The latest box of cards arrived yesterday afternoon. Certainly the Mother's Day cards will be useful.
My two year tour in Afghanistan is coming to an end on May 1st. The end of the tour will be almost bitter-sweet. During the last two years I worked very closely with the British Embassy and the US Army to build a vocational school at the detention facility in Parwan. The "students" are unique. They are men who have been captured on the battle field. A good portion 65% are not hard core insurgents. Rather, they got caught up in the insurgency through economic necessity. They are what we call the $5.00 a day insurgent.
We hope that by teaching men who will someday be released with a skill, they will no longer have a need to work with the insurgency. To that end, we've built a vocational center that teaches carpentry, masonry, plumbing, welding, electrical and rebar work. The curriculum is certified by the Ministry of Education and when the men graduate they are presented a diploma by the Minister. Also since there is a 70% illiteracy rate throughout Afghanistan, we also teach the men how to read and write in their native language. This is a life altering skill. When the men are eligible for release we try to find them employment in their home province.
The reports so far have been positive. Once the former detainees realize that the U.S. and the Afghan governments have improved their lives, they turn their backs to the insurgency. This in turn is saving Americans. If we save one life, it's a success.
Leaving here is hard. The successes are plentiful but there is so much more that needs to be done. Thankfully there are many good men and women to continue what has been started.
Believe me when I say that none of the good work could happen without the support from home. The troops do read the papers and watch the news. They are affected by the reports of declining support for their efforts. The tangible show of support by the great people at Operation Write Home and other organizations goes a long way. Your backing of the men and women in uniform makes a difference everyday. Our soldiers are the greatest in the world. They deserve our support.
Thank you for taking care of our soldiers. Our desire to move forward is due to your backing. In essence, our success is your success. Please pass along our sincere gratitude to the members of OWH.
|Dedication of the vocational school|