Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 193: Range Day

Today we took a field trip on a couple of helicopters out to a firing range in the middle of nowhere...
Here's a picture of Vince all decked out as we waited for the birds to pick us up. We were supposed to be on the same flight. They didn't have the number of seats they originally planned to have, so we were split up.
The flight didn't take too long. Vince had the camera, so I didn't take pictures until we arrived. That's the military compound in the background. That means we're OUTSIDE the fence! Yes, I was a little nervous when they said, "Start marching!" and pointed toward the check point. I didn't think they were serious, but they were.
I didn't notice we were even at the range until we were nearly upon it since it wasn't the run-of-the-mill range I'm used to back home. They had fashioned pieces of plywood to wooden beams and placed them out some unmeasured distance from a small berm that we fired behind.
The worst part about this range was that there was neither shade nor bathroom in sight, though I think that piece of scrap is a porta potty remnant. Of course... the men had no problem turning their backs to the crowd and just whippin' it out. There were at least 25 kids out on the rocks getting closer and closer. We had to keep an eye out for them. I found it ironic that usually kids are warned about strangers, but in this case it was quite opposite. One of the Afghan military personnel eventually went out there with a stick, and they scattered. They weren't afraid of our guns, but they ran like the dickens when that guy waived a twig in the air!
This is Vince inspecting the backpack after he melted it a tad with the hot barrel of his rifle. We usually would have sandbags to prop up our weapon for the "supported" position, but as I said before... this place had nothin'. Finally, long after we'd been turned into human lobsters, the helicopters came back to pick us up. This time Vince and I were on the same helicopter seated directly across from each other. The scenery was amazing once again, and this time I captured some pictures to share with you. I only wish I could have taken you along. I've never seen such a heavenly place. Between the capped mountains lay rolling desserts cut only by wild winding rivers surrounded by the most beautiful and serene oasis. It's a place untouched by Walmarts & MTV. Herds of camels and goats checkered the landscape. Miles of Tuscan-esque rock walls separated perfectly rowed gardens of lush greenery. And not a single power line, smokestack, or cell phone tower was in sight.


Mamma has spoken said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures!!! Scott has many times tried to explain what it is like there especially about the 'desert' not much green, etc. and your pictures (especially the shooting range) is what he has been telling me about when he describes his last base.

Marie said...

Love the pictures Laura!!!

Estivalia said...

It pretty much looks like the desert here in my province, so you get an idea of the landscape I live in :)

Of course for me it's more bearable having the sea just in front of my bedroom <3

Anonymous said...

I am totally amazed at both your pictures and the commentary that gives them a human touch. We love and miss you so much.

Dad & Jan

P.S. Tell Vince Hello

Bee said...

Hey Laura! I just spent an hour trying to catch up with your blog. Wow, this is such a weird life you live, I just cannot imagine! I love all the pictures.
Your cousin Chelsea is so sweet, I enjoyed getting in touch with her.
I didn't know you had found love! I'm really happy for you, you so deserve it! You're in my thoughts and prayers.
Time for a bottle for my sweet little guy and then hopefully collapse in bed!... :-)

Pauline said...

Your blog is a great inspiration, and you photos are prefect! What kind of camera are you using? I need one just like it.


Cindi said...

oh my gosh! what gorgeous pics!! I never think of Beauty when I think of where you are, but it is beautiful . A way different kind of beauty than what most of us are used to, but beautiful never the less. I hope you made ok with only a scrap f porta potty, tehehe.
fab pics

ABNPOPPA said...

Dittos on the piks and prose. The big question is how you'd do on the range? It didn't look a little rough,it looked a lot rough.

Take care.


Flag Gazer said...

Hi back!!!
Amazing pictures!
I check in on you periodically.
Glad to see you are doing well!