April 6, Kandahar, Afghanistan
Shaun was sent off today up north to photograph an ANP (Afghan National Police) graduation ceremony. Not quite enough room for the whole team and in those instances, the photographer goes, (my rules.) For myself I went out to the EME compound to watch the vehicle techs work on LAVs and trucks. The unit SgtMaj greeted me and gave me the grand tour of their new facilities. It’s a pretty huge shop with all the latest gear and its was actually pretty cool to watch the team drop in LAV engines. The techs didn’t really like having me around taking pictures and I had at least 3 different people come up and ask me not to take photos of them or what they were doing. In the past I would take the time to explain I was not media (despite my ID) and that what I was actually doing was trying to create a legacy of their effort. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like going through the effort. They gave me stink-eye and I just kept taking photos in spite of their scowling.
Despite the lack of support from the techs, I have a great plan for a painting about the EME’s effort over here and coming to their shop and getting some detailed pics is a great start. I know typically the war effort is seen as the pointy end of the spear and as a former infantry guy, I also tend to also only see that side of it. This is inaccurate, non-inclusive and does not represent the Canadian war. At least 3 of the 10 paintings I’ve committed to will represent the support elements of the war: EME, cooks, medics ect. It might not be grand or heroic but this place would grind to a halt without these people supporting the mission. They need to be represented and remembered.
Shaun is gone for the night and I expect him back tomorrow sometime. Sending him off on his own isn’t really part of the plan (we’re suppose to support each other) but we need to jump on these opportunities. As predicted, getting based out of KAF has really slowed us down. Its unlikely we’ll be allowed to get back out to the FOBs due to operational demand. Nothing we can do so we’ll continue to mope around this base of 30,000 people and jump on any chance we get to get back outside the wire.