Broadcast 1571 (Special Edition)

07 Jun 2011 Major Darren Rhyne
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Guest: Major Darren Rhyne, USAF. Topics: Afghanistan, Afghan First, Coalition forces, Afghanistan from the inside military perspective. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Major Darren Rhyne, USAF, to the program to tell us about Afghanistan from an insider's point of view and from the perspective of an Air Force officer having just completed his one year deployment in country. Major Rhyne has been a Space Show listener for years and continued listening while in Afghanistan. Were are most appreciative of the Major's service our country and freedom. Our discussion started out with the Major receiving orders to Kabul in Dec. 2009. He described his first impressions of the country, his expectations, and where the expectations were not met. Major Rhyne said the area he was in was like the high dessert area of Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. During this segment, he addressed Afghan literacy which is about 40% in the cities and around 10% outside the cities. He also said it was very hard to tell who the bad guy was, sometimes even among the Afghan people he worked with through his job. Darren was asked about touring the area, going to entertainment in the cities, go to Pakistan, and more. As you will hear, going out after dark was a huge thing with restrictions and rules. For example, not only did he need the authority, he could not go out alone and he had to wear 40 lbs of armor protection and take his rifle with him. Toward the end of the first segment, we started talking about Darren's first of four articles, "Afghan First: Building a Stable Economy Through Strategic Acquisition (see I will announce his additional articles when available on The Space Show but they will be posted in the same place as his first article above. As we started the second segment, we continued discussing Afghan First and we responded to questions by Richard and other listeners. Richard wanted to know if Darren saw any relationship between NASA trying to stimulate commercial space services by providing contracts to US industry and DoD's attempt to stimulate Afghan industry via the "Afghan First" policy. We then asked Darren about paying attention to the shuttle flights when he was there and the space awareness of those there. He talked about the use of GPS and satellite internet services being made available with a contractor through Singapore . Later in the segment, Darren was asked about his space interest in general and we talked about Afghanistan in the context of the recent movie, "Charlie Wilson's War." In our third segment, Richard called in to talk about the experiences his son had teaching in Afghanistan with the USAID program. If you have questions or comments for Major Rhyne, please post them on the blog URL above. You can also email him at



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