ANA Surgeon, Gravel, and Puppies

Army 1Lt with ANA Brigade Surgeon.

I suppose when you read the header, you are wondering what these words have in common.  Other than this is what I saw today in Afghanistan, they are not related.  After the morning Battle space Update Briefing (BUB), I accompanied the Army Lt and the ANA Brigade surgeon to his office to discuss a future project.  The ANA surgeon has been active and supportive with our Village Medical Operations and looks forward to more in the future.  Coincidentally during my travels here, I visited the village where he was born.  It’s a small world, even in Afghanistan.

Army Lt improvises and uses refrigerator for whiteboard.

As you can tell from the pictures, the ANA surgeon’s office is very sparse looking. It has a flimsy metal gray file cabinet containing patient records, cheap particle board desks, a dented refrigerator and a rather large television set previously donated by a mentor.  Although not in the picture, the patient bed behind the curtains is quite simple too.  Much of the furniture still in use is either from the Soviet era or donated by past mentors.  The Lt couldn’t find a whiteboard to write on, so he improvised by using dry erase markers on the refrigerator.  Hmmm..Lt is this how you teach Social Studies back in Chicago?…lol.  The Lt was discussing the distribution plans for the new emergency ambulance kits that recently arrived.  It took 2 years to get them and now most of the shelf lives of the medical items are expired.

ANA truck dumping gravel.

In Fort Riley during our embedded training team instruction, we were taught that some of the repetitive ANA issues that will surface is firewood, fuel, soldier pay, and gravel.  I could probably write several pages on each of these topics.  Today’s mission was to have the ANA relocate the gravel.  It was delivered and dumped into large mounds several months ago.  Many of the roads in ANA land are dirt and become muck when it rains or snows.  In addition, since there are few sidewalks leading to buildings, they have the same problem.  The gravel cures this problem and alleviates getting stuck in a vehicle or sinking past your ankles into mud.   I think the AF Captain intentionally had it dumped near the US complex to see if the ANA garrison and ANA battalions could jointly utilize their resources to accomplish this task.  Sounds simple, but it wasn’t.  One battalion would have to supply drivers, dump trucks and a front end loader, while the garrison would provide a grader and then of course who was going to use their fuel allotment to make this happen.  Lastly, coordinating a date to make this all happen took several months of pointing fingers and miscommunications.  But alas, today the dump trucks and the front end loader showed up and the gravel was relocated to ANA land.  Now we have to wait for the ANA grader to get repaired so it can be spread out evenly.  It’s been broken for several months, but nobody thought it was important to notify maintenance to repair it.  So it’s anyone’s guess how long the gravel will sit in strategically positioned smaller piles.

New camp puppies.

Patience, patience, and patience is a prerequisite in becoming an ETT mentor or combat adviser.  I have to constantly remind myself of this. This is why I joke and sometimes am ecstatic about celebrating small victories.  There are many days during a mentoring session when you feel as though you have run your head into a brick wall.   So it’s always refreshing to see something to relieve this tension.  Today this relief came at the sight of new camp puppies that have been carefully guarded.  The mother of the puppies recently died, but her offspring have been weaned off her milk and they are able to eat solid foods now.  But of course, they won’t pass up the opportunity to lap up a saucer of milk …. lol. The biggest puppy has been affectionately nicknamed “Fat Boy.”

Puppies drinking milk.

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3 Responses

  1. I love the pics of the pups following your blog as my son has joined the army, going infantry by choice, Basic at Ft Benning in MArch, Nephew is Major, Blackhawk pilot at Ft Hood. I teach Ag science and want to know what will happen to the puppies? Soldiers to keep them, or to be running free? It is something my kids will want to know when we read your blog in class on Monday.

    • Here is the latest on the puppies. “Runt Runt” and “Unnamed” are still here, one puppy was already adopted and another one is leaving soon.
      The interpreters took “Fat Boy.”

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by DeidreKnight: RT @Afghanistanlast: More camp puppies and how gravel of all things plays key role in #Afghanistan http://wp.me/prCP7-1np

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