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

SMSgt. Temple's photo of Afghanistan National Army training with M-16 rifles

It's been a deadly week in Afghanistan. Logistics prevented WUSF's weekly check-in with Air Force SMSgt. Rex Temple who deployed there May 5th.

A mortar firing post at an Afghanistan combat outpost

A blown radiator, a flat tire and traversing a single-lane, dirt road through mountain passes are just a few of the "challenges" faced this week by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple.

Vehicle damage from an RPG, Rocket Propelled Grenade

We are following the exploits of Rex Temple of Tampa. He's an Air Force Senior Master Sergeant on a one-year deployment in Afghanistan. He just got there about a week ago.

SMSgt. Rex Temple with his neices Vivi and Sara

For the next 12 months, WUSF is following the deployment of USAF Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple in Afghanistan.

The airman left from the Bay Area just over a week ago and he's keeping in touch with us as best he can through the Internet when he has access.

Air Force SMSgt. Rex Temple

Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple is now settled at his permanent home, or billet, in Afghanistan.

It's a location we have agreed to not identify, but the airman gives us a sense of his surroundings. He reached us by telephone early Friday.

A Kyrgyzstan mountain range

Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple left Tampa Tuesday for a year's deployment to Afghanistan. Early Friday afternoon Florida time, the airman checked in with WUSF during a layover at a US military base in Kyrgystan.

SMSgt. Rex Temple and wife, Liisa Hyvarinen Temple share a final moment

The president announced plans in early 2009 to expand US military presence in Afghanistan. In conjunction with that buildup, WUSF begins a year-long series following Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple who just left on his fourth and final deployment to the Middle East.

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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