Iowa City medic serving in Afghanistan stays in touch - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City medic serving in Afghanistan talks about staying in touch

SPC Chris Rew SPC Chris Rew
Children gathered around Rew in Torkham, Afghanistan Children gathered around Rew in Torkham, Afghanistan

TORKHAM, SAUDI ARABIA (KWWL) -- Specialist Chris Rew, a Platoon Medic with the Iowa Army National Guard's 1st-133rd is stationed along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  Despite being about 7,000 miles from home, Rew he says it's remarkably easy to stay in touch with family and friends, thanks to technology.

"We have computers that are public access. We can all use them here. So, lots of people use that for Skype and we also have phones that are associated with those Internet services. Then, as I've done, there's a lot of people that opted for cell phones, which are a little more expensive but you get more privacy with it. They have pretty good coverage through most of Afghanistan. Pretty much everywhere I've gone, I've been able to make phone calls. It's surprisingly easy to keep in touch over here," SPC Rew said.

Even with improved communication technologies, Rew says there's nothing that can match the feeling he gets when opening a package from home.

"It's always great to get mail. When a package comes in, especially when it's unexpected, it's nice," Rew said. "Sometimes I'll get faked out. I'll get a package and I'll get excited but it's just military equipment that I ordered and forgot about. Yeah, it's always nice to get mail."

Rew says there are many things about Afghanistan that are different from Iowa.  In Torkham, he says most people live in homes the size of shipping crates.  In a phone conversation, Rew described the children.

"The kids are crazy there. They have a lot of energy and they work real hard. They almost all work. They push carts around and try to make money by pushing people's goods from one side of town to the other side of town. They're tricky. They only know a few words. They know dollar, they know chocolate and they know pen. Those are the things that they want from us," Rew said.

SPC Chris Rew is an Iowa City native and a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.  This is his first deployment overseas with the military.

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