Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sgt. James Blake in Afghanistan

My brother is about half way done his tour in Afghanistan, and we've actually been seeing him in the news online a lot recently! The Marines were fighting the local Taliban in the Garmsir district for about a month - James is part of a Mortar team in the First Battalion of the Sixth Marine Regiment. Now that they've succeeded in capturing the area, they set up a system to repay the villagers for damages to their houses, animals, and crops. The Afghani people come in and petition for compensation, James adds up all the damages, Marines go out and verify it, and then they're given vouchers.

"There's one flaw in the Marines' campaign. While they freely issue compensation vouchers, they don't have any actual money to give out yet. The cash, the Marines tell the villagers, will be here on July 1. The date has already slipped once, from mid-June, and some people doubt they'll ever see the money. 'If we don't pay them on the first,' Sgt. Blake said, 'it's going to be bad.' "

This article from the Wall Street Journal on June 18 talks about James, the No. 2 man:
After Battle in Afghanistan Villages, Marines Open Complaint Shop

Today there was more news from NPR, including a lot of James in the video! It's the one on the top left, at about 1:20:
Marines Try to Improve Image in Taliban Stronghold

Looks like they're in camping chairs in the background, ready for something fun.

James is right in the middle here, with the full vest and sunglasses.

I guess that's what a Mortar shell looks like!

1 comment:

Loosey said...

Great story about your Bro'! I'll be glad when he's home and safe again. Ma.