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

SPC Christopher Lowe

For a second week, Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple shares news of a loss of men from his Afghanistan base. And this time, it got very personal for Temple. The Tampa airman is keeping a blog during his a year-long deployment and checking in every week with WUSF.

Two Marines present AF Capt. Brockman with a special award for her service

Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple of Tampa writes a blog about his experiences in Afghanistan. This past week, it meant taking photographs of two farewells: one joyous, one somber. He talks with WUSF about the challenges of both documenting and participating in military life.

SMSgt. Rex Temple, right, and an unidentified Marine, at their camp's dart board

A day off - even while bivouacked in war-torn Afghanistan - is a chance to unwind for Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple.

Afghanistan's presidential election is just a month away - August 20th. But preparations for that big day are well under way, according to Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple.

Courtesy: SMSgt. Rex Temple

WUSF's ongoing project - Afghanistan My Last Tour with Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple - focuses this week on a "who-done-it" mystery. Who or what sickened hundreds of Afghan soldiers? It could be simple food contamination, yet the Taliban is claiming credit.

Loading an M-240 machine gun before a mission

WUSF listeners have been hearing some of the untold and under-reported stories of the Afghanistan War from Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple.

Georgia National Guard soldiers get medical aid to accident victimes at Jalalaba

A car with two children and an elderly man goes off a cliff in Afghanistan. The accident, at what is fondly called J-Bad Pass, turned a U.S. military resupply mission into an impromptu medical evacuation documented by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple.

Afghani students peer out of a broken window

There's a school in Afghanistan that is running triple sessions because there is such demand for learning and a shortage of teachers. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple takes us along on a humanitarian mission that delivered school supplies, soccer balls and candy for the kids.

An Afghani father seeks medical treatment for his daughter

Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple checked in after returning recently from a six-day mission. As one might expect, the telephones were overloaded because it was Father's Day. But, he managed to share a little bit about what he's been up to.

A memorial service for four fallen soldiers in Afghanistan

Air Force SMSgt. Rex Temple reflects in a recent blog post on a memorial service for four fallen soldiers in Afghanistan, Maj. Rocco M. Barnes, Maj. Kevin M. Jenrette, SSgt. John C. Beale and Spec. Jeffrey W. Jordan.

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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