Hawaii-Based Soldiers Deal With Snow in
By Bradley Rhen
Special to AFPS
Afghanistan — Before deploying to Afghanistan in March, the soldiers
of the 25th Infantry Division knew they were in for a change of
For the next
year, they would have to say good-bye to the tropical paradise
of Hawaii and deal with the climate of this rugged country, including
its famously harsh winters.
Old Man Winter
must have thought it funny when he dropped about a foot of snow
on this base in Paktika province that is home to several hundred
Tropic Lightning soldiers. The snow started the night of Dec.
27 and didn’t stop until early Dec. 29.
The snow was
especially painful for Pfc. Noe Arce, a cannon crewmember from
3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment. The Los Angeles native
said he’s never seen snow in his life. "It’s the first time
I’ve ever been in snow," he said. "It’s crazy."
he and some fellow soldiers started a snowball fight, but they
got in trouble for it, so they stopped. Instead, they decided
to build a snowman.
a corncob pipe, a button nose and two eyes made out of coal, this
snowman was toting an M-16 and had buttons made out of cookies
pilfered from the chow hall.
he isn’t looking forward to any more snow this winter. "It’ll
just be tempting to throw snowballs, and we’re not allowed to
throw them any more," he said.
Whittenberg, a medic for Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, said he saw snow only twice
when he was a kid in Texas before joining the Army and being stationed
at Fort Carson, Colo. And with an assignment to Schofield Barracks,
Hawaii, he had again been able to dodge snow for the past two
really mind the snow that much. It’s just another day out here,"
Whittenberg said. "I wish it could have snowed on Christmas,
The snow not
only brought a little holiday cheer to the base, it also introduced
a new threat to personnel here: snowball snipers.
No one was
safe from these bandits, who roamed the base in packs of up to
five and launched barrages of snowballs at unsuspecting pedestrians
and then fled the scene.
felt the wrath of these "evildoers," who were known
to knock on hooch doors and wait for the occupants to open them
before launching their stockpile of snowballs inside.
said the snipers hadn’t ambushed him yet, but he knows it’s just
a matter of time. "Fortunately, they haven’t got me yet,
but I have a feeling that my time is coming," he said.