Saturday, November 01, 2014

Follow us:
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to this news feed 

News

Afghanistan Series: How Technology Helps Soldiers, Families Stay Connected

  • Text size: + -
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Afghanistan Series: How Technology Helps Soldiers, Families Stay Connected
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Watch for part 3 on Friday as Brian Dwyer takes a look at what soldiers do to unwind, forget about war, and how some very famous people help them do just that.

Technology is helping Afghans, the missions and soldiers do things that were unheard of just a decade ago. As part of a look at Fort Drum's 2014 deployments, reporter Brian Dwyer introduces one soldier who, every night, used everything he could to make sure his daughter knew daddy was okay.

We know about the job. There are the missions, training, advising and elections. But how much do we really know about everything else in Afghanistan?

What about a soldier's daily life? Do soldiers get to wake up and shower? Do they get to relax and watch TV? What about dinner and those daily things you need everyday?

A decade ago was quite different than how things are done today. Today's Army helps soldiers in Afghanistan feel much more at home.

"It's exactly the same as anything else," Sgt. First Class Jamie McIntyre, who has served with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team since it first started. "You learn your routine. Whether it's summer camp, the Army, or going to a 9-5 job at Time Warner Cable. It's all the same, you just find your place."

Soldiers today have the usual mess halls, libraries, chapels and shower trailers, but also make shift things like gyms, media rooms, game rooms and even stores.

But there's no question what makes Afghanistan different today is technology. Computer stations, phone lines, Internet access, e-mail, cell phones, and Skype and Facetime.

That technology made this series on Afghanistan possible, and more importantly, it keeps soldiers and family connected.

"Ten years ago it took me eight hours to stand in line to try and call my mom or dad just to let them know I'm alive for a five-minute conversation," McIntyre said of his first deployments. "You maybe had once every month you'd talk to your mom."

"Our soldiers having the ability to Skype and Facetime and just connect with family and friends. I think it allows them to know that their family is being taken care of, which allows them to focus on the mission at hand," 3rd BCT Commander Col. Sam Whitehurst said.

"This is not my first Skype session, but I have had my first Skype session on this deployment with my wife," Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division Commanding Gen. Stephen Townsend said.

That's what it's all about.

McIntyre has a young daughter. Because of technology, he gets to say good night, every night. There are even time for some special occasions.

McIntyre and some of his soldiers wrote a song that they'd sing to McIntryre's daughter at night. A video of it hit YouTube and has been viewed 129,000 times.

"It's great to show people there's more to us than just being soldiers. We're fathers, brothers, sons, mothers, sisters," McIntyre said during a Skype interview. "We're everything out here sir."

When he got back, he was able to really see what it meant to his daughter and to him.

"We just came back from a Disney World trip," he said. "We went for five or six days. Being out there with her, around her everyday, just seeing the way she looks at me, it's just amazing. It means everything to be back with her and her having me back in her life again, it means everything."

And as soldiers can help use technology to feel better about things, sometimes it takes a special visit or just having some good ol' fun with fellow soldiers.

Watch for part 3 on Friday as Brian Dwyer takes a look at what soldiers do to unwind, forget about war, and how some very famous people help them do just that.

On Desktop: Watch an extended interview with Sgt. First Class Jamie McIntyre


CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Afghanistan Series: How Technology Helps Soldiers, Families Stay Connected
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.


Sgt. First Class Jamie McIntyre talks about his deployment to Afghanistan, and how technology helped him connect back home with his family.

10.11.12.245 ClientIP: 54.91.35.130, 23.15.7.125 UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) Profile: TWCSAMLSP