Earlier in the day, our new Area Officer in Charge left after a short visit. Our District will be deactivated in less than a week. Our Commander (of push up fame) will move on to greener pastures. Which really means just grass since there is little of that shade here. When he does our highest military officer will be one grade lower and wear the Area OIC title rather than commander. The highest military officer I work with on a daily basis will become a Resident OIC as I change my title from Area Engineer to Resident Engineer. Not a demotion so much as a transformation. John, because first names are for officers, our new Area OIC came into Camp Stone with my boss, the Chief of Construction (who becomes the Area Engineer in a week). My Chief of Construction's father-in-law worked on a daily basis with Jerad, who worked with me briefly in Mississippi before coming to Herat where he in turn was able to convince me to come to Afghanistan. It is a small world.
Jerad also convinced Aaron to come to Herat. Aaron was a high school and college classmate of Jerad's and is from Huntsville. Aaron returned from R&R on the plane that brought in Rob and John because Aaron also works here. My current Area OIC soon to become Resident OIC is also from Huntsville. So of the seven people in the building that contains my office, four are from Alabama.
The unit from which John most recently departed is the unit that is currently on site here at Camp Stone tearing down buildings, a story for a little later. John is familiar with the other LTC that recently stayed a few days in our Distinguished Visitors Quarters. The DVQ is our transient facility for those above the grade that would qualify for the bunk house and also where I've been alighting since landing at Stone. The only real tie that LTC has to the story is the embarrassed way in which he admitted upon his departure that he "stole" a book from the room. Not that it was a problem, books abound for anyone who desires them around here. But this guy was looking particularly for a book on the french-Algerian war. And there was one. In his room, first thing he saw when he set his stuff down. Serendipity again rearing her head as a reminder. When John next sees him, he will ask indignantly for the book's return, but only as a joke.
The day after I finished this post, a friend from high school of both my sister and cousin (2 and 1 years older than me respectively) saw a note and informed me that her son is also located at Camp Stone. I haven't found him yet, but there aren't more than a thousand people here. Of them, 250 are soldiers, mostly from Guam, there are lots of Italians, a few Spanish, and one Lithuanian. The lady at the laundry is from Macedonia so I can rule her out twice. So, as you can see, I'm narrowing down the search parameters.
The point is that no matter how much of this great and glorious, giant globe the smaller the world becomes. Damn Disney for making us all hate the song, but the truth is the truth and sometimes it hurts. It is a small, small world.
I have since found out the son has moved on to another post, but Herat has been a crossroad spot for 6000 years. It remains so today.