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First Week In Country

   What to say? I'm finally here! I have to admit I'm in awe at everything I look at. The army can train you how to shoot a rifle, start an IV, and live out of a bag but a lot of what I see is people learning to adjust. It isn't as easy as most people would think, getting used to a whole new culture, land and way of acting. I live in the suburbs of Buffalo where I had my SUV parked in my two-car garage with my green lawn where I would get up and go to work at a doctor's office. This morning I looked out of my tent and finally a break from our week of rain, I finally got my first look at the mountains surrounding our camp. Breathtaking. Later on in the day when I went on a convoy, we went outside the wire and all you can say is wow. Never at any moment in life could anybody be more grateful for what you have until you see how some of these people live.

    Since this is still our first week, we mostly have been doing our ride-alongs with the current force, who will be leaving shortly so we can take hold of the reins. Our training did a good job showing what to expect and how to do our jobs in confidence. One thing that always goes through my mind everytime I have gone out the wire is, this country has the potential to be such a beautiful and prosperous place. One can only hope that someday these people will have the fortitude to step up and make it happen. I do believe, though, that they're off to a good start.

--Spc. James Gustas

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