Lots of news of changes this week in prosecuting the war on terror. Unfortunately, everyone needs to understand it’s likely to get worse, before it gets better. This week we’ve been involved in air strikes in Somalia, and have moved aggressively against Iran. The US Embassy in Greece was rocketed this morning, and other actions are sure to be below the news cycle radar. Things will get interesting with the change in leadership at the Central Command. I served under Admiral William Fallon as we launched air strikes from the USS Theodore Roosevelt against Slobodan Milosevic’s government in the former Yugoslavia in 1995. He’s very hands-on, and should quickly learn what is happening on the ground.

Our efforts in Afghanistan have been more subtle. From our perspective it seems as if things are moving very slowly, until we reflect on the changes since we arrived 8 months ago. The bureaucracy can be extremely frustrating, yet during the course of my year, we will have moved most of the Afghan National Army to a force able to move tactically and strategically, in ethnically diverse units. On the national level, they will have graduated to computer automation in the next few months, facilitating tracking and analysis of issues on an almost comprehensive level. This from a nation that’s literacy is less than 20% and where few have ever seen a computer. These are huge accomplishments, but are almost impossible to see when focusing on the daily obstacles. To report on some of this, I was interviewed on a radio program (Troop Talk) on Sunday that was broadcast in Jacksonville, as well as across CA, TX, FL MN and OH. And it looks like I may join that and other shows periodically. You can hear the show by going to the 01/07/07 podcast at http://www.trooptalkradio.com/listen.php (I’m in the first hour).

We have received fantastic donations through the holiday months and plan a clothing and school supplies drive in coming weeks. I’m way behind on individually thanking everyone, but will get to you at some point. Hopefully, we’ll have better photos to share this next time. The events tend to be a bit chaotic, and it’s difficult to balance the role of benevolent donor while staying alert to security issues. It doesn’t leave much time for taking pictures. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

I also really appreciate everyone’s help keeping my real estate business going for the year. Although gone for 10 months, my team and I closed $4.2M in sales. It’s been a tough year in real estate, and I’ve been concerned about rebuilding business when I return next summer, but it’ll be much easier with the help and support I’ve received while deployed. Thank you!

Everything’s fine here, just a bit cold (5 below zero’s the record low so far). We greatly appreciate the support, care packages and prayers; and can use more of all three. If you’ve missed updates you’d like to read, surf to www.jonsingleton.com to read past updates, see the pictures and to post comments. Feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested. If an email of your’s is kicked back by my SPAM filter, just resend with the word “ADD” in the subject line, and I’ll receive it. Raise a cup of Starbuck’s for me, and I’ll hurry home.