Friday, December 5, 2008

Thankful for News!

The internet is mine and Kelly's main source of communication during his deployment. We email each other daily, and Kelly can comment and post pictures on our family website. I can also send Kelly pictures via the internet. So, as you can imagine, we are on the computer a lot! Here are some recent happenings for Kelly in Afghanistan, and me in Las Cruces and Mesa.

Kelly said: I went to FOB Blessing in the Konar Province. I went there to have a short meeting with their intel guys, but was only on the ground for like 40 minutes before someone came and got me and told me I had to get on the flight out ASAP or be stuck there for the night due to poor weather. So, I didn't get any pictures there, but here are some from a place we refueled. Blessing was beautiful. It was on the hillside surrounded by huge mountains, terraces, and the viillage, but I didn't have time to take any pictures there. Here's one from the area though:

This is me at Asadabad, waiting to get back on the Helicopter. In the background is an AH-64 Apache.

I thought this was funny. We had to get off the helicopter to refuel, and I thought I heard a baby crying. It turned out to be goats on the hill nearby. This one somehow managed to get on base and ran right by the helo. Earlier that day in Jalalabad, I saw a dog running along the runway.

This is looking into the city of Asadabad

This is the helicopter we flew around in. When I first got to Jalalabad, I saw these things parked on the side of the runway and thought they were broken and no longer in use, but nope, they are the workhorse of the army.

The guy in back has the coolest job. He sits in the back of the helo, dangles his legs over the edge, and mans the machine gun.

From Cassi...
The Suns v. Heat game on Black Friday. You can see our seats aren't great. Although we were disappointed Nash was out, the game was still lots of fun.

Big Hakes picnic on Black Friday. My old gang, minus Tash and Leland, and Kelly of course.

We took Hailey shopping with us. She is soo cute.

Kalli and I at the Carrie Underwood concert in Las Cruces on Nov. 3rd. Kelly is the one who introduced me to her music.

Halloween in Las Cruces with Sarah Palin and a beautiful witch.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Tribute to America

Today I wanted to attribute this post to the good men and women who serve our country. I know what you're thinking, isn' that the whole purpose of the blog? Well, yeah, it is. But, when I got these pictures from Kelly, I thought two things:
1), is how grateful I am to live in America. The man below with Kelly, a member of the Afghanistan National Army, was so excited to talk to Kelly and other U.S. military members. Sadly, most of the people in Afghanistan have only known terror, and the rest remember what it used to be like. I am fortunate to have never experienced true terror, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful that I can practice and live my religion here as well. I am also grateful that my husband is willing to go help. He feels better about his service in the military when he is over there.
2), is despite our very different cirumstances, the people in other countries are not that different from me and you. I often forget this. They are also children of our Heavenly Father, which would make them our brothers and sisters.

It may have been the historical campaign results last night that made me feel patriotic, or maybe I just miss Kelly, but I wanted to post these things.

Kelly said: This is me standing at the perimeter wall. Where I'm at now is a little more mountainous and looks like the Southwestern US, actually. I like the nighttime because the base is completely dark and you can see millions of stars and falling stars.

Kelly said: I'm uploading a couple pictures I've taken here at Mehtar Lam. At the end of the day, I went to watch a pickup soccer game with the local Afghan National Army soldiers and some Americans mixed in. I took a picture and this guy saw my camera and wanted me to take one with him. He was funny. Occasionally other guys would come over to us and try to talk to us and show us their radios and guns.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Later this week I'll probably go to FOBs Mehtar Lam and Kalagush. Mehtar Lam is supposedly the site of the tomb of Lamech, the father of Noah. I probably won't be doing much sightseeing though. Kalagush is up more in the mountains and is supposed to be really pretty, so I'm looking forward to it.

I saw some video from msnbc the other day that I thought was interesting. It was a series on the Korengal Valley , which is about 30 miles from here. I work at the Headquarters for the unit that is there and it is probably the most violent place in Afghanistan. To see the video, go to and then click on the "U.S. news" category and then "Military". It's the "On patrol in the Valley of Death" and "Seeing the enemy in Afghanistan". Fortunately, despite being physically close to the Korengal, the security situation here is a world away, so don't be scared for me.


I wanted to show off my flowers that Kelly got me for my birthday. They are my favorite kind, lily, and favorite color, purple. He had them delivered to Columbia Elementary where I was acting as the kitchen manager for a week.

Things are going well. Kelly is a quarter of the way finished! We got to see each other on webcam twice now, which was very awesome! The guys in the video don't have many opprotunites to do that. We are blessed that Kelly is out of danger.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Life in Jalalabad Afghanistan and on the Homefront

I am posting for Kelly because he is having trouble getting on this website. This first picture is from his brother Chris. Most of the Wood family cars and Mom Hakes have a blue star flag on it, representing a family member serving in war. We have one on our car. If any Hakes sibling wants one, I know where to get them.

Below are some pictures Kelly sent from Jalalabad. The captions are also from Kelly. We get to email regularly and talk on the phone about every other day, which is better then we previously thought. He is in a public room everytime we talk, and he is using shared phones. The signal on the phone is great, however. He can get pretty much anything he needs, except for family. It is good to know he is taken care of.

This is the best picture I could take of my room. It's pretty much just my bed and a few feet of empty space to the side. Someone before me built those wooden shelves, so that's nice. The room also has an air conditioner, so that's very nice.

This is a bad picture, but I was trying to be discrete. This is the cafeteria aka D-FAC aka chow hall. Here it's all decorated for the air force's birthday. Generally they have a main line with turkey or pork chops or whatever, a grill with hamburgers and hot dogs, a taco or potato bar, salad bar, a bunch of fruit. Also, there are fridges with cans of soda and gatorade and lunch and dinner have a dude who scoops baskin robbins ice cream. It's run by KBR (aka Halliburton) and generally very good with good quality food. It's a thousand times better than the Academy cafeteria and much better than Ft Dix. I'm sure the Army is paying them a fortune, but it's free to us.

This is the place where I sleep. This one is on the end, so you can't see that there are dozens of these lined up real close together. There are 8 of us in here, but it's divided in half, so my part has me and 3 civilian contractors. I'm kinda lucky because my half has 6' high plywood walls in them giving us our own kind of private room. In most of the huts, people have to hang blankets from the ceiling to form makeshift walls. And like most of the base, there is a random pile of rubble.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Count down of 179 days begins!

We also got to see Charlie, Kelly's brother! He came to NYC on business and took us out to a fancy dinner and showed us around the city. You can see some of the food we ordered. Kelly got a huge Kobe burger and Charlie and I got filet mignon.
Amid other things, we went to the David Letterman show! It was really awesome to witness Dave and the crew behind-the-scenes. Robin Williams was hilarious. Our seats weren't great, but the entertainment was. We also saw Little Mermaid on Broadway and visited Kelly's family in Philly. I was mad at myself for about an hour because I didn't take pictures of that. We Mostly we did nothing, and it was great.

With Kelly's new haircut, he is ready for Afghanistan. This was right before we said good-bye. It was hard.

He will update us all when he arrives in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. This is his itinerary: Leave Tues, the 9th at 12 noon from Fort Dix, NJ on a bus to Norfolk, VA. Arrive that evening and take a charterd airliner at 3am to Kyrgyzstan. Three stops along the way include Canada, Iceland, and Hungary. He will have to stay on the plane. He thinks he may arrive in the middle east (Kyrgyzstan) on September 11th. Ironic, we know. Then he will travel into Bagram air field in Afghanistan on an Air Force plane. Then he will make his way over to Jalalabad, which is the northeast portion of Afghanistan. We will try to post a map. Good luck Lieutenant Wood!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I know her eyes look weird, but I often find greycoat sitting in my bathroom cupboard. Its kinda cute.
This is me babysitting my cute nephew Harmon. He fell asleep in my lap while I talked to Kelly. He is a good baby.
Janelle and I went to Andele's for dinner together while Karl is out of town, and Kelly too I guess. I brought my camera to take a picture but I forgot. So this is a picture of the food we ate, which is what Kelly and Janelle always get, and it is the food that was also served at our reception. Thank you mom.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Fort Dix

So, I'm three weeks into Combat Skills Training now. The first two weeks were relatively great. Easy workdays, days off, etc. The last week has been miserable though. After giving me four days off, the army suddenly realized it was in a hurry and we did 16 hour days. The past three days were spent at Camp Victory, a simulated Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the Jersey woods. It looked a lot like a base with the standard guard towers and barb wire, tent cities, and hummers galore. The conditions themselves were actually pretty nice. Our tent (seen below) had room for 16 and there were only 5 of us, the food was better than it is on Fort Dix, there was a tent withg gym equipment and tv, and there plenty of hot showers. If it wasn't like an oven in our tent, it would have been really pleasant.

The training itself though, was miserable. It consisted of us parroting back the sounds some guy was making for hours on endand calling it "learning Dari" (Dari isn't even the language for the part of Afghanistan most of us are going to). We had many redundant briefings on how to conduct a checkpoint, but they were so poorly taught, and we were so uncomfortable in the heat with all our body armor and gear on, that I still have no idea how to do a checkpoint--not that I or any of us need to. It's a shame, because the soldiers are great dudes, but the army has eliminated any sense of thinking outside the box, or independent thought from them. That's enough complaining about the army for now though.

We did get in a lot of shooting on the M-16 and M-9 though. We did shooting pop-up targets at different ranges, night firing with tracers, and close-quarters combat. And then there was the nightly hand-to-hand combatives class. It was a lot of fun, and a good refresher of the PE classes we had to do at the Academy. It culminated in me fighting my friend 2Lt Erik Chan in front of the group. We started out very aggressive, but neither one of us could choke out the other person, so we just wore each other out.

An exhausted and smelly 1Lt Kelly Wood

Our tent at the FOB

Inside the tent

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This is Kelly with all of his gear. He is wearing his usual ABU, boots, helmet, bullet-proof vest, two M-16s, M-9, backpack, and holster. I know that is not all, right Kelly? He then did " land navigation training" in the heat of NJ. Long hot day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Quarters

Fort Dix, NJ

This is the building I'm staying. It's an old army barracks and is pretty dumpy. It smells and there's 12 of us per room, but there's free wifi on the borrom floor, so that was an unexpected perk. Every night, you can see dozens of people outside talking on their cell phones. It's pretty funny.

I forgot to take the picture before I ate the hamburger, but this is a typical meal for me.

The bunk I'm staying in. All the stuff at the foot of the bed is mine as well as some of the stuff underneath, stuff in the locker on the right, and another bag you can't see. I don't know how I'm going to get all this crap overseas.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We wanted to start a blog that documented Kelly's deployment to Afghanistan. He reports 29 July to Fort Dix, NJ for one month of intense combat skills training (CST). He will have four days of leave, in which Cassi will join him in New Jersey, and then he reports to Afghanistan on 12 September. The duration of his deployment is 6 months.

V for Victory was a common phrase in WWII; Winston Churchill often made the sign. When the London Symphony broadcasted on the BBC radio, they chose to play Beethoven's 5th Symphony because of the "da da da dum" rhythm, which translates to V in the Morse code. They played it to inspire hope in those who were living under the Nazi regime and were able to secretly listen to the BBC. It is an inside joke in our marriage, and we thought it was appropriate for this blog.