UPDATE: Jake Miraldi, class of 2003, went to West Point, and then to Afghanistan. He's at right in the picture. Last week he sent the school a report about his service and his return:
Everything people from the school sent to me in Afghanistan helped a great deal and went a long way towards endearing us toward the local people in the various districts we operated in. Today the situation is almost universally improved from where it was in the beginning of 2009. The bad guys have been pushed further from the population centers in the Konar River Valley and daily life has improved for just about everyone. While we were there we developed several tribal counsels called "Shuras" to help integrate the local tribal governance systems into the national system we are trying to foster. There were many, many frustrations but I feel like we at least improved the Afghan outlook on what national government can do for them if they are willing to be active participants. All in all I believe we laid the groundwork in places where Americans had never really operated for the follow-on success of the units that replaced us.
We were in a very violent place and we had 7 wounded in action in the platoon (including myself) and one killed in action. His name is SSG Eric Lindstrom and he is survived by his wife Tara and their 18-month-old twins Olivia and Riley. I keep in contact with his family and they are doing fine, or at least as well as can be expected given the circumstances. In the end, though, all of our wounded have healed up fine and we were very lucky given some of the circumstances we found ourselves in to have not had more people get hurt. The platoon also came back highly decorated with four Bronze Stars with Valor awarded the platoon and one Silver Star still going through processing.
For me personally, I will not deploy with this unit in the spring because in January I am going to the Captain's Career Course to learn how to be a company commander. That will end in June of 2011 and, I am trying, after that to get put into a unit going back to Konar Province in early 2012, hopefully as a company commander.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Posted by Hanoverlife at 7:00 AM