Camp Phoenix’s “Rambo”March 8, 2007
I thought I’d do some checking up on the war that doesn’t seem to get talked about nearly enough in the media, so I did a search for “Afghanistan” on Digg, and an interesting story caught my attention: Afghan ‘Rambo’ stops bombers
This is a normal day for Rambo, an Afghan who has stood guard here for more than four years, pledging his life to the American soldiers that rid his land of the Taliban. But on Jan. 16, Rambo’s gatekeeping made him a bona fide hero.
On that day, Rambo wrenched open the driver’s side door of a moving car and wrestled a suicide bomber into submission before he could detonate his explosives. President Bush lauded him in a nationally televised speech several weeks ago, and before that, slightly exaggerated accounts of his feat circled through cyberspace, pleading for America to offer him citizenship or at least a medal.
I must have missed it when Bush mentioned him, since I’d never heard of this guy before. Here he is:
I did some more searching, and found a little more background on Rambo on the Stars & Stripes site from Jan. ’05: ‘Rambo’ helps keep U.S. base in Afghanistan secure
A person would be hard pressed to find anyone in the camp who doesn’t know or hasn’t heard of Rambo, so named by troops in the 10th Mountain Division.
“He’s definitely a legend on this camp,” Sgt. Michael Sweet said.
While Sweet, an Indiana National Guardsman, is a shift sergeant, it’s abundantly clear that Rambo is the primary gatekeeper.
In June 2003, when U.S. forces first rolled up to the front gate of what was then a Russian-Afghan transport company, Rambo was waiting. He hasn’t left.
Stories of Rambo permeate the base. Some are factual. Others are not.
“This is my hooch,” he says through an interpreter as he opens the door to a small, cramped room immediately off the front gate.
His real name is Jamal Udin, born in Kabul “maybe 41 years ago,” he said, to parents who moved to the capital from northern Afghanistan.
After reading all that, it’s clear to me that Rambo embodies the reason we are in Afghanistan, and reaffirms my belief that we are there for the right reasons. So, I’ll do what the troops stationed there do, and give Rambo a hearty salute myself. Best of luck to all of you.
For a soldier’s perspective on ‘Rambo‘ , and other things relating to Camp Phoenix and the daily life of the troops in Afghanistan, check out this excellent blog: Afghanistan Without a Clue (aka: AWAC)
See also: Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix