25 November 2012

Week 20 from Afghanistan

Week 20 from AFG

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.
We had a good one here. Something I was surprised about, because the food isn't usually very good. The best part though was knowing that my family was able to enjoy the company of their grandparents, an aunt, cousins and some friends. As it happened, we had a water emergency with our water heater, and some ministering angels from the Ward came and helped resolve that. There is much to be thankful for.
I got some letters in the mail this week that were pretty interesting. THREE's teacher had the kids write letters to me for Veterans Day. That was very nice of them. The letters are cute and some are funny. I thought I'd share some quotes. These are fourth graders now, keep in mind:

"I'll pray for you that nothing bad ever happens."
"If you fly stuff [I don't] is there any guns on the flying machine. How many flying stuff is there. I bet you are good at being in the airforce."
"How hard is your job? Do you like it? Is it hard being away from family? Do you like my letter? Happy veterans day. Hope to see you soon."

"What kind of guns do you have?"
"I hope you get praised at veterans day. I hope you don't get pelted. Is the food in the Army good? If it is good or bad I do not care. I hope you come back quickly."
"Have you got to go in the airplane hanger?"
"Do a good job at veterans day. What kind of gun do you have?...I hope you will win the war."

Most of the kids expressed thanks for our service here, and asked a lot of questions about the conditions here. One interesting line of comments and questions revolved around my job. The kids seem to think I am an interrogator. My wife told me that the teacher is married to an FBI agent and she assumed that this was the teachers way of explaining what I do. The more that I read the letters though, the more it seemed like that information was coming from THREE. Now that is actually pretty funny. So of course I am a trained interrogator, and part of what we do in criminal investigations or tactical counterintelligence would be to interrogate or tactically question an individual. That said, there are whole groups of guys that do nothing but interrogate detainees. I am not one of them. The only reason I can think THREE would have that impression is because I am somewhat famous in my household for interrogating my kids.

Whenever they are trying to pull a fast one, I will often say to them-- "What do you think I do for a living. You know I interrogate people all day long. Are you going to make me break you?" or something along those lines. In the cases where they don't come clean immediately, I have been known to break into interrogation themes and get a confession out of them. Usually takes about 30 seconds. Anyway, I am thinking that my little guy has a different impression of what I do for a living than is accurate. Here are some of the kids comments:

"Is it true you interrogate the enemy?"
"What is the hardest part of your job. Why did you want to be an interrogator?"
"Is it cool interrogating people?"
"What is it like questioning people?"


The sweetest letter was this:

"Dear LTC Lajeunesse, Thank you for bringing your service to our country. And for working really hard to save lives. You did a really good job. I hope one day I can be a hero like you."

Well with kids like that, the future seems pretty bright to me. I'm not a hero, but I've worked with a lot of them. I know that for all who have continued to serve over the last decade plus of war, those that are the true heroes are those who do it for the right reasons. For love of our constitutional system. I think many military men and women would bring our troops right home right now. I know many that served heroically in Iraq did not agree with that conflict either. But they serve at the orders of the President and the officers appointed over them. They serve not a man or men, but principles. Principles which they hold so dear, and have such faith in, that even when they feel we are off course, they continue to be be true to their oath of office. They know that it is our allegiance to constitutional law that enables our union to continue, and they hope for a better day, where wisdom and experience guide our electorate on a better path.

I'm thankful for such men and women, and am thankful for a generation of kids, that also have faith, and believe.

I will comment briefly on a hero I know from *******. He is an OSI Agent. He didn't work for me there, but worked for a unit across town. He was a Lieutenant then, but may be a Captain now. We used to see him pretty regularly as they would base out of our office if they ever had work to do there. I've talked to him since he deployed here--he is in a fairly quiet posting, but near the Pakistani border. Well, all that quiet gave way this week, when a suicide bomber blew a hole though their compound entry control point. This Captain was in the chow hall, 100 meters away, when the attack occurred. After the initial duck and cover drill, he sped back to grab his gear and got on site and began directing the evacuation of the area and then he and his team administered first aid to the wounded. Our pre-deployment training is a pretty intense series of events where we move out to an operational location, get "blown up" and have to react appropriately, calling in for medevac and air support. We also go through a simulator that is pretty life like, dealing with amputations, arteriole bleeding, chest wounds etc. Anyway, when called into action, this young officer dove right in to save the lives of those that had suffered those types of injuries in this attack. You end up just reacting to the training you've gotten. Its like sports. You just do it. Scenes like that happen everyday, all across this country. Those guys are all volunteers. Whether they like their particular job or no. Whether they believe in the politics of the war or not. Whether they voted for the President or the other guy. They just do it. They are heroes.

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