United States Citizen Fund

Faith, Family, Freedom

  • "About My Photo" from Faith, Family, and Freedom by Rod Lingsch for Congress. Released: 2024. Track 2. Genre: Politics.

About My Photo

     This picture means a lot to me.   I graduated my first class of Afghanistan Air Force Officers from pilot training as their Flight Commander.   With great pride, they presented me with a traditional scarf called Keffiyeh.   Lt. Nazari took the picture after Lt. Royan placed it around my neck.   This class of six men was no different than any other group of pilots I trained in America.   They all got along well and worked hard to complete their training.   I am always amazed when traveling the world and training people from other countries on how much we all have in common.   However, I was surprised by something Lt. Nazari said when they first started training.   He said before America came to Afghanistan; they would have to kill each other because they were from different tribes.   I think Lt. Nazari could read the surprise on my face as he put his arm around Lt. Royan’s shoulder and said, now we are best friends.   Lt. Royan smiled!   Lt. Royan was the class prankster.   He was always smiling, enjoyed telling jokes, and liked pranking the other students, especially us instructors.   This helped reduce the stress of flight training in a combat zone.   Tragedy struck three days after this picture was taken.   The Taliban entered the home of Lt. Royan’s parents, where he was staying.   In the middle of the night, the Taliban dragged Lt. Royan from his bed into the street. As his parents pleaded for their son’s life, the Taliban slit Lt. Royan’s throat.   Lt. Royan and his smile are sorely missed.   Unfortunately, in the six years I lived and worked in Afghanistan, this and worse happened all too often to civilians and the officers we trained.
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