Michael's Dispatches

Scorch & Puddle

puddle-finalimg_9661-webThe Puddle

28 February 2011
Urozgan Province, Afghanistan

This morning, we drove a dangerous unpaved road from Tarin Kot to Dehrawud, passing recent bomb craters and ancient wrecks of two Soviet tanks.  The muddy road often splashed brown soup across the windshield while grey skies threatened to unleash again.  More rain could bring flash floods that could leave us stranded in Taliban country.  We kept our heads covered as we splashed through villages and dark men and boys often tried to peer in.  Away from the villages, in the countryside, there were occasional flocks of sheep, goats, and camels, along with countless opportune ambush sites.

After about ninety minutes of beating down the jarring road, we arrived in Dehrawud where the Central Asia Development Group (CADG) is implementing work projects.  Manager Leonard Grami conducted his business, and then we took a walk downtown.  In a marketplace, I saw the blast damage on a “Hesco” barrier, and so I asked what happened.

An Afghan man said that a suicide bomber had walked this way toward his target, and when security forces saw him, they shot him dead.  But there he was.  Strapped with explosives and in a dangerous state downtown.  And so, according to the Afghan man, American troops put explosives on the dead man, then detonated him in place.  All that is left is the scorched Hesco, and the hole in the road, which on this gloomy day was a puddle.

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Comments   

 
# Dexter Guptill 2011-02-28 18:46
I've been thinking of them by their historic name: Gabions.
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# C. Ochsner 2011-02-28 18:49
Short but clear story! Well done troops ..... no other way to go! Am always thinking by reading your dispatches, that war is war. No matter where or when. There are no clear borders, no clear enemies, no heroic stories ..... simple the madness of living in warzones. Thank you Michael for that short insigth .... it's helpfully to understand what happened and never to forget that life in war is daily life 24/7 .... and not consuming headlines to the breakfast. God bless you and the troops out there .....stay safe!
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# Dori 2011-02-28 18:54
Michael, your photographs continue to be haunting and moving. Living in the U.S.A. and having never traveled to the Middle East, it seems like they have virtually stayed the same for hundreds of years. I am thankful to God that we have never had on-going war in this country. And I do believe it's due to God. Thank you for your work that must seem thankless at times. You're in my thoughts and prayers.
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-1 # Kermit 2011-02-28 18:59
They are made by a company named HESCO which is near Hammond, Louisiana, due north of New Orleans across the lake.
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# michael wilson 2011-02-28 19:04
GOOD STORY -- SAVED SOME KIDS LIFE-- KEEP YOU VEST ON AND YOUR CAMERA CLEAN-- THANKS AGAIN FOR WHAT YOU DO-- PS DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE BOOK-- IT WILL SHOW UP WHEN IT DOES--- THANKS MIKE WILSON
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# michael wilson 2011-02-28 19:09
I FORGOT -- HI HO SILVER-- LEAVE THEM A SILVER PHOTO OR TWO -- SAY HELLO TO TONTO FOR US
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+1 # Steve the Brit 2011-02-28 19:34
Quoting Kermit:
They are made by a company named HESCO which is near Hammond, Louisiana, due north of New Orleans across the lake.


I don't know about that but here's the obituary of the man who founded the British company that created Hesco Bastion... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/finance-obituaries/8040004/Jimi-Heselden.html
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# Tim 2011-03-01 04:20
Best of Luck Michael. Trust your instincts and your friends.
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# Alex 2011-03-01 14:44
Glad you are back in country. As you know we are getting no information from the western media...almost as if they aren't covering the war at all anymore. I very much appreciate your dispatches.
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+1 # nellie 2011-03-01 15:46
My understanding of Gabions is chickenwire baskets (usually cuboid) filled with fist sized stones and rock chippings. HESCO is usually filled with dirt and can be anything up to 3 layers tall. I wish I had shares in Hesco as it is all over Afghanistan providing much needed protection to the military. I certainly felt much happier once I got much Chinook on the ground behind it!
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+1 # Margot 2011-03-02 15:27
:cry:: chilling. i thank God i don't know the desperation of suicide bombers or the fear of them.
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