An occasional series of chats with one of our troops.
Spc. Ian Winkler
Hometown: Gretna / Age: 29 / Nebraska National Guard’s 623rd Engineer Company
Q: What do you like about the work you do here?
A: My favorite thing about working with my hands is, you know, I can look at this building here, and I can say, “I built this.” Not me by myself, but you know, me and a group of my friends got to work together on this, and that’s a big accomplishment.
I can look at it and hopefully in 20 years it’s still standing, and I can tell my kids some day that I went to Afghanistan and I built stuff. How many people can say that?
Q: What do you do back home and how do you apply it here?
A: I’m a psychology student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and I work in loss prevention at Best Buy. Basically, the ability to read and work with different types of people and backgrounds — that’s the biggest thing I’ve gained from it. Other than that, the jobs are night and day. Totally different ballparks. Just being able to read people and work with people of different types has helped me the most.
Q: What’s your favorite job you’ve done here?
A: We had to remodel a living area (for soldiers on the base), and we were basically given three days to get it done, with a skeleton crew of guys. But we hammered it out like it was no problem, and it just looks awesome.
Q: Have you been outside the base?
A: Just once. I provided overwatch security, because I’m a gunner, for a few of my buddies as they were putting up razor wire right outside the wire. It was a different experience. Here on (Forward Operating Base Sharana), it’s easy to get complacent ,and it’s easy to forget that you’re in a war zone. But going out there, it was definitely a new experience. You definitely have to be 100 percent aware of your surroundings, and you have to keep watch, because you never know what’s going to happen.