/T   Igor

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FBI agents killed in copter crash were investigating Boston Bombing

Do you believe in coincidences? Many of them? A lot of them?

  • In late 2007, as Obama began his meteoric ascent to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, in a span of 1½ months, three black homosexuals, all members of Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ black liberation theology in Chicago, died. Two of the three (Donald Young and Larry Bland) were shot, execution style.
  • On July 12, 2012, another gay young man who knew Obama, Alex Okrent, 29, died suddenly and mysteriously while working at the POS’s reelection campaign headquarters in downtown Chicago. Since college, Okrent had worked for the POS one way or another. The autopsy report on Okrent was “inconclusive.”
  • On August 6, 2011, three months after the elite Navy SEAL Team 6 had assassinated Osama bin Laden in his secret compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, 22 members of Team 6 were killed when their Chinook helicopter reportedly was shot down by Taliban rebels in Afghanistan.
  • On March 28, 2013, another member of Navy SEAL Team 6, Special Warfare Operator Chief Brett D. Shadle, 31, was killed and another SEAL injured during a parachute training accident in Marana, Arizona, the military said. Details of the accident were not immediately available.

There are more “coincidental” deaths associated with Pres. Lucifer. See Steve’s post of May 10, 2013, “Today I bring you Skippy’s version of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
Now add two more deaths to the “coincidental” list: Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw.

41-year-old Christopher Lorek, and 40-year-old Stephen ShawChristopher Lorek, 41; Stephen Shaw, 40

Scott Daugherty reports for PilotOnline.com that the FBI announced in a statement that two members of the FBI’s elite counterterrorism Hostage Rescue Team, Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw, died on May 17, 2013, while practicing how to quickly drop from a helicopter to a ship using a rope.
The incident happened about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. A law enforcement official blamed bad weather for the incident and said the agents fell into the water and probably died from the impact, instead of from drowning.
Danny Coulson, a former deputy assistant director of the FBI who started the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) 30 years ago and served as its first commander, said the HRT members “have the same skill sets as SEAL Team 6 and Delta Force.” They are trained to rappel from helicopters, scuba dive and use explosives to break down doors and walls. When needed, the team can deploy within four hours to anywhere in the U.S. “Whenever things go really wrong, the FBI calls in the Hostage Rescue Team. It’s the government’s 911,” Coulson said.
Last month, the Hostage Rescue Team was involved in the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Glenn McBride, a spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office, said it could be months before his staff can release a final cause and manner of death for the two elite FBI agents.
There is another mysterious Boston Marathon bombing-related death.
On April 23, 2013, Sunil Tripathi, initially identified as a Boston bombing suspect, was found dead in the Providence River. Tripathi, a former Brown University students, had been missing since mid-March.
H/t Intellihub and FOTM’s tina and joworth

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Meet the first man in Army history who returned to combat after an amputation



Living Leg-end

NY Post: Army Ranger Joe Kapacziewski had volunteered to “take care” of the Taliban snipers who had ambushed his platoon in the pitch darkness on a Hindu Kush mountain ridge in Afghanistan in 2009.
But as he raced down the mountainside, aiming to cut the enemy off at the pass below, he was caught in an avalanche of loose shale and tumbled down. To stop his fall and save himself, he grabbed a tree — and came face-to-face with one of the Taliban snipers who had been hiding behind it.
With his free hand, the staff sergeant aimed his M4 rifle and shot the sniper dead. “Kap,” as he was fondly nicknamed, then dashed back up the steep slope to his men under fire.
It was a Herculean feat even the fittest soldier would have been hard-pressed to pull off. For Kapacziewski, it was something miraculous.
The 30-year-old Dunham, Conn., native is the only amputee in Army Rangers history ever to return to combat. He has served in five tours while wearing a prosthesis that replaced his right leg below the knee.
In his gripping new memoir, “Back in the Fight” (St. Martin’s Press), he describes hunting Taliban targets, leading a squad and even saving a wounded soldier — all without a leg.
All told, Kapacziewski has served 10 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and has received three purple hearts, an Army Commendation Medal with a V for valor and a bronze star.
Kap was wounded in Iraq in 2005 after a grenade was tossed into his Stryker vehicle. It ripped apart his arm, which eventually healed — though his leg did not. He resisted losing the limb, despite the excruciating pain. Two years later, he finally made the decision to allow doctors to amputate.
“When I first got hurt it was my goal all along to go back to the squad to lead the Rangers in combat,” he told The Post. But when his leg wouldn’t heal, a superior told him he couldn’t stay in Alpha Company anymore, that he was out of the fight.
“This was the most devastating day of my life,” he recalls. “I felt the ground fall out from underneath my feet.”
Signing up straight out of high school, he says, the Rangers were “all I had ever known. “Just because I am missing a leg I do not see this as an excuse not to serve my country. As corny as it sounds, I had signed on the dotted line before 9/11 and it was all I had ever known and wanted to do.”
There were darker days when he could only confide to his wife, Kimberly, that he too had doubts.
The long road to be reinstated as a combat-ready Ranger — with the help of a high-tech shock-absorbing Pathfinder II prosthetic leg — was the hardest fight he had ever waged. “No Ranger in my condition had ever qualified to return to direct combat operations,” he says.
He had to prove to Army brass that he was up to the task of jumping out of planes, fast roping from helicopters, running five miles in under 40 minutes, marching 12 miles with a 45-pound pack in under three hours and all in the 80th percentile or higher.
“Even within a Ranger Regiment, seeing me as an amputee, the question was whether I am capable of doing the job,” Kap says. “There was a little apprehension. I felt, ‘I am under the gun to prove myself.’ I had to show that I could kick in doors.”
Within 10 months of his amputation he completed the full Army physical test. Even after exceeding the standards, Kap could sense some resistance at his return to fighting. “It wasn’t until the chain of command switched out that I was allowed to go back into combat,” he says.
He then faced life-threatening attacks all over again. When an enemy grenade went off on a 2010 mission in eastern Afghanistan, Kap took shrapnel in his left leg — but his carbon-fiber limb withstood the blast. That earned him his third purple heart.
“It worked out really well for me,” says Kapacziewski, who will be on his 11th rotation next year and has since run two New York City Marathons and three triathlons.
The father of two boys, Kap currently works at Fort Benning, Ga., where he is part of a Ranger training and assessment program. One Ranger was so impressed after a grueling training run he asked how Kap got a leg like that. “Made in Iraq,” the platoon squad leader quipped.
Kapacziewski recalls that night, four years ago, when he and his troops came under Taliban fire. As he was quick marching back up to the ridge, his prosthetic leg came loose from his stump and plummeted down the rock face. This was one time Kap hadn’t brought along a spare. He had no other choice but to slide down and retrieve it. “I just put it back on and was back in the fight,” he says.

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And In Sports Today…..

The coach put together the perfect team for the Chicago Bears. The only thing missing was a good quarterback. He scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn’t find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

One night, while watching CNN, he saw a war-zone scene in Afghanistan . In one corner of the background he spotted a young Afghan Muslim soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yds away.
He threw another grenade 75 yds away, right into a chimney.
Then he threw another one at a passing car – going 90 mph.
BULLSEYES. Every one of them.

“I’ve got to get this guy,” Coach said to himself. “He has the perfect arm.”
So, he brings him to the states and teaches him the great game of football, and, the Bears go on to win the Super Bowl.
The young Afghan is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, he only wants to call his mother.

“Mom,” he says into the phone, “I just won the Super Bowl!”

“I don’t want to talk to you,” the old Muslim woman says. “You are not my son.”

“I don’t think you understand, Mother,” the young man pleads. “I’ve won the greatest sporting event in the world. I’m here among thousands of adoring fans.”

“No, let me tell you!” his mother retorts. “At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn’t get raped.” The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says, “I will never forgive you for making us move to Chicago .”

~Steve~                                     H/T Reader Ken L.

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Paging Code Pink


12K troops may stay in Afghanistan

Detroit News: The U.S. and its NATO allies revealed Friday they may keep as many as 12,000 troops in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends next year, largely American forces tasked with hunting down remnants of al-Qaida and helping Afghan forces  with their own security.
Patience with the 11-year-old war has grown thin in the U.S. and Europe, yet  Washington and its allies feel they cannot pick up and leave without risking a  repeat of what happened in Afghanistan after Soviet troops withdrew in 1989:  Attention turned elsewhere, the Taliban grabbed power and al-Qaida found  refuge.
In disclosing that he and his NATO counterparts were discussing a residual  force of between 8,000 and 12,000 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said most allied defense ministers assured him they are  committed to remaining part of a U.S.-led coalition.
“I feel very confident that we are going to get a number of nations to make that contribution for the enduring presence,” Panetta told a news conference at  NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The U.S. and its allies have managed to stick together throughout the war,  despite differing views. The Europeans have seen the military mission as mainly  aimed at promoting stable governance; the Americans have viewed it as mainly  combat. Some allies, including France, have already pulled out their combat  troops.
The Obama administration has not said how many troops or diplomats it intends to keep in Afghanistan after 2014; it is in the early stages of negotiating a bilateral security agreement with Kabul that would set the legal parameters.  There currently are 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a 2010 peak of  100,000.
In addition to targeting terrorists, the post-2014 missions are expected to be defined as training and advising a still-developing Afghan army and police force and providing security for the U.S. and allied civilian and military presence, officials said.
The largely unspoken assumption on which the post-2014 plan is built is that  Afghanistan’s own forces will be strong enough to hold off the Taliban on their  own starting in 2015 and to prevent the country’s relapse into civil war. The  worry is that if the Taliban regained power they would allow al-Qaida to return  in large numbers, defeating the original purpose of the U.S. military action in  2001.
It’s a touchy topic at this stage of a still-unfolding war, with Afghans fearful of being abandoned by their foreign partners and Washington and its NATO  allies wary of committing too heavily to a corrupt Kabul government facing an  uncertain future.
Panetta is expected to retire as soon as his successor is confirmed. The  Senate could vote on the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next  Pentagon chief as early as Wednesday.
Where’s the outrage from Code Pink? They never let up on Bush and the Afghanistan War. So far the U.S. has lost 2,177 troops in Afghanistan – 1,547 (71%) of those during Obama’s presidency. Course he ommitted the fact that troops may stay after 2014 when he stated in his SOTU address, “Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan,” Obama said. “This drawdown will continue.  And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
Don’t expect the SRM to hold him to any accountability for what he says/does. I say enough, bring all our troops home by 2014.

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Update on my soldier Matthew

He’s been in the sandbox for almost two months now. So far, so good. Despite the Taliban sending them some rockets on Christmas Day, everything is going good for him and our fellow soldiers over there.


They’ve got about six inches of snow now.


Their Christmas tree – looks like a “Charlie Brown” tree to me!

If you’d like to support a soldier currently serving, go to Soldiers’ Angels or anysoldier.com.

Pray for all our soldiers serving the in sand box!


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How are you spending Christmas Eve day?

You are most likely spending time with family and friends, or maybe doing some last-minute shopping.
Our soldiers serving in the sand box do not get a day off. They are under constant danger in fighting the Taliban. The video below shows U.S. Soldiers coming under fire from Taliban fighters and reacting with an immediate hail of suppressing fire to keep the enemies’ heads down. Once the firefight is won and the enemy breaks contact, the team does a break down of remaining ammo and supplies.
This footage is part of an ongoing documentary of the war in Afghanistan through raw combat footage.
Prayers for all our soldiers serving abroad during Christmas.
h/t The Blaze

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Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow – nor IEDs


On Afghan Odyssey, Gifts to Troops Brave Ambushes, Bombs

Wall Street Journal: Back home in Watertown, Minn., Courtney Mittelstaedt selected her husband’s Christmas gifts with the care and sweet mischief of a newlywed.
She bought Legos, a plastic duck in a Santa Claus suit and Christmas tree-shaped marshmallows, “his favorite candy,” said Mrs. Mittelstaedt, a 20-year-old hairdresser. She used Spider-Man wrapping paper to remind him of the last time they went to the movies, before her husband, Army Private First Class Cody Mittelstaedt, went to war 7,000 miles away.
“He’s gone and Christmas is so hard without him,” said Mrs. Mittelstaedt, who married last year. “Buying gifts and wrapping them up for him makes me feel like he’s involved and he’s here with me.”
Her husband’s presents will join 6.4 million pounds of mail the U.S. Postal Service estimates it will ferry this month from families, friends and kindly strangers to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
After Mrs. Mittelstaedt wrapped, sealed and addressed the gifts to Forward Operating Base Gardez, she took them to her post office, where the workers know her by name. She has become a regular customer, sending packages of letters, toys and candy at least once a week since her husband was deployed overseas three months ago.

“Everything is so serious there, it’s war,” she said. “So when he gets the packages I want him to smile and not think about his day. I don’t know if it takes off the weight, and I’m sure it doesn’t work like that, but I can pretend, I guess.”

Postal Service offices across the U.S. funnel packages to Afghanistan through its International Service Center in Newark, N.J. Then they travel by air—usually via Manama, Bahrain—to Bagram Airfield outside of Kabul, according to a Postal Service spokeswoman.
From Kabul, the delivery of Christmas letters, trinkets and toys to troops in combat bases is the job of private contractors, including Innovative Logistics. The Florida-based military contractor moves U.S. mail by truck across some of Afghanistan’s most dangerous terrain, braving Taliban ambushes and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, planted on roadsides.
The men who carry the mail in heavily armed convoys—Americans, Bosnians, Afghans, Fijians—call themselves the Pony Express, in homage to the short-lived mail service that connected California with Missouri before the Civil War.
“The U.S. post service has rain, sleet or snow. We have all of that plus IEDs,” said Jeff Bedford, 38, as he rode in a mail convoy during a three-hour drive this month from Kabul to Gardez, capital of the insurgent-filled Paktia province.

Mr. Bedford’s convoy brought spare fuel canisters, and each crew member carried a medical kit. They also brought Pop-Tarts, beef jerky, water and Gatorade for the ride. The mail, including Pfc. Mittelstaedt’s gifts, traveled in 20-foot cargo trucks, accompanied by an escort of gun trucks—fortified and bulletproofed bank trucks with roof-mounted machine-gun turrets.

Innovative Logistics took over its mail delivery contract from another contractor in May and retained some previous staff, including Mr. Bedford, a former Marine who has been injured twice on the job. The combat mailmen are well compensated because the work is so dangerous. For one, they can’t count on immediate rescue or medevac help that U.S. troops take for granted. Contract employees doing work for the military in Afghanistan generally earn more than $100,000 a year.
At the height of the summer fighting season, two out of the three mail convoys would be “hitting the panic button” to notify the company headquarters of an insurgent attack, said Dan Wildtraut, 55, a former Sarasota, Fla., police officer who serves as Innovative Logistics’ country manager.
Last year, Mr. Bedford’s convoy was struck by a 500-pound IED after delivering mail to the dangerous province of Ghazni in the southeast. The explosion knocked him unconscious and killed three Afghans and a Bosnian contractor. A Fijian driver died after he was thrown out of his vehicle and pinned beneath a gun truck.
When Mr. Bedford awoke, his team was under heavy fire from insurgents. He grabbed his gun and fought back, he said, his adrenaline masking the pain from two ruptured spinal disks. He and his men called for help but waited nearly five hours for a coalition quick-reaction force to arrive from Ghazni, about 13 miles away.
Lt. Col. Miroslaw Ochyra, spokesman for the Polish military that is responsible for Ghazni province, said the quick reaction force arrived at the ambush site “later than usual” because it was deployed five times that day, including a mission to assist Polish soldiers who had come under fire.
When the soldiers finally found the mail convoy, they asked Mr. Bedford if they could call in an Apache helicopter strike to destroy the two disabled gun trucks with a Hellfire missile. The convoys often carry registered mail, including classified documents, which can’t fall into enemy hands.
“I said, ‘Rock on, whatever works,'” Mr. Bedford recalled. “Typically, we burn them, but they wanted to use a missile. Fine with me. Whatever got me out of there fastest.” On this latest trip, Mr. Bedford’s convoy passed the site of two fresh IED explosions. One had blown a crater large enough to swallow the front half of a cargo truck.

The convoy then began a long climb to an elevation of 10,000 feet on rough, icy roads, at one point wedged between the mountainside and a sheer cliff.

About a dozen workers have died and many more wounded in the past three years delivering the mail here. The most recent employee killed, an Afghan gunner, died in a Taliban ambush near the eastern city of Jalalabad in September. The company uses about 100 employees for a delivery service that the U.S. military might require a battalion task force of 1,200 troops, given the required ground and air support.
When the convoy reached F.O.B. Gardez, two cargo trucks unloaded roughly 10 tons of mail. Pfc. Mittelstaedt was assigned to retrieve his unit’s portion, which he loaded onto a pickup truck.
He parked in front of a badly cracked concrete basketball court, which is flanked on one side by the “Wall of Heroes” bearing the names of 32 troops killed in action. A carved wooden sign proclaiming, “No girls allowed” hung above the entrance to the unit’s living quarters.
The troops from Task Force Rakkasan 1-187 swarmed the court to collect their mail under a cold winter sun. Pfc. Mittelstaedt, who is a sniper, stood in the truck’s pickup bed and threw packages to his colleagues for them to divvy into piles on the court. “I’ll just tell you this once,” he joked, “this pile here, this pile is the snipers’ pile.”

The letters and packages came mostly from families and friends. But there also was mail from individuals and groups that send care packages to random soldiers. These gifts usually include candy, hygienic supplies and, for some lucky troops, home-baked pies.

Pfc. Patrick Pease, a 21-year-old soldier from Indiana, got his lucky turn that day. After three months in Afghanistan, he received two packages from the Blue Star Mothers of America, a volunteer group: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and M&M’s stuffed into Christmas stockings.
After dispatching his mail duties, Pfc. Mittelstaedt grabbed his Army-issued knife and slashed open his package. The 23-year-old smiled. He placed the Santa-clad plastic duck on a shelf alongside Star Wars-theme Santa toys, previous gifts from his family. His rifle hung on nails in a plywood wall.
He also received a letter from a U.S. family he didn’t know, Mr. and Mrs. Wendle of Spring Branch, Texas. “Wishing you the most memorable Christmas yet, and wishing you home soon,” Pfc. Mittelstaedt read out loud. “From Donna.” He tossed the card on his Christmas shelf. “I don’t know ’em,” he said. Tuesdays and Thursdays—mail days—are “the best days ever,” he said.
Soon, the Pony Express riders were getting ready to head back down the treacherous road to Kabul, piling into their trucks as driver Miroslav Gogic, a 44-year-old former Serbian soldier blasted the music of pop singer Celine Dion, to the annoyance of his colleagues.
Medic Justin Perkins sat next to him in the passenger seat, shouting over the music and engine noise. “There’s a lot of animosity between contractors like us and the Army,” said Mr. Perkins, 30, from Alaska. “They look down at us because we do the same job they do but get paid a hell of a lot more.”
On delivery days, there is no animosity, he said: “Everyone loves the mailman.
If you’d like to send a care package to our troops, go to Soldiers’ Angels or anysoldier.com.

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