Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today we had a formation. Well, not us exactly, but the military had a formation. They've been here for about a year, and it's a tradition to hold a formation/awards ceremony where they hand out all the medals and commendations that have been earned over the course of a year. Usually everyone gets recognized with medals, or at the very least a letter of appreciation or a battalion coin.

The company that I work for provides the life support for pretty much all the bases in Afghanistan. Specifically my group of 5 provides all the power, water, electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, and heating/air conditioning for this base. Some days it's easy, many days it's not. Since we are pretty much in the middle of nowhere we have to be very good at our jobs, and we've done a lot of things that we aren't exactly supposed to do in order to keep things running out here. We can't exactly run out to the nearest store if we need parts or other equipment. We've spent quite a few late nights fixing broken power and water lines(usually ones that the military has broken), and even doing things that are beyond our scope of work just to keep the soldiers happy and make their jobs easier.

So it was a bit irritating today to watch everyone else on the FOB(Forward Operating Base) get recognized except for us. There are two other contractors on base, one providing security, and one doing TS (Top Secret) things. They were all given unit coins and we were ignored. Ouch.

I honestly don't care about coins or awards. I have a box full of coins, letters of appreciation, and medals from my time in the Marines, and each one of those was earned through lots of blood and sweat and pain(no tears!) I'll probably never look at them again. Although my job is arguably the most important it doesn't take much so I don't work that hard. But for the other Americans and two Indians that I work with it was a slap in the face. They've worked very hard to keep these guys happy and to have a years worth of work completely ignored is almost unforgivable. They were pretty unhappy today, and it happens that all of us are leaving to go on R&R in the next 20 days, so they've all decided that they are going to do as little as possible until they leave. There was a lot more swearing involved when they said it though.

But we're professionals, and we'll continue to do our jobs. It's just nice to spend a day complaining and pretending to not care.

1 comment:

Jen - The Secret Keeper said...

No tears? Who are you trying to kid??

That really sucks! It's horrible to feel under-appreciated, especially when you're actually doing a good job. I bet black cat wouldve got a medal!