This is my first post from my current duty station: Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. I left the US about a week ago, and arrived here last Tuesday with the 10th Mountain Division Band Brass Quintet. We are already rehearsing in makeshift venues (a dining hall between meals, a classroom right next to the Canadian sleeping quarters, etc.) for the 2 or 3 performances for which we've already been scheduled. For security purposes, most of my posts about this deployment will cover what has already happened, not what we are planning to do. I intend to post things in something of a diary format, though my internet access is a bit sporadic at the moment so it may be a while before these become regular. As much as possible, I hope I can give you a glimpse into the life of an Army bandsman who is in a "combat environment" and trying to do what we do best: lift the morale of our troops and reach out to others using music. I'll put up some pictures when I can, although it may be a little while before I'm able to get some downloaded.
The situation so far: it's dusty here. Very, very, dusty. I imagine the dust-to-oxygen ratio is something like 1:1. We are living in a large tent (no, not like M*A*S*H; it has a concrete floor, a little climate control, a metal frame, and is very large, and we do have indoor plumbing in the bath house) which is our temporary home while we wait to take over operation from the British and Canadian armed forces. We *hope* that when they move out in a few weeks there will be more room for us to move in to some more permanent housing. Until the rest of our unit arrives, though, it's just the quintet. We're working hard so that our first impression will be very good and possibly lead to more performances. We want to stay busy making music! More to follow next time, so stay tuned!