Michael's Dispatches

Scorch & Puddle

11 Comments

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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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dexter Guptill · 7 years ago
    I've been thinking of them by their historic name: Gabions.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    C. Ochsner · 7 years ago
    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!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dori · 7 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kermit · 7 years ago
    They are made by a company named HESCO which is near Hammond, Louisiana, due north of New Orleans across the lake.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    michael wilson · 7 years ago
    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
  • This commment is unpublished.
    michael wilson · 7 years ago
    I FORGOT -- HI HO SILVER-- LEAVE THEM A SILVER PHOTO OR TWO -- SAY HELLO TO TONTO FOR US
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve the Brit · 7 years ago
    [quote name="Kermit"]They are made by a company named HESCO which is near Hammond, Louisiana, due north of New Orleans across the lake.[/quote]

    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
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim · 7 years ago
    Best of Luck Michael. Trust your instincts and your friends.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alex · 7 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    nellie · 7 years ago
    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 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!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Margot · 7 years ago
    :cry:: chilling. i thank God i don't know the desperation of suicide bombers or the fear of them.

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