05 Feb 2011:
Thank you for all your support.
17 Dec 2010
Thank you for the reminder; below is an update for the profile and a picture to post:
It is not as if it was 100 degrees one day and 24 the next; as the months passed-by the days progressively grew shorter, the nights longer and both, colder.
The last week or two I have been unable to pretend the cold didn’t bother me and have added ‘Fleece, jacket – Cold Weather’ to my daily wear. I probably could/should have been wearing it sooner, but there is something about the weird light green color and the slightly velour texture which makes it look to me like it is made from skinned Muppet monsters.
What would also help with the cold is: instant oatmeal, herbal tea and chocolate candy. Okay, the chocolate candy may not help the cold, but it seems everyone is craving holiday sweets.
Thank you to everyone who spends time and effort in supporting us Soldiers; it is greatly appreciated. Please check out Corbinistan.com where I try to "shout out" our gratitude for the support we receive.
11 Oct 2010
When I went to Basic Training in 1983, during the summer vacation between my junior and senior year of high school, running for exercise was not nearly as common as today and if you did run, you were not a runner, you were a jogger – or a health nut.
Turns out I was a nut. Over the miles we covered each morning for physical training, I discovered a natural affinity for running. I enjoyed the muscle burn, the feeling of fitness, and the sense of accomplishment after completing a run.
We typically ran every day with a long run (six to eight miles) once or twice a week. We quickly learned the designated run routes and knew by certain land marks how far we had come and how far we had to go. If we took a left at a certain intersection instead of a right, we knew if it was going to be a short run or a long run.
Whether it was a short run or a long run, for me, the magical point was when we got half-way. As long as I could make it half-way, I knew I could finish the run.
Since then, in various aspects of my life, the half-way point of an endeavor has been the goal at the beginning and once reached, a motivating accomplishment to carry me through to the finish.
We have now passed the half-way point of our one-year deployment and this accomplishment – having fewer days left than the number of days we have been here with the end in sight – is very motivating.
When I ran the Marine Corp Marathon in 1992, one of the motivating factors was the people all along the race course who, as I ran by, cheered and waved signs or offered water. I did not know a single one of those people nor did any of them know me, but there were times during the run when their support made all the difference in my completing the race.
Just as the support of the emails, letters and care packages I have received from the many people who I do not know personally has made and makes all the difference in my completing this deployment. (People I do know, such as my family, have also been very supportive.)
I try to send thank-you letters and, when I know they do not mind, recognize them in the “Shout Out” of this blog, but with 12-hour duty shifts and other responsibilities it can sometimes be very challenging to do anything other than shower, eat and sleep.
During the second-half of this deployment, I will strive to ensure my appreciation, and that of my fellow soldiers with whom I share the care packages, is more strongly and individually expressed.
In the interim, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who have helped me make it half-way home.
Please continue to check out Corbinistan.com for updates on our adventures in Afghanistan.
01 Sep 2010
It was just before 0100 and we were changing shifts at the Supply Support Activity; me, Specialist Andropopulus, Sergeant Domino and Sergeant Ack were relieving the other team and beginning our 12-hour shift.
We had just settled-in and begun the computer back-up process when we heard a loud, deep and resounding “BOOM”.
It had been some time since there had been any kind of attack, and never this close to our area of operations, so we all looked at each other with wide-eyes for just a moment before reacting.
“That was fricking close!” Andropopulus cried out.
“Shut up and get your gear on,” SGT Ack yelled back as he joined me and SGT Domino at the rifle rack where we were already locking and loading.
The thudding booms were getting closer and we could feel the earth trembling from each impact – dust was drifting down from the creases of the tent’s ceiling and the lights began to flicker.
As SGT Domino was strapping on his helmet, he looked at me and said, “Man, I am too close to getting out for this, yo?”
I just shook my head and finished gearing-up; he might talk junk, but I knew we could count on SGT Domino when it mattered.
“Oh man, it is right out there,” Andro moaned, white knuckles gripped around his M4.
SGT Ack flicked his fire selector to “Semi” as he calmly said, “Andro, you and SGT Domino head to the left, me and SGT Corbin will take right. We will keep it pinned down with suppressive fire until we get air support – they should be here any minute. Everybody got it?”
Andro gave an audible gulp, but nodded his head. SGT Domino quickly crossed himself and replied, “Hooah.” I looked at SGT Ack with a resigned grin and said, “Guess it’s time to earn our combat pay.”
We burst out of the tent with Andro and SGT Domino cutting left and me leading SGT Ack to the right. I almost stumbled when I saw it – the biggest tyrannosaurus rex ever. It had to be at least 20 feet tall, its teeth were as long as broom handles, and it was heading straight toward Andro and SGT Domino with its stubby arms thrust out, its long tail swinging countermeasure to its thundering footsteps with its head cocked like a giant robin about to peck at a worm.
Geeze, I thought, it is going to get them. I began firing at the dino’s head, trying to hit the eyes – the one weak spot not covered in thick, Kevlar-like scaly hide.
SGT Domino was focused on getting to a shipping container for cover and didn’t even see it coming; the t-rex bent down and snatched him up between his jaws and with a bite and two gulps, SGT Domino was gone.
Part of me recognized the sound of the Apache helicopter coming in, but I knew it was still too far to do anything and I looked for SGT Ack who had some how disappeared. I didn’t have time to wonder where he was since the t-rex was now stomping towards Andro, bellowing in rage and hunger.
“Run Andro, run!”, I yelled as I went full auto, trying to get the t-rex to turn away.
“I can’t,” he wailed, “it’s against my profile!”
The t-rex got to him in three steps and bit Andro in half – his legs fell to the ground twitching.
The whump-whump-whump of the Apache was getting real loud and just as I turned around to look for it, the pilot launched a Hellfire missile, but it missed and only blew a HUMV-sized hole in the ground next to the t-rex, which only seemed to make it madder.
I was out of ammo and was grabbing in my cargo pocket for my extra clip when SGT Ack came blasting out of the storage yard on the 10-ton forklift.
“YEAHHHH! Take that, take that!”, SGT Ack screamed as he rammed the forks under the t-rex and began lifting.
The dino was roaring loudly in frustration as it’s back legs were quickly lifted off the ground and only its thick tail was keeping it from falling over when the Apache fired another Hellfire that, this time, was right on target.
The t-rex’s head evaporated in a mist of red and green gibbets. Its tail went into death-mode spasms and knocked the 10K, with SGT Ack, over like a Tonka truck, but it was not a hard hit and I was pretty sure SGT Ack was okay; not like poor SGT Domino and Andro.
The Apache was hovering directly overhead like it was going to land on top of me and all I could hear was it getting louder and louder: WHUMP-WHUMP-WHUMP!!!
I jerked awake and sat-up in my sleeping bag. I stumbled out of my bed and went to answer my door.
Staff Sergeant Hatch was standing there, “Hey, Corbin, bout time you got up. Are you going to work or did you decide you were going to take the day off?”
“My bad,” I answered, “my alarm must not have gone off.”
Time to make the doughnuts...
The Care Packages and letters we have received have been absolutely wonderful and GREATLY appreciated. Our favorites have been raw almonds/nuts, jerky (beef, turkey and veggie), protein bars (such as MET-RX), and other healthy snacks.
We are almost half-way through our one-year so we can just see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you to everyone who is visiting Corbinistan.com to read silly posts like the one above.
01 Jul 2010
Thank you all for the wonderful and thoughtful care packages! The jerky, protein bars, almonds and other treats are greatly appreciated! Every package we receive is quickly divvied up amongst the platoon, but there is always a few items we take to a central point for others platoons to share as well.
If you care to support us, plain writing paper and envelopes would be great along with the jerky, bars, raw nuts, and healthy treats. Oh, and any "Top 40" magazines like People, Entertainment Weekly, etc., that will keep us in the loop on pop culture. Please let us know if it is okay to thank you by name in a public forum; that is, the blog where once a week a post is made regarding life at Tarin Kowt: Corbinistan.com (Check out the post "The Postman Always Rings Trice" for details on mail/care packages.)
Again, thank you to all who support us specifically and troops in general. Nothing lights-up a soldier's face than to receive mail; it can really make a big difference in morale.
Very respectfully and Best Regards,
12 May 2010
We are a squad of about XXXX male soldiers at a small FOB where there is no PX, no MWR, but we do have a gym/tent and live in RLBs.
We have a laundry service and get great support for toiletries, but where we are really lacking are reading materials dealing with current affairs such as People, Entertainment Weekly, etc.
Also, it would be really great to get some healthy snacks such as power/protein bars, raw almonds, granola, etc. We have a pretty good mess hall, but they mostly serve hamburgers, hotdogs, corn dogs, etc. And do not focus on good healthy foods.
We have a microwave and fridge at our work place, but nothing really where we live/sleep so ready to eat stuff would be great.
Oh, short (not ankle short) white cotton gym socks would be cool, too, since they seem to be very difficult to get here.
Thank you very much for your support and consideration.
You can check out some of our adventures on my blog at Corbinistan.com
SGT A B Corbin