So long Afghanistan, this time for good

By John Toth

By the time this column appears, my son, Bobby, will be on his way back to the U.S. after serving six months as a medic at Bagram Airforce Base in Afghanistan.

It takes a while to return from the other side of the world. The trip is being delayed by stopovers in several places, where he and others returning home will undergo debriefings and other mandatory requirements that make the trip last about a week.

On the first leg of the trip, which takes about three days, our troops, who have just come out of harm’s way, are allowed to consume two beers per day – which is better than no beer for the last six months.
I’m not much of a drinker, but I partake of adult beverages occasionally. I can just imagine how good that cold brew tastes after six months of living under prohibition.

It’s one of the little things in life that our troops have to do without while serving in a Muslim country. It makes sense, but still, it is something that many of them miss.

Not that it’s a top concern. Staying away from rockets and being always on the alert in a hostile environment is probably on the top of their list. Not being able to consume alcohol is probably way down somewhere on the bottom.

To make things a little interesting, the next stop on the return trip is Germany, the beer capital of the world. An interesting contrast, to say the least, and I shall say no more. What happens in Germany, stays in Germany.

This is the second mission Bobby has made to Afghanistan, and it will be his last.

I wrote last time when he came back that he had departed Afghanistan for good. Then, the Air Force decided to send him back for another six months. This time, I can definitely say that he has departed Afghanistan for the last time. He has no plans of returning there in any capacity for as long as he lives. If you wonder why, just look on Google Maps, and you’ll know what I mean.

I am obviously elated that Bobby is coming back in one piece, unharmed. It was very hard to see him off six months ago, when Sharon, my wife, and I took him to the airport in Gulfport, MS. We spent a couple of days with him before he left.

Thanksgiving was special this year for us, and Christmas will be a lot better with Bobby here. Instead of Skyping with him, we’ll be talking in person.

And, when we meet for the first time, I have every intention of consuming with him an adult beverage – or two.