Reporter’s Notebook: Afghan roads claim vehicles
Stars and Stripes October 15, 2005
Think back to the worst dirt road you’ve ever driven on in America. Add about 1,000 misplaced rocks, and cover it all in a quarter-inch of powder-fine dust. The result is your typical Afghan road.
So, it’s not hard to imagine that these “roads” take out a Humvee or two from time to time.
Early Saturday morning, as a platoon of Marines made its way back to a patrol base in Watapoor, Afghanistan, a Humvee fell victim to the Afghan roads. It encountered problems with its front wheel, and Marine Staff Sgt. Barry St. Onge, the platoon sergeant, arranged to get it towed back to the patrol base.
The going was slow, but the Humvee was near the end of its trip when what appeared to be the CV boot fell off. A Marine hopped out of a trailing vehicle, nonchalantly tossed the part in the back and the vehicles rolled on. The Humvee was repaired once it was returned to the patrol base, ending another tale on life on the “roads” of Afghanistan.
How BazaarIn their off time, Marines sit down to card tables, playing gin rummy, spades and hearts. Now, adding another game to their arsenal, they have picked up an Afghan card game from interpreters called Bazaar.
Each player is dealt four cards and four cards are dealt to the middle. The game is played with two teams composed of two players. The aim of the game is to make books of similarly numbered cards. The cards are assigned points, and the first team that gets 300 wins.
The game is anything but bizarre and will likely make it back to the States when these Marines based out of Hawaii finish their deployment.
Tree go boomMembers of Company E, 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, were traveling in a convoy last week to link up with and resupply fellow Marines in eastern Afghanistan’s Watapoor valley. During the convoy, they encountered an impassable section of road blocked by a tree. The tree appeared to be in bad shape and didn’t look to be holding any fruit.
In order to reach their fellow Marines, who had hiked into the area and were running low on supplies, members of the convoy attached explosives to the tree, took cover, yelled “fire in the hole” three times and blew down the tree.
Unfortunately, when the tree fell, its stump and root system ended up in the road. It was no problem for more explosives. A second explosion echoed up the valley and cleared the path for the convoy. No one was hurt in the explosions.
Word of the exploded tree prompted a query to the platoon commander to determine whether the convoy was going to be delivering toothpicks, in addition to food and water.