Gar Rhea on Patrol in Afghanistan
My Brother is in Afghanistan
My oldest brother, Gar (short for "Gardner,") was the nuclear power plant operator on a fast attack submarine for the US Navy for six years of active service. For some reason, the guy who is in charge of the power plant (he is called a "nuke" in general Navy conversation) is given the title "Weapons Officer" even though the only weapon he was in charge of was his own 9mm sidearm and a 12-gauge shotgun when the sub was in port.
When he left active duty, he joined the Naval Reserve (weekend warrior) in order to maintain his rank, get extra pay and eventually draw a nice retirement. He has advanced to the rank of "Commander." Now, the time has come for him to pay his dues, to provide a service for the pay he has been receiving for the last several years. He has been 'activated" and sent to Qalat, Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. You can find more info here: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/af.htm
Anyhoo, Gar is 8 years older than me. He's 45 years old and is a computer network engineer. WHAT THE FREAK IS HE DOING WEARING BODY ARMOR WITH A MACHINE GUN??
Actually he has been attached to a US Army division. His current assignment is to train elements of the Afghani Army in battlefield communications using satellite networks AND how to establish a workable infrastructure for a military base (that is being built in Qalat.) Luckily he does not "patrol" in the sense of looking for Osama bin Laden or his buddies. This picture was taken as the guys were being trained in small squad combat techniques. sheesh. Gar is the guy in the front with glasses. He does have to go into the field with the Afghani army though, and that SUCKS. He cannot send any pictures right now because they don't have regular access to the internet.
He should be able to come home in November 2006, probably the same time Fuki will be back ! ! ! !
I just hope he doesn't get shot in the pooper.
Anyway, that is what is on my mind tonight. (well, that and the story of 9-fingered Bob and Zippy the Skating Chimp in Daytona Florida, but that is a story for next time)