A soldier's story
August 27th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Hurry up and wait

As part of an ongoing series “A Soldiers Story,” CNN's Jason Carroll follows Sgt. Randy Shorter and his unit as they head into Afghanistan.

"Hurry up and wait." It's an expression you hear a lot in the Army. Now I know why. We had hoped to arrive in Sharam, Afghanistan, a few days ago, but we are still waiting. Currently, we're bunking at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. Our journey with mortar platoon Sgt. Randy Shorter and the rest of the unit began at Fort Campbell, Kentucky last Saturday. We ended up staying in Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan longer than expected. The military transport flights in Sharana were either delayed, full, or any number of other reasons. Finally, half of my crew (thanks to the help of all involved- especially Sgt. Shorter) got seats on a flight to Bagram. The base in Sharana would have to wait. Meanwhile, I stayed with Sgt. Shorter back at Manas and waited ...

Thursday night a C1-17 was available to handle the 150 plus soldiers who were waiting to go Sharana, Sgt. Shorter among them. Now we're here at Bagram – another pit stop – waiting for the flight to Sharana. In the meantime, they've given my photographer, Dominic Swann, and myself bunks in something they call the "clam shell." Think of a very large tent that opens at both ends. The soldiers at Bagram call them clams because the openings look like, well, a clam shell. It's packed inside but soldiers are used to it. They laughed at the mattresses which create clouds of dust whenever you sat on them. Bagram is a very dry place.

They can squeeze hundreds of soldiers in these bunks at a moment's notice. And they do it every night as the transport flights keep coming.

Much of all this hurry up and waiting has to do with the surge. Since so many troops are now coming to Afghanistan, they may have to wait in places like Bagram or Manas a little longer than they would have pre-surge. The transportation system is trying to meet the demand. Until it does, expect more "hurry up and wait."

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  1. mcmurdo proud military fiance

    I also am very proud of my fiance who is currently in kabul serving and yet I am a canadian and I say someone has got to do the job other wise these men will do what they want and history has a strange way of repeating it self , we must learn from previous errors and go with caution, I have gone a month without hearing anything from my fiance richard and miss him so much , I agree it is very hard , I am able to get by and keep busy as I work with people with dementia and that will make you tired right away , so to all you awesome soliders serving in afghanistan and iraq keep up the good work and be safe and know that you are all in my prayers as god hears our prayers all the time godbless you all

    September 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Been there, done that

    By the way, Alien411.......the reason you are able to say whatever you want to is because of what we soldiers do. I for one am not angry at you for speaking your mind. My brothers and sisters in arms and I fight for the right to let you do so. Keep using that freedom of speech. It's wonderful that Americans have that luxury isn't it? Your welcome. =)

    September 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Been there, done that

    To everyone criticizing and questioning the intentions of our soldiers out there, you will never fully understand unless you've been there. Working alongside SFC Shorter was a priviledge I am proud to say I had. Not only is he a great soldier, he is an outstanding leader. I know his platoon will agree. People who think soldiers are just blood thirsty war lovers are ignorant. Many soldiers start out as people who needed direction and discipline in their lives. Others joined because the army provided for their families when the economy couldn't. And others joined because of a simple but powerful love for their country. Having been to Iraq and Afghanistan I can tell you for a fact that one of the greatest emotions you feel out there is the bond you have between you and your fellow soldiers. Working as a team and experiencing so much together creates a bond between soldiers that is so powerful, it'll keep them coming back over and over again. You develop a sense of responsability for the safety and well being of the soldiers around you and in fullfilling that responsability you earn a great sense of accomplishment. SFC Shorter and other soldiers like him are out there not for fame, reward, status or money, but in simple obedience to duty. Duty to their country, their soldiers and their families. Many others who post such negative things about us should be so lucky to posses all of those qualities.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. teresa

    allen 411 your an idoit your not paying for jack your like alot of people that is there job and if that is least we can do for them so be it. You talk crap about our soldiers but if it comes over here who will you be calling on to protect you then down our military all you want but what have you done that is so great in your lifetime??????? and as far as boots and food my son pays for his own proud army mom.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbi

      I don't know how to respond to someone as asinine allen411. As a proud but worried mom of a soldier in Afghanistan, I can tell you personally of the huge sacrifice these men and women (and their families) are making. Not only their personal safety, emotional well being, physical comfort, but also the financial strain. My son spent a LOT of $$ out of pocket before deploying to buy things that should have been provided for him. On top of that, their friends and families spend lots of $$ to send them care packages to help uplift their spirits a little while they're away. Those packages sometimes take 2 or 3 months to get to a remote location like where my son is. I don't expect you to understand how the soldiers and their families feel but I think they deserve some understanding and respect.....they're putting a lot on the line. And you don't have to agree with the war effort to support the troops - many familiy members will tell you they don't agree with this war. But why not donate a few $$ the next time you see a fund raising organization in your neck of the woods? Also a proud army mom!

      September 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Justins mom

    Being a soldier is something that our men and women chose to do. I say we all should be thankful for those with the courage to be a soldier in these times .I pray everyday for my sons safe return from Afghanistan. He too deployed from Fort Campbell last month. The idea that he will be gone for a year from the safety of his home,friends and family makes me sad. But I have to remember his committment our country and that makes me proud. I love the fact that CNN is following Sgt. Shorter in Afghanistan. By educating myself with a little bit of what its like I feel better. The good,bad or ugly at least I have an idea of what my son is encountering. Thanks to all that serve our country and I hope for their safe return.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    Don't You think that They deserve to have rights as much as those in the United States??? It is because of People like You that Us Americans are losing more of Our rights every day!!! We have to all learn to respect the difference of each other... That is the only way We will get PEACE in the World!!! Learn to live with each others even with Our difference... That is the only way We can get rid of all the Hate in the World!!!

    September 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Allen411

    NOW HEAR THIS: All you sorry troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, I am forced at gun point to pay taxes for your war crimes, your meals, your bullets, your illnesses, and even your boots. If you came home, you would point your gun at me. So, ironically, I hope you stay in Afghanistan forever.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Why don't You come here and I will save them the job... A Coward like You don't deserve to breath the same air as those of Us Who served!!!

      September 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    SomeThingsNeverChange.pdf (2012KB)

    September 4, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Palestinian militants fire rocket into Israel
      New Kerala Sat, 04 Sep 2010 07:41 AM PDT
      Gaza, Sep 4 : Palestinian militants fired a rocket Saturday from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the first such attack since direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) resumed two days ago.

      September 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      It does when You have a Idiot trying to Copy You!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    I 'm with the Old Guard and every Sunday I go protest to make things better when Our Troops get home!!!

    September 4, 2010 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. 3rdmardiv

    Even you dont support the war at least support the troops They just trying to survive

    September 3, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Another Proud Army Mom.

    I also have a son in the Army. He is currently completing his tour in Iraq. Were so proud of him and the man he has become. Like other family members who have posted on here I also get ticked off reading some of these comments.
    God Bless all our men and women serving , god bless the family members of these young men and women ( unless you have either served or have a family member serving you don't understand). For those of you with nothing better to do but rip on our country "If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them"

    September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    I have my MBA and over the years have met many many people in my travels, whether it be muslim, jewish, christian, catholic..you name it I have probably crossed paths. I would say my opinion is a respected one and when I say building a mosque where they plan too in NYC is a bad idea, it is a bad idea. I could care less about a mosque built anywhere else, but the simple fact that a muslim country caused us all the pain and suffering from 9/11 is reason enough to not have this temple built there. What better way to insult the families of loved ones lost then to build a holy shrine in honor of a god which is not American, in honor of a god in which all the pain and suffering we have endored is for. It is a very big mistake and if it were to be built I only foresee more tragedy. Do you think the citizens of NYC will stand and let this happen. Does the muslim community not feel they would be under constant attack if they were to build this there. I predict if the mosque were to be built it will be in ruin within 5 years of being finished.

    Just my opinions take it or leave it

    September 2, 2010 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. timothy s. bennett

    Dear CNN... you are covering a story about a SFC with what 13-14 years in the US Army and he is on his third deployment. I am not trying to be a hater, but I have been the US Army for 7 years and I am 6 months into my third deployment. There are many Soldiers with stories like mine 6-10 years in the US Army and 3, 4, 5 deployments. That is story...not some guy with 14 years in the Army and just now going on his 3rd deployment?

    September 2, 2010 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Been there, done that

      Seems like you are wanting some recognition for what you do. Ever heard of selfless service? Yeah I've been there too. 8 years in and i've been to 4 with 2 purple hearts. If you feel upset because cnn is not doing a story on you then that is ridiculous. If I were your 1SG I would teach you the meaning of selfless service. The Army doesn't have time or interest in soldiers who showoff. Join the team and quit trying to be an individual.

      September 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Retired Army

    Yes, most of us are proud of your sons, daughters, and other family members. It is a shame there are people in this world that just do not get it. Such as those on this blog that spew mindless ingnorant hatefull dribble. These people make satin proud, and some where in hell A. Hitler is smiling at your upcomming arival.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      The only mindless dribble that I see is that which you're spewing in here.It doesn't get any cornier that that!!!

      September 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      The only mindless dribble that I see is that which you're spewing in here.It doesn't get any cornier than that!!!

      September 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Well said,Bubba.

        September 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        Mind your own business Daniel-2.

        September 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That is a lousy thing to bring Hitler into Your Prayer!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. LaNora

    My son Joe just got there. This is his first tour. Iam scared for him, but also soo very proud that he decided he wanted to join the Army. He is out of Ft Campbell TN. 101st Airborne 1/506 God bless all our troops and come home safe. God Bless America!!

    September 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another Proud Army Mom.

      Hang in there. I know my son went to Iraq in Jan 2010 ( just out of training) If your son doesn't have it yet have him join Skype ( most of the guys either have , or end up getting a lap top) anyway he can call you on it and you can video chat. I can't tell you how much that helps just being able to see them. God bless you stay strong.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        May GOD watch over all Our Troops in Afghanistan and Bring Them All Home Safely!!!

        September 4, 2010 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
      • mcmurdo proud military fiance

        I want to thank cnn for following along sfc shorter and his soldiers , it bring me great comfort to know what the conditions are like over in afghanistan and know we have nice people like your self puting your self at risk so that you can show the world what is going on, I know I am not always able to hear from my fiance due to internet being down and that is the hardest part but I take great comfort in following your report so i want to say thank you so much may god protect you and go ahead of you sincerly very proud military fiance, i love you richard

        September 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Army Mom

    My son just joined the Army and we are all proud to be Americans. I feel the same if you do not like us or like how we live here go back to were you came from or where you profess you are from. Just because you claim to some religion does not give you the right to live in the United States and then turn around and show nothing but hate for the United State of America!!

    September 1, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      May GOD watch over Your Son too and Bring Him home safely!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  17. vickie

    to all of you, my son's fight so you can open you stupid mouths and say what you feel...dont like america? go home...my son's dont want to go to another counrty and live in crapy conditions...while you sit in your a/c and talk so bad about them..why are you not there? no just sit and bad mouth them...without my son's giving and living for america where will your kids end up? with no voice? to say what they want? grow up and deal with it, its america....we help others...again.. dont like america..go the freak home......

    September 1, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Raashid

      Ur brave mother of brave sons ur sons are not just fighting for america they fighting for humanity I understand how u feel with comments of this sort may god be with us all I am a Muslim but & am proud of being one & I don't support any injustice to anyone irrespective to there religion caste or creed because that's what god wants. But unfortunatly Islam has become a joke because of the actions of a few. I pray for the wellbeing of ur sons and the sons and daughters of all mothers because is one & god loves peace.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Becki

    My Husband is 1/506 and I am so proud of him as I am every other soldier willing to sacrifice it all so we can live free. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. I love you baby and miss you.

    August 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse Cook

      How corny this is!!! Yuk.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Still posting rubbish Daniel-2...

        September 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      and Amanda: May GOD watch over both of Your Love Ones and Bring them back To You safe!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  19. BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

    Thank you, acmed.It is good of you to remind us of the harm the taliban are doing over there

    August 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      I see that you usurped my ID again.You know how much harm the NATO forces are perpetrating over there and to tout them like you do do is truly sickening.Where is your shame or have you none???

      August 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Amanda

    My younger brother is in this unit from Ft. Campbell, KY and I couldn't be more proud of him! Though none of these young men and women are excited about going on yet another tour over there, they have a job to do. They may not have went off to college to become an accountant or what have you...but they still have a job. You have every right to not support this war...but I feel that as an American, you should fully support our troops.

    We miss you Brandon and we'll see you soon!!! CURRAHEE!!!!

    August 30, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  21. Dan in Lafayette,IN

    Thank you, acmed.It is nice of you to keep reminding us of the harm the NATO forces are doing over there!

    August 30, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      They are doing a lot better than the UN is!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  22. bangash

    When America will learn to leave this earning through their war industries and will give their citizens a status which the founding fathers had founded after independence from British rule. In US declaration of Independence Universal justice, equality and fraternity had been the main criteria for successive rulers to follow but unfortunately since Reagon administration these US national values are being constantly ignored which has made USA a target every where in the world. Time is still there and obama too has promised to return to what the founding fathers had committed therefore we must hear that cow boy culture has been replaced with well civilized one and that American soil is free from even a bullet. This may save this planet from a miserable end.

    August 29, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      I love it when you talk dirty.

      August 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      I see that you're using my name again,Phunnie boy.I don't like Tea Party lingo,never have and never will!!!

      August 30, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  23. Gary Johndro

    Go Randy,Go Randy,Go Randy Go!!! YABBA-DABBA-DOO!!!

    August 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      Is das alle,das du weisst?Weisst du nurJabba-Dabba-Du?Dieser Krieg musst dir sehr viel gefallen!!!

      August 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Daniel-2. Just to let you know, most of the people posting comments here have built in translators and can read every stupid and imbecilic comment you make whichever language you try to use.

        August 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Very Brilliant... Really hit the subject!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  24. Onesmallvoice

    What's wrong with this guy anyway? Doesn't he realize that there's no glory in this obnoxious war?Evidently not.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      He evidently likes war as some people do.I detest it myself and that makes it hard for me to understand guys like that.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
      • shon

        We are doing what the president asks us to do, if you had any information in your little brains you should read more and be more informed. You are just like those peace loving demonstrators that spit on the vietnam veteran. How about you just stfu and get a life. It really is annoying when some people think oh he is a soldier which means he loves war, some of us joined because there was no where else to go and we made a career out of it and all you jerks that are making this an even to voice your opinion do it else where, I reall dont give a crap that your democrat or republican and nobody else cares, if you dont like America move to Canada.

        August 29, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        People This Idiot is using My ID... Look at what is being said and the ending and you will see the difference!!!

        September 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      Many of them join the armed forces to rid the world of evil people like yourself, sure some join to get better education or pay but they no the rules when they join.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      know

      August 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • army wife

      For most that are in the army they didn't have much other choice. What is suppose to happen with these broadcast is to show what the men and women deal with and how it effects their families that they leave behind. Most people don't realize how hard this life is, and most that go over seas do not want to and lots are not behind the war either, but they have no choice.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Monty

        I'm with you on this one and it makes me glad to finally see media reporters actually reporting about the average every day for us over here in afghanistan.

        September 1, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Idiot I only speak English!!!

        September 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      Ich sehe,das der Betruger wieder zuruckgekommen ist.Die einzige ubel Leute sind die Verbrechern in Wahington mit seiner Britanische und Franzosische Mitubeltatern,die Man NATO nennt!!!

      August 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      ?Que quiere decir Dan?,puesto que no se leer aleman.

      August 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mohammed Omar

      Hello.... one thing i would like to say is that Muslims should be able to have there holy place in NYC because it's not fair how Americans get to have their church and how Jews get their holy place and also everyone has a freedom of religion and freedom of speech. So, i think that us Muslims deserve to have our Holy Place. Also, us Muslims pay taxes to stay here and that's not fair we work our butts off for like 18 hours just to pay our taxes so i think that should totally have our holy place in NYC. Everybody has their freedom in America and also people say that the USA has freedom and this is not freedom for us Muslims okay. So i hope that you guys understand and thank you for reading it!!!

      August 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        "Americans get to have their church and how Jews get their holy place and also everyone has a freedom of religion and freedom of speech"

        Last I remember, Americans were able to go to any mosques, churches, synagogues, etc... of their choosing.
        The more you alienate yourself as a Muslim (in this case) the more you alienate everyone who is not, so give the bleeding heart a rest and discuss the issue at hand.

        August 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette,IN

        Das stimmt,Mohammed Omar.Irgendwo verdienen Sie seinen Verehrungsplatz haben!

        August 27, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • shon

        You can have your mosque, thats not the problem the location is move it away from that area. Is it so difficult to move the mosque a few blocks away. If you were a peace loving religion it wouldnt be a problem to just go else where.

        August 29, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        The only reason a mosque should be near the WTC site is so that the Muslims can beg for forgiveness.

        September 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Yakisobi-specially of hindu (filthy) Pharoahnic man god to impose his tool of trinitarian human enslavement"/// To this day you still dont make sense!!!! My friend says your gay!!

      August 29, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
    • jack ray

      I havent got a computer right now, Im going to be gone until the 8th of this month, then my computer will be fixed,I surely hope. Help is on the way about alot of problems. I need your help! send all american companies this message. Their is a ride in chattanoga tennesse for the trail of tears. All companies need to display their support here, only the true legite ones please like gm. If you see fit Thanks jack ray.

      September 2, 2010 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Palestinians arrest Hamas after attack
      UPI Wed, 01 Sep 2010 04:56 AM PDT
      HEBRON, West Bank, Sept. 1 (UPI) - After the fatal shooting of four Israelis, the Palestinian Authority rounded up more than 200 Hamas members in the West Bank, an Israeli army official said. Hamas – Israel – Palestinian National Authority – West Bank – Israel Defense Forces

      September 2, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Ida Camps

      Youngster are brain washed with murderous Hero movies and games which together with their hormones produce a need for being a brainless Hero proud of dying for its Country. It is a pity that war merchant, war business promotors and biased newsmen are not sent to the front line.

      September 4, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |