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BLOG - On the Frontlines

By Amy K. Mitchell
USO, Vice President, Publications

“Talking Bout Tonight”

April 23, 2009

God bless the United States Marines. We could not have asked for better friends or guardians during our first day of FOB hopping around central Afghanistan.

When you are put together with a group of people 24 hours a day (especially those of us who were up for 24 hours due to jetlag), and when they’re military, you have a new circle of best friends instantly. Your conversations might be idle chatter or deep conversations on being away from family and friends. But the bond has been cemented through the common experience of your visit. We’re roughing it too. And America’s toughest tour would have it no other way, especially when hanging with the Marines.

At the two Marine FOB’s Toby visited, both were located in hostile areas, surrounded by “bad guys.” They can’t leave at will, nor do they want to. They have nothing but each other to survive. These are our finest fighting for us. They don’t complain, instead they laugh and thank Toby for stopping by. For those of us on the morale boosting side, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Last night, the 2nd MEB welcomed Toby to FOB #3 with 3,300 “Hoo-rahs!” The XO introduced the “Big Dog Desert Daddy” to the audience (this was TK’s first time to this particular FOB) and man, did he receive a true blue Devil Dog welcome.

Toby had been wearing an Army ACU top during the day, but the Marines promptly gave him to their own desert digital jacket.

This was also the first full band performance in Afghanistan with all five band members. Two MRAPS flanked the stage, and were loaded with Marines sitting on top with prime viewing of the show. Twelve songs later (and surrounded by the largest moths any of us have ever seen), it was time to say goodnight and hit the rack.

Again, our deepest thanks to our Marines for being there for us! And, we’d be remiss if we didn’t thank again the CLB of Hawai’i for ensuring safe passage for our luggage and the free ride to our next destination.

Stay safe out there.