JALALABAD, Afghanistan (KTUU) - For soldiers from JBER's 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, there's no such thing as a 9-to-5. Their work day started in September when they deployed to Afghanistan, and it doesn't end for at least nine months, when they're scheduled to return home to Alaska.
Spread out at 25 separate locations across Afghanistan, roughly 2,100 soldiers from the 4-25 are tasked with a number of different jobs. Whether a soldier spends most of their day behind a desk staring at a computer, meets with Afghan military leaders to train, advise and assist, or is out on the front line providing security for Special Operations Forces, maintaining a constant sense of readiness is what they do for a living.
Although they are living in war zone, surrounded by barbed wire and 20-foot tall cement blocks, for the most part, some soldiers say a day in the life of the 4-25 in Afghanistan doesn't look a whole lot different than it did back in Alaska. They eat, work out, train, sleep and then do it all over again the next day.
"Not too often does every unit get to engage the enemy," said Staff Sgt. Carlton Weeks. "But when we do, we just have to be ready to answer the call accurately and timely."
While it can be easy to get complacent, stories like the one that played out a few weeks ago at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad serve as a reminder that Aghanistan is still a dangerous place.
Back in January, Sgt. Aaron Funderburke and Spc. Ryan Camden were providing security for international contractors from Uganda fixing the outer walls of the base. While kids were playing nearby, a middle aged Afghan man approached the soldiers. They say he moved the kids away from the wall before squatting down and then he started lobbing grenades.
Funderburke says one grenade hit a contractor in the back of the neck. Another landed at the feet of a group of contractors. Thinking he was throwing rocks, the U.S. soldiers used non-lethal force to try and make the man leave, but then the man threw another grenade at the soldiers, which exploded at their feet.
"We were probably about a meter away from the grenade that blew," Funderburke said. "Once it blew, we picked up, looked over and he was running across the field. We just dropped him out in the field."
Troops and contractors got lucky that day-- only one of the four Soviet-era grenades exploded during the attack. Although nobody was hurt, the attack serves as a reminder of the importance of always being ready.