My Last Tour: Missing Books

Inside an ANA library that was remodeled and stocked by U.S. forces last fall. N
Inside an ANA library that was remodeled and stocked by U.S. forces last fall. Now, the books are missing.
TAMPA (2010-1-18) -

Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple is working on a literacy program for Afghan National Army soldiers this week despite hearing some bad news about a similar project completed at his former camp.

The Tampa airman checked in with WUSF Monday. Temple's been recovering from an eye infection that sidelined him for four days and forced him to wear glasses. But he said he’s happily gotten rid of his “Clark Kent” look.

“I put my contacts back in and put my glasses back in the case,” Temple said. “I just have to take some steroid drops in my eyes until I leave the country.”

Temple was happy to be back at work doing an inventory of books that will be given to the nearby ANA camp’s literacy project. He said only about 20 percent of Afghan soldiers can read.

But, one of Temple’s teammates told him the library they built at another ANA camp has been stripped bare of its books and is now an empty shell.

“There’s a possibility maybe they moved it to another location or the worse possibility is they took the books down to the bazaar and sold them for money,” Temple said.

The news frustrated Temple: “We spent a lot of time and money and this was for the ANA soldiers. This was to enhance their literacy program. And then to find out all the books have disappeared, it’s rather disheartening.”

Still, Temple is excited about setting up another library.

“I’m hoping that this was an isolated incident,” Temple said. “Until I investigate and find out what exactly happened to those library books, I really don’t want to jump to conclusions.”

Afghanistan My Last Tour.

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