Dear Family & Friends,
Today was a special because the unit celebrated Afghanistan's Independence Day in Jalalabad. Tomorrow is the actual Independence Day, but because the unit has to provide security in this area, it was celebrated today.
Today made me appreciate that we actually have quite a bit in common with the Afghans. Both our societies are multi-cultural and diverse, our peoples desire freedom and security, and although we both won our freedom from the British, the Brits are now -- for both our countries -- one of our closest allies.
We were joined at today's celebration by our US comrades from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, who operate in partnership with our brigade. Both brigade commanders had some remarks for the assembled soldiers and guests, and then some soliders were recognized with certificates of acvhievement. After the official proceedings, a band played for the soldiers and several groups of soldiers did traditional Afghan dancing. (See attached picture.)
Another big even today was the arrival of the 5th Kandak resupply convoy to Jalalabad which brings us our mail. Many of the Pennsylvanians work with the 5th Kandak and they receive a hero's welcome when they show up with mail.
The Peace Jirga between Afghanistan and Pakistan ended this past week on a positive note. You probably know from the news that many of the terrorists take refuge in the lawless nowrthwestern frontiers of Pakistan, and both countries are now working hard to eliminate these refuges. The Pakistanis have been having their own problems with "miscreants" in that area this summer.
This coming week some of our US and ANA operational staff will be working with planners from the 173rd ABN BDE and the 201st ANA Corps on upcoming operations, inlcuding our pending relief from the eastern zone. Also this week, the 5th Kandak is going to be doing first aid training for Afghan Uniformed Police and then will conduct a MEDCAP (medical civil assistance program) in Asadabad.
Best Regards for a Happy Summer at Home!
GEORGE M. SCHWARTZ
Team Leader/Senior Mentor
1st Brigade, 201st Corps (ANA ETT)