Afghanistan: My Last Tour

SMSgt. Rex Temple posing with Afghan children at the weapons range.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple has 28 years military experience. He's deployed to the Middle East and Afghanistan four times and served a total of 10 overseas tours. In May 2009, Temple left for what he said would be his last tour of duty. But it was unlike any other he’s experienced.

During his final deployment to Afghanistan, he blogged about his daily life at Afghanistan My Last Tour.

Hundreds follow him – including members of the military at all levels who want the real story of what’s going on. He’s seen firsthand the corruption in dealing with the Afghan government, and tried to fight it. He’s a supporter of the strategy to win “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people – but understands the frustrations and difficulties of troops trying to implement that policy.

Between May 2009 and April 2010, the Tampa airman spoke weekly to WUSF’s Bobbie O’Brien, who brings his story to our audience. Temple is based at MacDill Air Force Base’s 6th Air Mobility Wing. He’s married to Liisa Hyvarinen Temple, a University of South Florida adjunct professor who teaches journalism and multimedia. She helps him with his blog and an ongoing school supply drive for Afghan children.

Recent News Updates

The Afghan National Army's lead vehicle on the mission through Wardak Province.

It’s been a non-stop week of missions for Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple. He’s visited a mountaintop military outpost and rode along with soldiers clearing roadside bombs.

Inside a C-17 Globemaster cargo plane headed into Afghanistan.

Tampa airman Rex Temple returned to Afghanistan after two weeks on leave spent with his wife in Germany. The senior master sergeant's return trip to the war zone required a lot of patience and caused him some concern.

Liisa and Rex Temple at Neuschwanstein Castle while on leave midway through his

The seven inches of snow dusting the Bavarian Alps has created a picture-perfect wonderland for Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple and his wife Liisa. Temple is on mid-tour leave from his year-long deployment in Afghanistan and the couple is spending two weeks in Germany.

SMSgt. Rex Temple and his wife, Liisa Hyvarinen Temple, in Garmisch, Ge

They’ve shared emails, photographs and Web cam conversations. But it's been seven months since Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple has been able to hug his wife Liisa.

Photo of SMSgt. Rex Temple and his Afghan interpreter

A local airman serving in Afghanistan says his supervisors threatened to take thousands of dollars out of his paycheck and delay his mid-tour leave because of a paperwork snafu.

Afghan teens who said they hate Americans

While serving in Afghanistan, Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple cemented a friendship with Georgia Army National Guard Specialist Christopher “Kit” Lowe. Temple even featured Lowe’s antics on his blog. Lowe is now back in the states after being shot.

A close up of the gravesite of former Afghan President Daoud and family

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai will be sworn in this week for another five year term. Meanwhile, Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple came across one of Karzsai's predecessors.

Photo of Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple on a helicopter mission in Afghanistan

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple has been talking with WUSF every week for about a half year, ever since the Tampa airman deployed to Afghanistan.

MRAPs - mine resistant vehicles

A one day trip turned into a four day adventure at Bagram Air Field (BAF) for Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple and his team. Their mission was to exchange five older Humvees for six refurbished mine-resistant vehicles or MRAPs.

inside ANA living quarters

Tampa airman Rex Temple can already see snow in the mountains near his Afghan base. But, as the winter settles in – the senior master sergeant has found that the cold-weather gear supplied to Afghan soldiers has become a hot seller at the local bazaars.

Recent Episode Updates

Wagon on Kabul road

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple spent the last year working in Afghanistan. Re-trained to supplement the Army and Marine troops on the ground, Temple has been focused on humanitarian missions and supply convoys as well as mentoring a couple of Afghan National Army soldiers. Along the way, he has talked to us weekly about his experiences. Now that he’s home, Temple reflects on his tour of duty and talks about its impact on him.

Photo: Traffic in Kabul, July 2009

Afghanistan class in a make-shift school

WUSF 89.7 FM has been telling you about how Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple and his wife, Liisa, are trying to help children in Afghanistan through a school supply drive here at home. This week’s University Beat tells you how USF is getting involved in the effort.

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