Journal Entry November 23rd, 2001
Somewhere in southeast Afghanistan heading directly for Kandahar, it is nine weeks after 9/11/2001. America as a whole, all of its citizens and the world are still in disbelief from the surprise Al Qaeda attacks against the New York Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. It is our country that tries to heal from the most horrific attacks on U.S. soil since the Japanese surprise attack on December 7th, 1941…60 years earlier. Now over 3,000 innocent people have been killed by Al Qaeda, a global Islamic terrorist organization led by Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri.
We are the first 200 Americans on the ground in Afghanistan following 9/11. All of us are trained and highly skilled. We’ve all trained and been hand-picked experiencing rigorous selection courses where 85% of those who try out, fail to succeed. Trained in advanced communications, I’m skilled as a SCUBA diver, Military Free fall and Static Line Parachutist. A parachute Jump Master. Dive Supervisor. Qualified in over ten assault rifles, pistols, heavy machine gun and sub-machine gun weapons. Capable of infiltrating in any helicopter, aircraft or assault vehicle and motorcycles. Trained in advanced navigation on foot, vehicle or animal. Specializing in air to ground tactics using aircraft, space and Cyber assets. I’m the integrator of the air war with battles on the ground.
The afternoon is hot and dry with piercing brilliant blue skies free of clouds. We have over a hundred vehicles formed in a “V” formation all moving forward heading towards the home of the Taliban. Kandahar. I’m in the backseat of a maroon Toyota Hilux pickup truck sitting behind the driver, Ken, a US Army Special Forces 18D Medic. I’m assigned to move with a US Army Special Forces 12 man “A” team. I’m their primary source for “air support” or aircraft for security. With a small silver hand-held “Garmin” Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver in one hand and an outdated survival map in the other, it seems I’m the only Air Force operator for several hundred miles.
Balancing an M-4 Assault rifle between my knees, my personal weapon from work I spray painted brown and tan despite the Air Forces regulations telling me no. My rifle has an ACOG scope, BE Meyers miniature infrared pointer also a 40mm grenade launcher mounted on the rail system attached to the stock. Feeling the weight of a load bearing vest over my shoulders and around my waist, I also carry a black Beretta 9mm pistol. With suppressors on both weapons, I’m carrying over 500 rounds of M-4 ammunition, 9mm rounds, 40 mm grenades and survival gear.
My unit has joined an American armada of forces from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard mobilizing and moved out all over the world. Allies from countries like Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Norway and Denmark have joined America. The Global War on Terror or GWOT has officially begun.