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I Learned The Value Of An Education In Afghanistan
The Afghan man looked at the paper with a blank look on his face.
“Does he know what that says?” I asked my interpreter.
“No, he cannot read,” he said. “Very few people here can read or even write.”
“You explained it and he understands it though, right?” I said.
“Yes, he said he trusts us,” the interpreter responded.
During my deployment to Afghanistan, the company I was attached to was looking to implement a small project. There were several local contractors in the area and they were all jockeying to do this job and get paid. I thought it would be a good idea to have a contract with the contractor, so I composed a simple one that said how much he would be paid, when he would be paid, and when we expected the work to be done. It could have said anything in the world other than what the project was about, because as I found out, he couldn’t read.
In Afghanistan, a lot of people don’t have that ability. According to the CIA World Factbook, only 28% of the adult population is literate. Last spring, the BBC reported that in 2001 only 21% of children in the country were enrolled in school; this did not include girls, who were not allowed to attend school. Since then, much progress has been made for sure, but it doesn’t mean the problem of thousands, if not millions of children, without a formal education has gone away. Decades of fighting and unrest in Afghanistan have resulted in systemic governance problems for the country, but the untold number of people without a basic education will cause headaches for years if not decades to come in that country.
I went to a good school from first grade all the way through high school that my parents paid good money for me to go to. I graduated toward the bottom of the class and not because my classmates were smarter than me — although looking back, there were some very bright people in my class — or because I had a learning disability. I simply had a poor attitude about school. I thought it was wildly unnecessary learning about stuff I didn’t see the importance in. I thought school was the ultimate “check in the box.” I was a punk for having this attitude and I regret it.
Over 10 years later, I am in college working on my bachelor’s degree. It’s good that I came to college later than my peers. I wasn’t ready after high school and I certainly didn’t have the right attitude. I wouldn’t change the experiences I’ve had either, but if I had gone straight into college out of high school — and hadn’t flunked out somehow — my life would have been much different I’m sure.
It was in Afghanistan that I saw what an education can do for people. Being able to read and write — the most basic of education principles — is something I vastly took for granted. With my simple — by Western standards — education, I am head and shoulders above people trying to get ahead in countries like Afghanistan. There are a whole list of reasons why I am better off than a person living in Afghanistan, but having an education is one of the main advantages that I have.
The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.
These CIA officers were the first US boots on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11 — and one was 'Marine Todd'
Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."