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"You are just going and going and going, and the mission doesn’t stop." (Audio Interview, 23:45)

   Marissa L. Pelke
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War: Afghan War, 2001-
Branch: Army
Unit: 210th Forward Support Battalion, 10th Mountain Division
Service Location: Fort Drum, New York; Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan
Rank: Captain
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As a paying agent, Captain Marissa Pelke had to deal with the logistical nightmare of a foreign occupation from the ground up. She was part of a team that established an American military presence in Kabul, setting up post-offices and military compounds, negotiating contracts with local Afghani vendors for everything from computers to furniture to paper goods. Her interview reveals the unique experiences that came from working so closely with the local population.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (39 min.)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Going through ROTC training; spending the summer at West Point on an exchange program; being trained to be a leader; remembering her first mentor; did not perceive that she was treated any differently because she was a woman; arrival in Afghanistan; working as part of a six-person team that would go ahead to establish a compound; interaction with local Afghani civilians; using a young nine-year-old boy as an emissary to establish goodwill with local vendors. (13:34) Daily grind of life overseas; dealing with lack of sleep; time passing quickly; importance of keeping in touch with family; reacclimating to life at home after returning from overseas. (01:50) Hearing the call to prayer every morning; living and interacting with Afghani civilians. (01:40)
Becoming very close to her fellow soldiers; opinions about her superior officers. (02:10) Making good friends in the service; attitudes about American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq; coming back from overseas a little more thankful for everything. (05:49) 

Home » Marissa L. Pelke
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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