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Oregon Siblings Work Side By Side in Afghanistan (VIDEO)Tim King, reporting from Afghanistan
DISPATCHES FROM AFGHANISTAN
(KABUL, Afghanistan) - They may have had their battles while growing up in Oregon, but brother and sister Jay and Heather Louisiana never thought they would end up in a war zone together, in the same unit, at the same base - in Afghanistan.
The siblings are both based at a mountain base called Gardez. Soldiers there are a tight knit combat group.
"The Sweet Little Lou is my nickname, my brother's platoon nicknamed him Sweet Lou, and so from there they nicknamed me Sweet Little Lou, so I had it embroidered and put on my headband, just gives it a little personal touch," said Heather Louisiana.
While Jay is operating a machine gun on a Humvee, Heather’s job is driving one of the biggest trucks in the Army, the 5-ton. The turbocharged armor laden trucks haul large amounts of equipment, they two trailers, and frequently transport soldiers enroute from one part of the country to another.
Today's 5-ton trucks have automatic transmissions but on the roads of Afghanistan, they are still challenging to drive. In addition to poorly maintained roads and inclement weather, soldiers driving in convoys have to be especially aware of IED's and other hazards. Both Heather and Jay have been involved in combat during their time in Afghanistan.
When she was asked if that was a lot of truck to handle, Heather replied, "Yeah, I've been driving for about four years but this is definitely new terrain and new experiences."
Jay said of his sister’s abilities behind the wheel, "Oh she's awesome with it, everything I heave heard from her and her chain of command is excellent."
On this trip from the base at Camp Phoenix in Kabul to the mountain base at Gardez, one of the 5-ton trucks had a blow out, and the entire convoy came to a stop on the Afghan highway.
As Heather and the other soldiers labored to replace the wheel and tire, hundreds of motorists had to wait at each end of the stopped convoy. Security concerns mean no vehicles pass Americans when they are broken down. They work fast to get the rubber back on the road.
"Yeah we practice it quite a bit so we you know, work together and it gets done pretty quick," Heather explained.
After getting back underway we reached the mountains that we had to cross.
It wasn't the most treacherous day of year, but the drivers had plenty to think about.
"It's a little over 11,000 feet at top of the pass which is just around this corner,” Heather said.
“The whole way up is kind of scary because you have pretty much direct drop offs, there's really no guard rails on the side of the road, so when it snows you just have to drive really slow and careful, there is a lot of other traffic on the road and sometimes the traffic gets backed up."
The brother and sister soldiers say having a small family support network on the base helps a lot during the hard times.
As combat veterans, their experience in Afghanistan ranks among the most unique of all sibling adventures.
Watch the Video News Report below, direct from Kabul, Afghanistan by Tim King:
__________________________________Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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