Rain puts mild damper on enemy, but not spirits

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As I headed down to the motor pool early this morning, I looked out to see the fog setting in over the mountains.

The slow drizzle of rain that set in over the provinces that compose N2KL here in Afghanistan has been ongoing for the past few days.

Once again, I welcomed it with open arms. We hit the road early this morning to push north so that the Afghan brigade staff could help with one of the Kandak rotations. The slow drizzle of rain subdued my anticipation of an attack near the area where we have been hit before.

This is not to say that the enemy is not active during rainy days; rather, much like molasses before it is heated up, they just move a little slower.

Thus I write from a different location from where I have written all of my letters in the past. I sit farther north in Konar province and I am left to wait to see how the weather is going to influence these next few days of operations here with the ANA.

We pushed to this same location several days ago to act as a command-and-control center for the last Kandak rotation. Needless to say, we have been on the road quite a bit this week. Driving through Afghanistan is probably one of the most peculiar experiences.

The smells of the little villages, the sights of the hanging carcasses of meat and the old men sitting near speed bumps add to the overall sensation of driving through a war-torn and impoverished country.

It is not uncommon to see goats, donkeys, or cows wondering aimlessly through the streets; nor is it uncommon to see a woman wearing a burka sitting on the side of the road with her children.

The rainy days don't even seem to stop people from being out wandering through the towns or even the countryside. The scenery through the Konar River Valley on such a day as today is remarkable.

The low clouds hug the mountains much like they do on the front range of the Rocky Mountains back in Colorado. The lush green fields show the productivity of the farmers who help feed this country and prove that the hard work of the agriculture development teams does in fact help.

While the trip up the valley was uneventful, there is still a substantial amount of time for anything to happen throughout this next phase of operations.

I continue to find both the positive and negative aspects of working with the ANA. Sometimes I find myself disappointed with progress and frustrated with the way things are here. Other times, however, I am encouraged by what I see and proud to say that I am working with these guys.

Every day is an adventure here. While Lord continues to bless me with the opportunity I have been given to work the ANA, I find myself leaning forward and looking ahead to getting back to the states. I still have several months to go, however, so I will continue to push as hard as I can until our unit makes its way back to Fort Carson. As always, thank you for the prayers and continued support!

First Lt. Andrew Plucker is deployed to Afghanistan. He is not an Army spokesman, and his updates from the field are written from his personal perspective as a soldier.

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