In this section, I chronicle my training and deployment experiences in the war zone as a senior Social Scientist embedded with the U.S. military. As an American with Afghan roots, this was a life-changing experience on so many levels – a momentous opportunity to help my adopted country understand my birth land. I spent a year in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), where I assisted the U.S. Army and its Allied Forces make sense of the country’s social, political, economic, and military systems. In turn, I learned a lot about human relations on and off the battlefield, the implications and consequences of war, and myself.
When I share this experience with people, among other questions, the two I’m most frequently asked are: “So how was it?” and “When are you writing that book?” The answer to the first question leaves me dumbfounded because it doesn’t have a simple answer. The second question often leaves me chuckling because I – as the person who experienced it – don’t always think it’s that interesting, but everyone else adamantly disagrees.
So for now, in lieu of that book, I’m piecing together journal entries and the notes I took during training to share the most salient experiences. And because I don’t want to end up in a Federal penitentiary like Leavenworth, everything I discuss is UNCLASSIFIED. Also, I’m only using first names, and have changed some to maintain anonymity when I haven’t been able to obtain permission to use real identities.
Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Check out the posts in this section…
- Research In A War Zone: Operational Variables & Civil Considerations
- Language & Culture: The Challenges of Translation
- There’s Definitely No “I” In A Military “Team”
- The Military & The American Way of War
- The Cultural Turn Had Taken Hold
- The Teacher Becomes A Student
- Army Training (But Not Bill Murray In “Stripes”)
- Meet & Greet of Fellow Grunts, Plus Onboarding
- I’m Not In Kansas Anymore!
- The Position Is Located Where?!?!?