PFC Matthew O’Hern of West Caldwell Sends a Letter from Afghanistan

November 23, 2012 at 6:43 AM

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - At 3am EST,  The Alternative Press of West Essex received a very special letter from Private First Class Matthew O’Hern of West Caldwell.  Here it is in its entirety:

To the West Essex TAP:
I would love to share a little about what I do!
It is motivating to be reminded that people at home care, and motivation is key around here!

I am a military police soldier (31b) deployed to Kabul,  Afghanistan with the 508th Military Police Company out of Teaneck, NJ.  Unfortunately, due to security reasons,  I can’t put out my exact location.

We are on a 9 month  “boots on ground”  deployment.   This means that once we hit Afghanistan soil on September 4, 2012 at 14:52 we started our 9 month tour.   Overall,  the deployment is going well so far.   Some days are better than others.

I work a 12 hour shift,  seven days a week,  with no days off.   I usually work the night shift,  however sometimes I will rotate to the day.   It is often hard to stay in touch with home due to the 8.5 hour time difference and limited Wi-Fi.  

I work with a squad including nine other soldiers and three K-9’s - two of which are explosive dogs and one narcotic.   We use the K-9’s daily to do sweeps of routs we will use for a mission,  inspect high risk areas and for regular daily patrols outside the wire.

When my squad is not out on a mission,  we work at an Entry Control Point.   This is where we do a full body search and background check of any individual trying to get through our area of operation.  This would compare to a  “seatbelt check”  back in Caldwell.

I am also enrolled in full-time online college courses while over here.   I didn’t want the deployment to interrupt my education.   It is a lot of work and often leaves me with limited sleep but I know it will all pay off.   I have hopes of finding a local law enforcement job when I return to the states.   I also look forward to returning as a member of West Caldwell Fire Department and West Essex First Aid Squad.

As hard as it is to be away from family and friends back home,  I really do enjoy what I am doing over here.   It is a great experience and it feels great to say I am defending the best country out there!

I miss my younger brother Patrick.   He's 16 yrs. old and I look forward to returning back home with him.  I consider him more than my brother, but my best friend.

Again, thank you for your support!
Matthew O’Hern

PFC O’Hern
508th MP CSC PLT 1
USFOR-A NKC, Afghanistan
APO, AE 09356

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