Along the way, my iPhone just flat-out died on me, so out went my plans to take a single photo each day and write about it. For OPSEC reasons, that might not've been a brilliant idea, anyway. Still, there's plenty that can be said, so once I have a camera going again I would rather show you than try to tell you about the breathtaking views I have of the *foothills* of the Hindu Kush each morning when I wake up and walk to work.
It's still not really our show yet, as we're still undergoing what's known as the RIP/TOA period (Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority). As with any other RIP/TOA, there's a begrudging respect the two units have for each other, mixed with the excitement that the outgoing unit has to be headed back for home and loved ones, while the incoming unit bides its time until the "takeover," just waiting to show how much better they will be able to execute the mission.
True to form, we're probably living up to all those cliches. And I *really do* think we're going to do it better than they did - though somewhere in the back of my mind I know those words will be coming from someone else next year, and we'll be the subjects.
So it goes. Either way, I'm just happy to have Annual Training, the Mobilization Station, and the multi-day travel event squarely in the rearview mirror. Tomorrow will be my third full day "in country," and there's so much to do and learn (today started at 0400 and it's just wrapping up now at 2234) that I sort of lose focus on the fact that there are things in the world going on beyond this base, city, and nation.
With a Patrol Cap tipped somewhere towards Ben-Hur, this is the time to "row well, and live."