Colonel George Skuodas
The Afghan people have been
kicked around for decades by the Russians and the Taliban . .
. they are finding it hard to understand and deal with the purpose
of our country's intervention and building a democracy there.
They have finally been given a helping hand instead of a closed
Colonel George Skuodas of Crete, serving with the Nebraska Air
National Guard's 155th Air Refueling Wing,
was mission support group commander for the 455th Expeditionary
Mission Support Group in Afghanistan at the Bagram Airfield from
January through May 2006. He was in charge of airfield security,
communications, civil engineering, billeting, morale and recreation,
and aerial port loading of transport aircraft. The larger mission
of the 455th was to provide airlift, close air support, logistics,
and explosive ordinance disposal. Leaving behind a wife, two
grown children, and one grandchild, Colonel Skuodas feels it
is important to "Prepare your family and loved ones well
in advance and provide a positive aspect as to the reason for
objects were loaned by George Skuodas
Army and Air National
Guard Mobilization: Two Different Models
Army National Guard personnel are usually
mobilized as units and, in most
cases, individual soldiers play no part in the decision. Army
National Guard deployments are typically one year.
Air National Guard personnel are often
mobilized individually or in small groups as volunteers, under what is termed the Air Expeditionary Group
concept. Active-duty, Reserve, and Guard personnel from several
units or specialties are brought together to perform the mission.
Members of an Air Expeditionary Group usually have the same duties
and responsibilities as they did in their own units. Current
Air National Guard deployments are typically four months.
mine signs, both in English and Arabic, were located all over the airfield. As areas became
cleared these became souvenirs. Not all areas outside the base
were cleared completely. We brought many Afghans into the base
hospital who were injured by the mines.
Shrapnel from a Russian land mine.
The shrapnel was the result of our Explosive
Ordnance Disposal personnel destroying land mines. There were
10 million land mines in Afghanistan and about 1 million around
Bagram Air Base.
departing gift from my First Sergeant. The canister was made from 105 MM cannon shells
that were used on the AC130 gunships that provided close air
support for the army.
The cartoons were part of my weekly
diary. Cartoons were a way
of journaling the many events that were both serious and humorous.
The by-line, "Plausible Denial" came from the Ollie
North senate contra hearings. The pseudonym "Jurgi"
is my name in Lithuanian.
See more cartoons by Jurgi : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Video depicting land mine disposal.
There were 10 million (approximately)
land mines laid in Afghanistan; one million around Bagram Airfield-both
Russian and Taliban. Disposal is done nearly daily to destroy
these. They use C-4 plastic explosives and remotely detonate
these. During our runway excavation we unearthed a 500 Kg Russian
bomb, which had to be destroyed in place. We asked our explosive
technicians the size of the blast radius and they said about
800 meters. They said it was not an exact science. We moved aircraft
another 200 meters beyond that. Lucky we did, as debris hit the
This is one of a few trips made outside
Bagram Airfield. I accompanied the Office of Special Investigations
on a trip to talk to their informants. They provided local intelligence
on the goings on outside the wire. The one I am standing with
was called "Snoop
Dog" because of his resemblance to the entertainer.
I was given the name "Coach" because of my
resemblance to Coach Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears.
It was nearly a daily event that people would come up to me and
say "Did you know you look like . . . ?
This was the last weekend before we accomplished
our rotation back to the States. We had a cookout, team events,
and entertainment. I
was elected head chef to make the baked beans-about 40