The following was originally posted to www.miseryincorporated.com in September of 2018.
It was Afghanistan, mid-2004. I was a 22 going on 23-year-old fresh out of the 'Q' course as one of the first 18X's. I had just returned to the theatre after heading back to the states for a couple of weeks due to getting a 'Dear John' email. I had to get back to the US to start the paperwork for the upcoming divorce and make sure my affairs were in order. The week before coming back, our ODA was tasked with setting up a base near ShinKay while simultaneously conducting operations aimed at disrupting Taliban supply routes coming from Pakistan through the Maruf Valley. It was a massive task made even worse with the addition of one simple thing: The Dab Pass. This passage through the mountains separated Shinkay from the rest of the world that was Afghanistan...
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