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  The Nebraska National Guard               
  Nebraska's Citizen Soldiers in the Twenty-First Century   

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 fist.

 
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 deployment."
Source: All 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.


 


The 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.



A 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.

  
Mr. Sinise was working with the USO
to help entertain the deployed personnel.
 
Colonel Skuodas designed this patch

 
          

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 
 

 (text of video) (download Quicktime to view?)

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 1,000-meter mark.



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 gallons worth.

 

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Last updated 2 December 2008  

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