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Oregon General Rees Credits Soldiers for Improvements in Afghanistan (VIDEO)Tim King, Salem-News.com
DISPATCHES FROM AFGHANISTAN
(KABUL, Afghanistan) - My senses were assaulted by the most amazing scenes in Afghanistan this week, when I had an opportunity to visit a forward operating base in the northern part of the country.
The purpose was a visit from a number of National Guard generals from different states including Oregon's General Raymond Rees.
The trip from Camp Phoenix in Kabul involved rides in an armored Suburban, a KC-130 aircraft and a fully up armored Humvee combat vehicle. The trip further compounded my belief that the American mission in Afghanistan is centered more closely around humanitarian work than combat. General Rees says the U.S. mission is gaining ground.
"Soldiers are doing a fantastic job, I've seen a real improvement in everything that is going on. I was here ten months ago in the January timeframe and clearly things are much improved over what I saw then." The longest part of the trip was made in a KC-130 transport plane from the Michigan National Guard. Flying high over the northern regions of Afghanistan, the plane delivered us to the air facility at Mazaur e Shariff, a base occupied and protected by a number of coalition military groups including the U.S. French Special Forces. This is the place where the first American was killed after U.S. forces landed in Afghanistan.
The last leg of the journey to the combat base at Metz was made in a Humvee. The roadways place the Americans in a close proximity to the people of Afghanistan.
This is one of the smoothest roads I've traveled so far in Afghanistan. The purpose of this convoy is to get generals out to visit bases they haven't seen yet, forward operating bases, and to have a chance to say thank you for the efforts of these soldiers.
General Rees added, "It's an opportunity to personally thank them for what they are doing and we don't get to do that all that often. and I think it's also an opportunity to get their story and take it back to the United States."
While the threat to U.S. troops is far less than other combat theatres, soldiers are leery of many things. Sgt Keith Engle of the Oregon National Guard explains that Cellular phones are often used by insurgents to detonate IED's, "We try not to let that make us complacent. You get a lot of people on cell phones around here. It's not like places I've been to like Iraq where a cell phone was a bad sign, period."
While visiting the base at Metz near the northern border near Uzbekestan, the generals congratulated the troops, then began the journey back to Kabul.
Watch the Streaming Video News Report below, direct from Kabul, Afghanistan by Tim King: Video
__________________________________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: email@example.com
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