It's day four of this task force and we have completed mission one of four. It was a stressful and difficult mission to complete from a security standpoint. The rules of convoying along these roadways now force us to not impede local traffic, meaning we must allow vehicles at times to enter into our convoy or cross through it when we are halted. This is a very dangerous action we must allow, as any of these vehicles could be an enemy vehicle loaded with explosives. There is not much we could do to prevent disaster if the enemy wished to implement it.
It was amazing to see all of the local population crowding around to watch us work when we arrived at the work site. Stationary in our security perimeter we could see it all, and did we witness some sights. First things first, all the children just flocked to the Marines and were in awe of the heavy equipment and machines we utilized. Ultimately, they hang around and walk right up to the Marines because they are used to receiving candy and such from us. They are somewhat demanding in that they will walk right up and reach into your pockets for anything they can get their hands on. In addition to the children, it seems everyone is riding some sort of motorbike, and they will fit up to three people on it at times. Another interesting sight is a car load of local Afghans with the trunk open and more people piled into the trunk. While sitting in our security perimeter we were able to observe a funeral procession. It was quite an experience and yet we had to maintain our focus and assume any of these citizens could be enemy forces.
We are now back in camp and waiting for our next mission. We have a three day gap between the first mission and our next one. Down time sucks!! I don't know how to put it any more professionally. When you are preparing for or executing a mission time goes by incredibly fast. When all preparation is complete and you have three days to wait time grinds to a halt. There is no better proof than the fact that I've had time to write all of this as well as find a tent which actually has internet access.