Dan Lamothe, editor at Red Sox Monster, is back to blogging after taking a couple months off. No, his absence was not due to laziness, or a terrible case of writer's block (nor his mother cutting power to the basement! -- beat ya to it). No, Lamothe took time away from the Sox because he was busy spending six weeks embedded with an infantry unit in Marjah, Afghanistan.
My six-week assignment in Afghanistan taught me many things. First, for all the media coverage of the war, there's no real way to fully understand what life is like at a remote combat outpost until you're there, eating pre-packaged food out of a bag and showering once a week or less in outdoor facilities, just like the troops out there. That in itself was an adjustment, forgetting entirely the safety concerns that rocket to the surface.
It goes without saying, but troops also face life-or-death situations regularly -- and those situations explode in an instant. I went on about a dozen foot patrols with members of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., in the former Taliban stronghold of Marjah, and one of the biggest surprises was just how frequently conditions go from peaceful to chaotic. That may sound like stating the obvious, but there's no way to describe what it's like to take cover under fire for the first time, or to maneuver under fire to assist others in need. It's an experience I won't forget.
I suggest you read some of Lamothe's amazing accounts from Afghanistan, like how he dealt with no plumbing, or the first time he was involved in a warzone firefight ("The bullets snapped overhead angrily"). Meanwhile, let us here at SB Nation Boston offer a hearty "Welcome back, Dan."