30 Days on the Front Line

This contribution to 30 Days – The Collection comes from a friend of mine who’s been in the army for many years. His reflections below act as a reminder of the contrasts and conflicts in the world today… and just how very fortunate we are. His identity has been suppressed due to the sensitive nature of his role in the armed forces.

My last 30 days in Afghanistan were the first 30 Christie spent on her jaunt. Ironically there was probably more chance of me kicking the bucket during that time than ticking off a bucket list.

For me it was 271 days between putting my feet on Aussie soil.

One of the things that sticks clearly with me is how quickly you can adapt to a different environment. My first trip outside the wire had my head on a swivel and my weapon at the ready as I was sure the threat was anywhere and everywhere.

Despite all my training, smelling and seeing and tasting a place like this for the first time puts you into the unknown.

It wasn’t long though before the missions turned to routine, the rocket attacks waking you at night an annoyance and finding an IED (improvised explosive device) on the road quickly lead to the realisation that you’d be sleeping in the dasht (desert) that night.

I needed to remind myself at times to stay vigilant, as you can develop a sense of complacency when you become use to the dust, and the Taliban. What was so alien at first became a part of everyday life and so you accept it and carry on.

Those last 30 days were like the other 241 really. Afghanistan is a place of contrasts. Bitterly cold and sweltering hot. Moments of calm with moments of chaos. Backwards and forwards. Beauty and horror.



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