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Monday, April 23, 2012

"What I learned in Afghanistan..." Charles Djou (Special Guest-blogger)

Charles Djou at Camp Bullis Afghanistan, Charles Djou is running for Congress in 2012 and in my mind is a true patriot and hero. Imagine if all our political leaders served in war zones?  Charles Djou is an American hero and dakinetalks guest-blogger today! (photos courtesy, Team Djou)

Charles Djou represented Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District from 2010 to 2011 and was a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He deployed with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10Th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Forward Operating Base Pasab from 2011 to 2012.
Enclosed is my letter asking the Congressman for permission to publish the enclosed  essay along with his personal response and his heartfelt essay... James "kimo" Rosen, Publisher dakinetalk

Aloha Congressman Djou,

 Mahalo Nui Loa for your service to our great country. You are the real thing, a politician that's been on the front line, I wish all politicians did what you did. You are a hero! Imagine if each presidential candidate was required to experience war, a different world it would truly be, again from my heart, Mahalo!

 I am emailing you to ask permission to run the enclosed as a guest-blog within my daily blog titled ,"dakinetalk."

The congressman's response...Aloha Kimo, sorry for the long delay in responding. Certainly go ahead and
run the blog. I also deeply appreciate your kind words and support. But,
if there is any true hero it is my wife who had to manage the home front
by herself while I was deployed in Afghanistan. Best wishes, Charles

What I learned in Afghanistan- Charles Djou

Serving with the U.S. Army on a forward operating base in a violent combat zone in Afghanistan taught me many things. I have a new found appreciation for basics like running water. I treasure, more than ever, time with my family. But mostly, I have a renewed respect and appreciation for the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way to answer our country’s call.

It was an honor to serve with soldiers who gave selflessly, not for fame or fortune but to defend the cause of freedom and security for all Americans. Again and again, I witnessed true sacrifice in action.

I served with a West Point lieutenant, age 24, who stopped his platoon on patrol at a bridge over the Arghandab River. Though intelligence said the bridge was clear, the lieutenant had a “funny” feeling. So he approached the bridge alone to investigate. A Taliban insurgent, using a command wire, detonated an improvised explosive device that killed him, slicing his body in two and throwing the pieces 20 feet in the air. Because of the lieutenant’s actions, he most likely saved the lives of his platoon. He left behind a young wife and 1-year-old daughter.

I served with a staff sergeant who was leading a squad of 10 soldiers when radio traffic picked up Taliban insurgents massing to ambush his men. The sergeant, knowing the need to find cover quickly and get his soldiers protection, went alone into a nearby ditch, which had not been cleared for mines. He wanted to be sure that his men could take cover safely. He stepped on an IED. He lived but went home missing both legs.
But even as I learned something about our service members’ heroism and sacrifice, I also learned something about the enemy we face.

I oversaw detainee operations for my brigade. It was my responsibility to vet every enemy insurgent captured. I processed more than 100 enemy Taliban captured by U.S. and coalition forces in the Zharay District of Kandahar province, the most violent district in one of Afghanistan’s most violent provinces.

The insurgents I helped lock up included a Taliban who murdered local Afghans simply because they worked with Americans. After killing his victims, he would throw their bodies at the doorstep of the local mosque, with a note nailed into their forehead, threatening that he would “get” any other local nationals who dared to try to find work with coalition forces.

Another insurgent we captured gave hand grenades to young children, saying these “firecrackers” only worked if you threw them at U.S. soldiers.

Back home, things are understandably bleak. Our economic recovery is sluggish and fragile and our political system is dysfunctional and broken.
But having served in Afghanistan, I know that the problems and issues facing our country can be fixed through solid leadership that will put the best interests of our nation first. And by each and every one of us coming together to do our part.

Let’s agree that no matter how bitter the partisan gridlock in Washington, we are not enemies. I've looked into the eyes of radical Taliban insurgents. I know what it means to have a real enemy. Let’s agree that with the right leadership and hard work, we are capable of overcoming our nation’s major challenges and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Instead of focusing on the issues that divide, we need elected representatives who can unite, inspire and lead. If we can come together around the common cause of preserving what is great about America for the next generation, our best days are ahead of us.

For more on Charles go to;

Early life, education and career

Born in Los Angeles, California, to a Chinese-American father and a Thai-American mother, Djou grew up in Hawaii. He graduated from the same high school as President Barack Obama, Punahou School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Bachelor of Science in finance from the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania graduating magna cum laude. He earned his law degree at the University of Southern California Law School.

Editor's note, Dakinetalk guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the opinions of dakinetalk. Guest bloggers are given space to express their beliefs and or opinions. We feel there are many roads and like to give people space to express their thoughts,after-all that's what dakine is...Aloha, James "Kimo" Rosen, Publisher.


KimoRosen said...

I think it should be a requirement for politicians to serve in the military, they may think twice before sending others off to war if they experience it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Chester "Unc" Lau said via facebook:"I Salute Charles for his service but I DETEST the war profiteers who risk their lives for private gains.What have the US gain after endless years of wars in Iraq & Afghanistan? still with endless casualties & bankrupting our treasury!!! Yes...,mandate that we move congress & the WAR department with the INFANTRY units on the front line in any wars or reinstate the Draft for ALL if it is a national emergency.arm chair patriots are very brave with other people's bodies & blood !!!!"

Anonymous said...

"Unc" said via facebook;"We should mandate that we move Congress & the WAR department with the front line Unit for night Infantry patrols,armchair patriots are very brave with other peoples bodies & blood !"

KimoRosen said...

"Unc" I totally agree. you said it best. How about elaborating a little more and submitting a guest-blog!?

Anonymous said...

"Unc" said via facebook;"Will do soon..."