Family & Friends,
Sorry that I am late on the update this week, but I have been spending quite a bit of time on the road lately.
I am back at Camp Darulaman tonight where it was in the "cool" lower 90's today. Back in Jalalabad and the East, we had a couple of days of relief the first week of September, but this past week it was frankly miserable hot at times.
Our ANA brigade along with all of our ETTs -- PA and other Guardsmen, Marines and French -- are doing phenomenally across six different provinces right now. I don't believe that there is another brigade in the ANA or a team of advisors who are doing what we are doing right now.
The start of Ramadan has slowed down our ANA some because of their fasting during the daylight hours. It must be conditioning, but with these temperatures, I don't know how they deal without liquids during the day. They break fast just before the 1800 prayers when they have a little water and a few dates. Then after prayer, they have large meal before the 2000 prayers, which during Ramadan take an hour. Then because they can't eat again after 0400, they usually have their other meal at 0300. (The hours alone would be enough to make me grumpy all the time let alone the fasting.)
Our French advisory team is in the process of being replaced. They are on a six month tour, and it is time for them to leave already! The new group comes from their army's Mountain Brigade, and they are getting off to a great start. We were also informed that the whole brigade would be taken over by the French, which I think is very encouraging sign for the allied effort. Their new president, Sarkozy, has had some influence in the decision, and wants France to take a bigger role in global security matters. Their soldiers appear to have always been eager to participate.
This coming week is business as usual. We will be working with the ANA to finalize their plan to turn over the eastern zone area to their sister brigade, so that we can come back to Darulaman.
GEORGE M. SCHWARTZ
Team Leader/Senior Mentor
1st Brigade, 201st Corps (ANA ETT)