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August 27th, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Hurry up and wait

Editor's Note: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. Catch their stories on our AMfix blog, and CNN's American Morning in September.

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 availble to handle the 150 plus soldiers who were waiting to go Sharana... Sgt. Shorter among them. Now we're here at Bagram – another pitstop – 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 moments 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 soldiers 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."

Filed under: A Soldier's Story
August 27th, 2010
09:53 AM ET
August 27th, 2010
09:51 AM ET
August 27th, 2010
05:52 AM ET

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Katrina: 5 years later
Five years after Katrina, we're reporting live from the lower ninth ward in New Orleans. How much progress do you think the city has mad since the disaster?

Ex-FEMA chief: 'Fatal mistake' made during Katrina response
New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - The Bush administration made a "fatal mistake" by talking up facts and figures without painting a broader picture of the obstacles in its widely criticized Hurricane Katrina response effort, ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown said Thursday.

Brown told CNN's Anderson Cooper that the talking points he and other federal officials used at the time didn't tell the whole story.

"They were factually correct, but weren't in context. We're moving all of this stuff in. We have teams here. Rescue teams are doing this," he said. "But we never explained to the people that it's not coming as fast as we want it to, and it's not enough, because of the number of people that were left behind in the aftermath of the storm."

Not making that clear was a "fatal mistake," Brown said. FULL STORY

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