Thursday, November 28, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Although most people think of scientists as people in lab coats working in University labs and teaching college courses, scientists overall apply their skills to a wide range of jobs and careers. One of those careers I, and probably most people, don't often associate with scientists is that of a soldier. Although we don't hear about them much, soldier-scientists are playing important roles in the US military efforts overseas. Science recently published a relatively brief article about soldier-scientists in Afghanistan, and specifically the experiences of Dr. Alexander Stewart, a glacier morphologist and soldier-scientist of the U.S. Army’s 143rd Infantry Detachment. Here I am going to just briefly highlight some of the points I found interesting, and bring up some discussion points that I think are worth talking about. The citation for the article can be found in my works cited, and it is definitely worth a read.
As many of us are probably already aware, the war in Afghanistan has required enormous combat efforts, but has also required a focus on teaching Afghan citizens and helping them rely more on their government and less on the Taliban. While this has been done in many different ways, one of the approaches has incorporated the expertise of PhD scientists. The soldier-scientists advise military leaders, as well as aid Afghan citizens in building and farming projects, projects for promoting education, and projects involving climate research. According to the article (quoting Stewart), this is the first time soldier scientists have been deployed in noncombat missions in a war zone.
|Alexander Stewart (Geologist) examining a repaired wall|
at the Band-e Sultan Dam in Ghanzi. Taken from ref .