By Heath Druzin, Stars and Stripes Mideast edition, Wednesday, January 13, 2010
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Black Sheep Platoon’s new home has one thing going for it: a sweeping view of the Arghandab Valley and the bare, jagged mountains that erupt out of a fertile but troubled patchwork of orchards and crop fields.
The creaky, bite-sized compound on the edge of Kandahar, known as Police Substation 7, also sports a backyard minefield, unreliable electricity, and most importantly to the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, a handful of beleaguered Afghan National Police.
“If we eat, sleep, live with them, they can’t mess up, because we’re always there,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Schaffer, 26, of Bridgeton, N.J., who is overseeing the platoon’s move into the police outpost on the edge of Kandahar.
Before now, U.S. forces have lived and worked alongside their Afghan counterparts in the field and on U.S. or joint facilities, but Black Sheep Platoon is taking it a step further. As part of a new program, they have moved into the primitive Afghan substation, enduring the same hardships and, they hope, forging stronger bonds.
While U.S. troops are making some improvements to the substations, living alongside Afghan police means Spartan living conditions and a steady diet of Meals, Ready to Eat. The reeking, filthy bathroom consists of a hole in the ground.
“Do I want to come out here and live out here and not take a shower for a week? No,” Schaffer said. “Do I think that’s what it’s going to take to win this? Yes, absolutely.”..
This blog was formerly called Soldiers' Angels New York. We have changed the name of this blog to allow other Soldiers' Angels volunteers to pick up the baton there. Going forward, we will continue to post here about freedom, patriotism, and those who defend it. Supporting the troops is still our main mission. Thank you for reading!