I’d like to introduce myself as the forward deployed member of our class. I am writing from a forward operating base (FOB) in Eastern Afghanistan and am here on a yearlong tour that began in January of this year. If you are wondering how a Northwestern student ended up in Afghanistan, well that is a good question. I began my studies as a Northwestern Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences undergrad in 2001. Suffering from a lack of direction (poor grades) and undecided career path, I enlisted in the Army in 2004. The decision to enlist was in part due to pursuing a childhood dream of serving the the military and also because I realized that both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts did not have an end in sight. I saw that those two conflicts would define my generation, as Vietnam and World War II defined the previous generations. After spending a year deployed to Iraq, I found myself back in the civilian world employed as a police officer. I then decided to continue my education in the School of Continuing Studies, looking to complete the undergraduate degree that I had began years earlier. However, I was called to serve again, this time in Afghanistan, and now here we are.
I joined this class primarily for two reasons. First, I wanted to learn more about the intervention in Afghanistan to get a better understanding and appreciation of everything that is going on around me. Second, I wanted to share my experiences with the class. In Iraq, I had the opportunity to witness the successes of the surge and counterinsurgency campaign first hand, as I was assigned to the headquarters staff of Multi-National Force-Iraq. Here I find myself in a different role, but I still would like to share the experiences of a soldier in a combat zone. Life of a deployed soldier is hard to put in words, as they say, “you have to be there” to truly understand the life of a soldier. The views and opinions I will share are my own, not that of the Army or military. Feel free to comment or asks questions and I will try to reply as quickly as possible. I look forward to working with you all!