Steve Ranson

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November 17, 2012
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Mission to Afghanistan: Friday night and changing weather

Day 7: Wind whips across eastern AfghanistanFOB Shank — The perfect November weather at Shank ended abruptly today when a fast moving front brought strong winds, blowing dust and a touch of rain to the parched valley.The wind reduced visibility to near zero at Forward Operating Base Shank, causing some flight delays and cancellations.Remember photos of the wind whipping the sand up in Iraq or reports from earlier this year of the wind sweeping across U.S. Highway 50 that closed the road between Silver Springs and Dayton?The weather here is similar to Nevada's. If you don't like the weather now, wait 15 minutes. Although the ceiling lifted, Shank has been experiencing some light rain. The dust storm, though, was wicked, causing figures to be nothing more than silhouettes. The weekend weather, though, shows the front moving on, and warmer temps and partly cloudy skies returning.Weather permitting, Saturday will be a mission day for Bravo Company, 189th Aviation of the Nevada Army National Guard. If the mission receives a green light, then I will have the opportunity to fly for my second time but with a different crew.Sometime this weekend, I will be relocating further to the east to spend time with the 593rd Transportation Company before heading home to sift through notes and begin writing stories. The 593rd is a ground unit that has been kept very busy near Kabul.While I have been checking off interviews to coincide with certain stories, other story ideas pop up ranging from a memorial in the dining facility dedicated to those who lost their lives in battle to limited shopping at small businesses on post. One interesting character who runs a small shop is Sham, a young Afghan man. He has named his store Sham's Wal-Mart and claims to have everything the serviceman needs. I spent some time this afternoon with members from Delta Company, 405th Civil Affairs Battalion at Shank. The Las Vegas based unit consists of members from several states, and soldiers have seen much action during their stay here. Every member has been in combat because CA soldiers here usually accompany an infantry unit. The 405th has been in country since spring, and if all goes well, they may be home in time for Christmas. First Lt. Andy Olson, a former Douglas County resident, made the trip to Afghanistan. Olson told me he still have many friends who live in the western Nevada area.This dispatch will be shorter than most because of delays in sending information due to the storm and a very early wake-up time.• Steve Ranson is LVN’s editor who is in Afghanistan covering Nevada’s guardsmen. To read more go to and search “Mission to Afghanistan.”

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 17, 2012 03:49AM Published Nov 17, 2012 03:49AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.