How to Dismantle an Occupation: U.S. Soldiers Tear Down Afghan Bases, Take Home Memories

Closing smaller bases is the first step in what the military calls retrograde–the arduous and complex process of bringing home all of the U.S.’s equipment in Afghanistan.

  • Share
  • Read Later
YURI KOZYREV / NOOR FOR TIME

A soldier from Bull Battery, 1-319th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion loads concrete blocks on a truck in preparation for leaving Forward Operating Ultimur, Logar Province, Afghanistan. Bull Battery is returning to their base in Germany after a nine-month tour in eastern Afghanistan.

The journey home begins as the first stabs of sunlight crest the mountains east of Forward Operating Base Altimur, a hunk of land on the slope above a wide desert valley, deep in Logar Province. A sergeant from Bull Battery, one of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s field artillery units, rouses Afghan drivers from their slumber in the cabs of their flat bed trucks. They park beside the base each night and sleep in the trucks to keep them running. They often fill their radiators with water to keep their engines from freezing.

Throughout the day, the troops and a few civilian contractors load truck after truck with T-Walls–eight-foot tall slabs of thick concrete that surrounded most buildings when the base was full. A driver can fit about four walls on the flat bed of his truck, or two twenty-foot metal containers, or four heaping pallets of ten-foot long lumber. Load by load, the 300-man base grows smaller, and soon it will be about a quarter of its original size. Closing smaller bases is the first step in what the military calls retrograde–the arduous and complex process of bringing home all of the U.S.’s equipment in Afghanistan.

The paratroopers from Bull Battery tackle the Altimur base closure with alacrity; they’ve done this mission before, and although this time the task is much larger, it many ways it’s an easier assignment. “Here it’s been unique for us because, to put it simply, we don’t have a lot of people shooting at us,” says Lieut. Colonel Kelly Webster, commander of 4-319 Airborne Field Artillery Battalion, Bull Battery’s parent unit.

To read the rest of the story on TIME World, click here.

(PHOTOS: America’s Long Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Photographs by Yuri Kozyrev)

1 comments
JimStarowicz
JimStarowicz

Here they wave the flags, love the parades, then go home and wipe the thoughts of those who actually sacrifice for them from their minds, not a twinge of guilt feeling that they haven't sacrificed anything while led by many of their representatives, those especially who've sought to privatize the peoples responsibility to those who serve them, and the press condemn the VA and it's dedicated employee's for backlogs and much much more, till the next call for showing their 'patriotism', DeJa-Vu all over again:

GOP Obsesses Over White House Tours

Iraq War: 190,000 lives, $2.2 trillionBrown University: 'Costs of War' Project - Among the group's main findings:

*The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.

* The $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the United States almost $500 billion through 2053. much more>>>

Iraq War 10-Year Anniversary: 19 March - Done 'In Our Names'!!

After abandoning the main missions, and world help, for why we even sent the military into that region!!

"We are dealing with veterans, not procedure; with their problems, not ours."; General Omar Bradley, First Administrator of the Veterans Administration

"If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

No Revenues = Still No Sacrifice = That's Called 'Support' For The Troops = DeJa-Vu all over again!!

Neither war nor especially the results of, decades to come added to previous decades and wars of, have been paid for as the abandoned, and now forgotten, continues as those sent want in a drawdown to accomplish at least a very small portion of those main missions sent to accomplish!!

Only one Government Branch has been working consistently for the Military, their Families and All Veterans: Military and Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, Administration and it's Cabinet, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House ever." Joyce Raezer, military spouse - Dec. 30, 2011", and plenty more of similar since Joyce spoke and also will continue, as will the obstruction as the tepubs continue seeking to privatize the Veterans Administration, the peoples responsibility to those that serve them!

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71