Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve

AF MSgt being promoted to SMSgt and pinned on by ANA General and Marine LTC.

It was an exciting day for an AF MSgt on our team.  He was being promoted to SMSgt (E-8) effective at midnight.  In honor of his wishes, he requested a rather unique pinning ceremony.  The ANA General and our Brigade Commander (Marine LTC) would have the honor of tacking on his future stripes.  We started the ceremony by playing the Afghan National Anthem, followed by the US National Anthem.  However, we learned a valuable and historical lesson about the ANA anthem.  Even though it was originally written over 200 years ago, it has changed 5 or 6 times since then.  The version we downloaded

AF SMSgt being congratulated by ETT leader.

from the Internet was outdated and composed in the Dari dialect.   The latest version is derived from the Pashto language.  At the last moment, the Brigade Sergeant Major was able to find the most current version.  This saved us from possible embarrassment with our ANA guests present.  Our ETT leader gave a nice presentation and spoke highly about our team member.  He even memorized the words to the oath that this new SMSgt would recite after him.  I have only witnessed an officer doing this twice in my AF career.  Afterwards, the ANA General and Marine LTC placed a new set of SMSgt stripes over the MSgt stripes and customarily punched the stripes to ensure they would stay on.  Since I outranked him, I too had the privilege of tacking his stripes and congratulating him for being promoted to the top 3% of the enlisted corp.  Although his wife and children couldn’t be present, they can be proud of his accomplishment and at the end of the month be even prouder when they go on their shopping spree due to the new pay raise associated with being promoted.

Tajbeg (Queen's) Palace

After lunch several members visited the shooting range to hone our marksmanship skills.  One of the shooting ranges is near the Tajbeg (Queen’s) Palace which serves as a landmark signifying the Soviet invasion over 30 years ago.  This was the same site (Dec 27, 1979) where ANA President Amin was assassinated along with family

A little target practice.

members and 170 body guards, thus starting the Soviet invasion.  It also serves as a grim reminder of the atrocities committed by the Soviet regime who tried to install a Marxist Communist government against the will of the people.

While at the range, we practiced with our M-4 rifles, M-16’s, and M-9 pistols.  Although the targets were set at 25 meters, the target is still rather small to hit.  But as you can see from the target in the picture, our weapons are very accurate.  Some Afghan boys came to the fence line and kept begging for some food and water.  We had no food, so I tossed them a case of bottled water and they were pacified.  Coming back on to the camp I saw a unique

Looks good to me.

painted jingle truck.  This old truck was really jingling with the chains dangling from the front and side.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve and a blue moon.  It only happens about every 3 years and for it to occur on New Year’s Eve is even rarer.  A blue moon happens when there is a full moon twice in a single calendar month.  Contrary to folklore, the moon doesn’t turn blue either.  The next blue moon will take place in August 2012.  But the next blue moon on New Year’s Eve won’t happen until 2028.  So when someone says once in a blue moon, you will understand the meaning behind this saying.  I am hoping to figure out the settings on my camera so I can take a unique picture of this moon.

Afghan boys excited about the bottled water I gave them.

This is a once in a life time shot and I am not coming back to Afghanistan to repeat it.  I will let you know tomorrow how it came out.

Jingle truck driving past.

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3 Responses

  1. Happy new year!!!

  2. I so enjoy reading your blog. The work you are doing and risks taken to accomplish what your team is out to do is inspiring. Thank you for your dedication. I am happy for you that you had such a wonderful time in Germany. My son is at Ramstein. He and his family have enjoyed Germany and all of the history surrounding it. I had the privilege to traveling across Afghanistan in the early ’70s. The people had a brief window of freedom at that time. They were such wonderful people and were very welcoming of travelers. It is such a shame that they have had to endure such hardships for so long. I pray that some peace and stability will come to them. Again, thank you and your team for the work you are doing. Lorraine

  3. reread your post. can you tell me how do the ANA like the M16.? or would they like the ak47 back.? just asking. stay safe.

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