Blam! SPAM! Damn!


Don’t complain about paying your taxes, it means you have a job. I’m so lucky to have one that I love. Just had another of my most favorite days at work, and once again it comes courtesy of the US military. Foremost it is because I am getting to meet the most amazing people in the most dangerous situations, while they continue to do the most extraordinary things.

It also does not hurt that the comedians and I get to have some wild fun.



We caught a Blackhawk helicopter flight at 0540 hours, which in regular time is 2 early. An amazing sunrise ride through the smoky morning mist and through the glorious palette of Mother Nature’s water colors, that I thought would be hard to beat. They flew us out to FOB Shinwar, a tiny forward operating base in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan. That’s probably what FOB stands for: Fricking Out in the Boondocks.

The staff at FOB Shinwar, however, have remarkably kept up their morale despite their isolation. A great bunch and they even took us to their firing range where an Army sharpshooter coached me in firing the M-4 rifle.

After that, we performed for everyone on the FOB on a stage the guys on base made themselves and dubbed the “FOB Shinwar Improv.”



After the show we sat down with the troops to eat the notorious MRE. The MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are prepackaged food in little pouches that are much derided and despised. To my great fortune, a certain Lt. Kim from Los Angeles was in the crowd and upon hearing that I was from Hawaii, went back to his quarters and cooked me up some SPAM musubi! Awesome! No small feat as he had to ship the SPAM, rice and nori all the way from California. And I got to sidestep my MRE encounter, so big props to my new best friend Lt. Kim!




On our way back to base, we hopped another Blackhawk ride. I thought back to the beautiful morning flight and wondered if this sunset run could top that. Did it ever! The crew took us on a crazy ride, with tight spiraling turns and high-velocity climbs, machine guns blazing as I smiled stupidly all the while.

Here’s hoping your day at work was as fantastic, or you have the opportunity to work with as awesome a bunch of people as those I visited. Can I demand that more of my tax money goes to these outstanding folks and fewer dollars go to pay politicians?

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Ken Ulbricht November 1, 2012, 5:10 pm

    We appreciate your trip to FOB Shinwar. Our son is currently serving out there.

    • Paul Ogata November 1, 2012, 5:27 pm

      FOB Shinwar might be out in the boondocks, but the folks there have great morale. They have a drive-in movie theatre (well, walk-in, I guess) too. Please express to your son how grateful we all are for his service.

  • Troy Roberts November 9, 2012, 3:23 am

    Thanks for coming out here, Paul.

    • Paul Ogata November 9, 2012, 3:39 am

      Sir, it’s the rest of us that should be thanking you.

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