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U.S. Marines Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee, center background, talks to Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, during a visit Monday to Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam in eastern Afghanistan.
U.S. Marines Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee, center background, talks to Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, during a visit Monday to Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam in eastern Afghanistan. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

Troops looking for a caffeine jolt in the field have developed an industrious trick. Coffee packets provided in Meals, Ready to Eat packets have been used without water, sugar or cream by some troops to get their daily cup of joe.

Troops have taken to stuffing the coffee granules between their lower lip and bottom gum, much like dipping snuff. The granules form a gel-like substance and offer a noticeable caffeine kick.

The bitter goo would never be mistaken for a gourmet brew, but it does the trick.

‘T and A’ in AfghanistanWhile “T and A” in the States has decidedly sexual connotations, the phrase refers to something very different in Afghanistan. Nearly all Afghan women can be seen in cities and villages wearing the traditional burqa — a full-body-length gown that covers just about every bit of female skin. The only parts of the women’s bodies left exposed are their toes and ankles. When you hear the phrase “T and A” in Afghanistan, it’s in obvious reference to “toes and ankles.” Get your mind out of the gutter.

Generally speakingIn addition to awarding Purple Hearts on Monday at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee praised Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. Hagee told the Marines they are playing a significant role in changing history in Afghanistan. He thanked the men and their families for their sacrifice.

Hagee also spoke of the irregular battlefield of improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers that Marines will face in the future. The four-star general stressed the importance of education in the Marines’ training while engaged against smart adversaries.

“We need to be able to outthink them, as well as outfight them,” Hagee said.

Catch that chickenAt a patrol base in eastern Afghanistan, Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, out of Hawaii, helped an Afghan woman and a handful of kids catch their chickens Wednesday evening.

The footloose fowl wandered into the patrol base, oblivious to the dug-in troops.

As the Afghans approached, a few Marines flanked the birds. After a few minutes of darting and diving, the chickens were successfully apprehended by the villagers. It’s just one more example of the humanitarian assistance Marines are providing in the Afghan countryside.

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