Dear Family & Friends,
This was rather a quiet week...except for today.
This past week the Afghans were celebrating the start of the Haj followed by the holidays of Eid Ul Adha. We did not know which day it woud start exactly because the scholars have to analyze the moon to get the day exacly. We found out on Monday that it was going to start on Tuesday, so our ANA comrades were off Tuesday through Friday allowing many of us to take it easy too.
Today, however, the President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy visited us for about 45 minutes; we found out yesterday that he was coming. He arrived just after lunch with a huge entourage, direct from a lunch with President Karzai. He reviewed an ANA formation and then inspected the French equipment. Some of the guys on our team had the chance to shake his hand and then some of us had our pictures taken with him too.
Everyone was excited by the visit and I have heard folks looking at each others picture until the late hours of the night. It went well and our French friends were very happy, and the ANA were extremely proud to host the world leader.
We finalizing plans for our Christmas. I have arranged it with the ANA that it will be another day off for us, and the general consensus seems to be that most people want to sleep as late as they want and then gorge themselves once they get up. Our KBR service pesonnel are ready to oblige and our Christmas dinner menu is supposed to include ham, turkey, steamship round and shrimp cocktail.
Although the Pennsylvanians will be able to celebrate the holiday in the relative safety of Camp Dubs, some of our comrades from the 1st Brigade Team here -- US and French -- will be out on missions over the holiday. We also think about the thousands of other Americans who will still be on tough duty in those outposts in the Eastern Zone that we left just last month. Please keep in your prayers those American and allied service members on duty this Christmas.
On behalf of "Team America,"
Have a Merry Christmas!
We'll be seeing you soon...
GEORGE M. SCHWARTZ
Team Leader/Senior Mentor
1st Brigade, 201st Corps (ANA ETT)