Greetings From Kyrgyzstan "Sneezing For Freedom" Part One

Greetings From Kyrgyzstan "Sneezing For Freedom" Part One

A Story by Calwarr

A lighthearted, semi-factual look at Army life from the inside.


Howdy friends and neighbors! I'm Shawn Kent, and I would like to share for you a series of letters, and emails I sent home from Afghanistan during my deployment there with the US Army. Years ago I spent a fun filled year in sunny southern Baghdad. I noticed that a lot of soldiers were writing home about their manly exploits, that seemed specifically designed to scare the pants off their loved ones. So I decided to throw gritty reality out the window and write a fun, semi-factual series of letters home to keep my family and friends smiling Well, here we go again. This time our destination is Afghanistan, and I'm showing up a few miles from the Pakistan border, a complete stranger to a unit already deployed. Hopefully there will be a lot of action to share with my readers, but not to worry, I can always make something up!

So without further ado, I give you..........

Greetings from Kyrgyzstan, the "dirt between the mountains" country! Yes, that’s right oh family and friends of mine, just when you thought it was safe to open your email, the “Greetings” series has returned, rarer than a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky, more heartening than a ray of light in the darkness, more startling than a small furry creature in your sleeping bag, more terrifying than the music of a John Mayer/Taylor Swift love child.

It has been five long years since the last of the “Greetings” series and now that your therapist has upped your medication, it is time to subject you to more of my razor sharp, piercingly witty commentary. Yes, once again, I will be your guide through the hero's journey, as he embarks upon an epic quest, to free yet another country from the tyrannical forces that have subjugated it, standing unafraid against the black tide, scratching his personal regions vigorously in the pursuit of justice, determined to write silly e-mails till the world is free. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be inspired, as I regale you with the beginning of my adventure, and while you're at it please send me a crate of Kleenex.

Currently, I am spending the majority of my heroic time blowing my heroically red nose. By the time we touched down in Shannon Ireland I looked like I was auditioning for a live action version of Rudolf the Red nosed SGT. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I will break down my trip by the conveyances in which I traveled. (Assuming conveyance means what I think it means. I mean it kinda sounds like a pretentious cologne for guys with hairy chests, and gold chains that stand WAY to close to you when they talk, and call you “man” a lot in weird European accents. Possible TV commercial: With us, your scent will get to her first… Conveyance!)

The Taxi

I set out on a rainy Saturday evening in Tennessee, saying goodbye to my wife and children at the house to spare them the torment of watching me bawl like Kanye West at an awards show in front of my entire unit, possibly causing Brigitte to enter the witness relocation program. For this purpose I called a local taxi service and informed them that it would be their honor to transport me to Battalion HQ, to which the operator replied in tones of awe “OK.” As usual I was prepared well in advance for such an important trip having finished my packing approximately a millisecond before the taxi arrived.

I strode out into the night; I had to stride out about three times due to the fact that I had lots of brave, heavy, heroic luggage. I then stoically said my final farewells to; Angelina my three year old, who replied “what?” James, my three month old, who replied, “Whaaah” and Brigitte who replied “You forgot your note cards.”

Within moments of leaving the house, there were tears streaming down my face.

I opened the door to the cab and winced at the cloud of cigarette smoke That billowed heroically out into the night as I tried in vain to see the cab driver through the murk..

“Hop in!” a man’s voice said from roughly the driver’s side of the car. I could see the bright glow of a lit cig wink in and out as I bravely sat down and closed the door.

“Mind if I smoke?” The voice said, to which I replied, “Arghgakk!”

“Thanks” he said, still unseen in the fog. The tears began to roll down my face from my stinging eyes, leaving clean spots in the inch thick layer of ash on my cheeks.

“Oh by the way,” he said, as I stabbed at the window control with my finger hard enough to gouge holes in the door. “The windows don’t work but if you’re hot I can turn on the fan.”

I nodded vigorously, like a heroic epileptic, hoping that he could see me, or the road for that matter. A gnarled hand darted out an flipped a switch, and immediately soothing gusts of putrid tobacco smoke rushed into my nose, mouth, ears and soul.

He chatted with me to pass the time of the short 72 hour drive, with little tales of taxi driver life, punctuated with winks from the tips of the endless parade of cigarettes he smoked on the journey.

He asked my how long I had been stationed here in Kentucky to which I replied ”Arghgakk!”.

Upon reaching our destination, I thrust a wad of money into the winking cloud of smoke and thanked him with a big thumbs-up, gathered my bags, and lay on the cool wet pavement, letting the clean air next to the big dumpster revive me.

After my taxi ride, I fearlessly sat around for about 3 hours, watching other families say goodbye to one another, and eating salted cashews provided by (I am not making this up) a severely balding women who had dyed her hair orange. During this stimulating, and of course heroic period of time, I somehow ended up giving a couples counseling session to a couple of young Lieutenants and their women. The Lieutenants were educated young men, blissfully unaware of what total morons they were about women. They spoke to their ladies, with all the charm of Mel Gibson drinking and dialing.

Satisfied that I had temporarily saved their relationships with my unbridled, know-it-all, awesomeness, I proceeded to eat more salted cashews, and attempted to scare the bejeesus out of all the soldiers that were deploying for the first time.

“Sure, MOST of you guys will come back with a spleen!”

Let the record show, that at this point, I had not blown my nose a single time!

The Bus

The army employs a large fleet of white buses that they use to ferry soldiers to important events such as training, flights, jail, country music concerts… and we were to take a convoy of them to the flight line. Saying their final farewells, (a bit less heartfelt and dramatic when diluted by three hours of random snack food and boredom) the soldiers bundled heroically onto the buses, expressing their bravery by stoically farting, and telling dirty jokes. This particular trip our frivolity was focused on an unfortunate young soldier that we (meaning me) have lovingly dubbed “Pvt. Happy”.

Pvt. Happy is approximately five foot two, ninety pounds soaking wet, constantly smiling. He is like a floppy eared puppy, but less threatening. Some of the other more worldly soldiers have taken him under their wing, in an effort to help bring the young boy into the world of men. Apparently, they feel that the best way to toughen him up is to get him ridiculously drunk in public, and then film him stumbling around, vomiting, and using the bathroom. Pvt. Happy is not bothered in the least by any of this, he just sits there doing the human version of wagging his tail, grinning ear to ear, and occasional letting out little high pitched giggles like the man he is being taught to be.

It was a carefree free ride passing around the videos of young Happy, passed out on a toilet, lying in a parking lot drooling, becoming a man. It reminded me of the Army’s new recruiting slogan, designed to appeal to the parents of our nation’s young men: “You made them strong, we make them Army Strong!”

There was laughter, there was camaraderie, and there was not yet a sniffle.

The Plane

To be continued…

© 2011 Calwarr

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Added on June 19, 2011
Last Updated on June 19, 2011
Tags: Army, War, Satire, Travel, Soldier, Comedy, Funny, Lighthearted, Afghanistan



Clarksville, TN

Greetings and salutations, it's your friendly neighborhood Calwarr here. I am a professional soldier, father and snappy dresser. I have always had the writing bug and lately have decided to spend more.. more..


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