Misadventures in Kuwait
Our great leader, the intrepid manager of the Great Gandhara Hotel and Mortar Lounge, was jinxed. He got infected by a parasite called Leishmaniasis. They neglected to inform us if he had the kind of infection that ate the skin from within or the one that just ate the face. Regardless, he had to be evacuated overnight for treatment only possible in the civilized world, to never return. The gentleman who took over for him was younger but equally cynical and, therefore, trustworthy. One day he called me over into his hole-in-the-wall office to ask me if I would wish to go and help in an operation somewhere in Afghanistan. I briefly mulled over the following probable consequences:
A chance to see different wild, beautiful, and burning countryside
Find yet another place to be miserable
And lastly, and only if I made it past Point 1, death
After that careful, if a bit gloomy introspection, and being a sucker for everything ending in the words "somewhere in Afghanistan," I replied in the affirmative.
It is not often that a far higher-ranking officer would ask a lowly-enlisted E4 if he “wished” to go somewhere, and that too in an active war zone.
Something fishy was afoot, and I could not tell what. As we know from a previous episode of my newsletter, I was a squishy bag of bones, meat, and undeveloped muscle fiber compared to the fabulous Santa Forces. It was hard to believe that the entire U.S. Army was so hard up that they would request I go somewhere in my capacity as a soldier to fight anyone. There could only be one reason for Uncle Sam to request me by name yet again, and it had to be my skills in Intel and languages. However, nothing came of that whole incident despite the hype, and I quickly became busy conducting my routine ops. I soon forgot about the entire episode. Looking back at the timeframe, I realized that I had missed the opportunity to participate in Operation Anaconda.
Image © Jason Whitman, Getty Images
I was pretty bummed to have missed it, and I'll never know the higher decision-making process behind it. A change did come my way soon and incredibly unexpectedly. A few weeks later, I was given a couple of hours to pack my duffel bags and snivel gear to head out on another mission. Uncle Sam had called for me yet again on what was to be the first of two trips to the sandy piece of hell, Kuwait.
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