Amanda Huffman talks about her time in Afghanistan as part of the PRT in Kapisa. Part of her job was building schools and other facilities, which is not an easy task in a war torn country like Afghanistan.
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Scott DeLuzio: 00:03 Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we talk about issues affecting veterans after they get out of the military. Before we get started, I'd like to ask a favor if you haven't done so already, please rate and review the show on Apple podcasts. If you've already done that. Thank you. These ratings help the show get discovered so we can reach a wider audience and while you're there, click the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes as soon as they come out. If you don't use Apple podcasts, you can visit DriveOnPodcasts.com/subscribe to find other ways of subscribing, including our email lists. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let's get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:44 Hey everyone, thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Amanda Huffman. Amanda deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as part of the provincial reconstruction team in Kapisa Province. Amanda, I don't want to tell too much of your story right off the bat here but welcome to the show. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Amanda Huffman: 01:01 Sounds good. I'm Amanda and I served in the Air Force for six years as a civil engineer and I deployed with the Army on a provincial reconstruction team. So, I served in the Air Force, for five years. And then I got to be in the Army for a year and my husband and I met in college doing the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. So, we were dual military the whole time that I was in. He was a year ahead of me. So, we got married my senior year and we were able to not ever PCS together. So, when it was time for us to start our family, we decided it would put a lot more stability if one of us could stay home. And so, I decided to leave the Air Force and be a stay-at-home mom and military spouse and follow his career around. And that's where we are today. I guess. Should I talk about my podcast?
Scott DeLuzio: 02:00 Yeah, please go ahead.
Amanda Huffman: 02:01 Okay. Through leaving the military, I started a blog called Airman the Mom because it was really hard for me to leave the military and to be a stay-at-home mom. So, I started doing writing, which is kind of totally different than civil engineering but it was really complicated because I knew we were going to move in a year when I got out. So, I didn't want to work as a civil engineer and then start over and work. And so, I started doing freelance work and writing. And then I started a podcast this past January. I'm interviewing women who serve, served or serving in the military.
Scott DeLuzio: 02:39 Awesome. That’s actually really, really good. And time-wise, I started this podcast just a few months after you started yours. So, we're probably in a similar spot in terms of the journey of starting a podcast and everything. So, that's pretty interesting. And another kind of interesting thing to me that we talked about a little bit before we started recording here. It was interesting to me that you deployed in 2010. It's also the time that I deployed to Afghanistan. You're the second person that I've had on the show now who was in the same country, at the same time, who is not in my unit. So, that was kind of interesting to me. I know there's thousands of troops over there at the same time, so it's not much of a coincidence but just still an interesting little coincidence to me. You mentioned that you were a civil engineer and a part of the provincial reconstruction team. Why don't you start off by telling us a little bit about what that is for anyone who might not know what that is.
Amanda Huffman: 03:55 So, the military started doing these teams and it started, I think in Iraq, where they would go out and they would meet with the local people and help them build projects like roads, bridges, schools, government buildings, anything that the local people needed. And so, when I got to Afghanistan, we had I think 26 projects ranging from roads, retaining walls, a lot of schools and some government buildings. Kapisa is about the size of Rhode Island. But because of the threat concerns, we could go to the Northern part, that was right by the FOB we were at (forward operating base) but there were no roads to get to the most Northern part. And then to get to the Southern part, there was a road but it wasn't safe. So, we would go to Baghram a lot. So, it would go be on the FOB primarily. And then at least once or twice a month we would go to Baghram. And then we'd run missions to the Northern part of Kapisa because there was a road to get there. And then we would go down to Kabul and then come back up from the bottom. And so, we drove all over the country.
Scott DeLuzio: 05:10 So you've probably got a good overview of what that area looked like on the ground. All of the different villages and things like that were around that area. So, that's pretty cool. So, from reading on your blog, your website, I saw that you mentioned something about a mission that you had going out to a school that you guys were working on and you had obviously a bit of a security team that was out there with you. Then the people that you're with started taking some enemy fire from different directions. Was this your first experience with enemy contact or was this something that happened fairly frequently?
Amanda Huffman: 06:02 We didn't get attacked. We were with the French, so it was a French taskforce and then we were the PRT, the American PRT, so the Afghans would go after the French because they had different rules of engagement and it was easier for them to attack the French and they were still using those tanks. And we had the M RPS, which were much more intimidating. So most often they would attack the French and they would let us go by. And when they attacked us, we were outside the school and we were waiting to go in and waiting for the security team to clear it. And they were down in a ravine and if they had just waited five minutes, they would have had clear shots at us because of the way we would have had to enter the school through the back door and we thought we were in a pretty safe place because we'd been there multiple times and never been attacked.
Amanda Huffman: 07:00 And so, I feel we were really protected because they could have easily had a much better plan. And even if they had let us get into the school, we would have had to get out of the school and it would've been complete chaos. But instead we just had a few people, three or four people inside and most of us were halfway between. So, we were 50 to a hundred feet from the vehicles, I guess we were more like over a hundred feet from the vehicles. And we just had to run back to the trucks and get inside.
Scott DeLuzio: 07:31 Probably a hundred feet, but it probably felt like 10 miles of distance that you had to cover, while the enemy was taking shots at you.
Amanda Huffman: 07:43 It was definitely unreal. Everything goes in slow motion.
Scott DeLuzio: 07:49 That's not an uncommon experience. I think with things, especially when things are happening all over the place, you're not sure what's going on. Things just seem to slow down anyways. It may have only been 15 or 20 seconds, but it may have seemed like an eternity, as you're going through all of that. Going back to your blog post about this. So, you get back to the truck and you have the gunner up in the turret who's doing what he can up there to help out the people who are basically pinned down, stuck inside the school. You're handing up smoke grenades to the gunner to basically lay down a field of cover for them to be able to escape out of the school and get back to the trucks. So, you said, I am trying to remember off the top of my head here. You said that somebody was describing this as a movie scene kind of as your coming out of the school.
Amanda Huffman: 08:59 The Master Sergeant I was with; so, we had engineering assistance and I was in a MATV, which has four seats. And so, I couldn't really see out the window and I think I was on the side away from the school. He was in an MRAP and he could see out the back or side window. They threw so much smoke and it was different colored and it was just kind of crazy. They were worried. They were joking that they were worried that the guys weren't going to be able to find their way through all the smoke to get out of the school. It all worked out.
Scott DeLuzio: 09:39 Well, fortunately they all made it out, relatively unharmed and everyone got back to the vehicles and were able to escape out of there safely. So, that's always good. Now on the subject of schools, because I know we sort of brushed over the topic or over the fact that you were at a school at that point. But from my own personal experience being in Afghanistan, I know the kids over there really want to get to school. That's a big thing to them. I know when we'd go out on missions, they'd always run up to us and ask, mister, mister gimme pen or something like that they needed; a pen to write with because they have nothing over there to do their schoolwork with.
Scott DeLuzio: 10:26 And so, every once in a while, if we had an extra pen or something we’d hand it out and it a swarm of kids would come out of nowhere. You might see two or three kids but then all of a sudden 50 kids are jumping over this one pen. And it's crazy. We actually had a situation where we were searching a truck on the side of a road for explosives. We thought there were some explosives in it and so, we stopped the traffic around that area. No one was able to come, whatever direction East and West on that road. And there were still kids trying to get past where we are going, trying to get to school. When we told them that they couldn't continue going because they might get blown up, they didn't really care. They actually seemed pissed at us for stopping them from getting to school. I mean kids here fake being sick so that they don't have to go to school and kids over there are willing to get blown up over the opportunity to get to school. Did you happen to notice anything similar to that while you're over there?
Amanda Huffman: 11:36 Yeah, as the kids always were around us, the school that we were building that we got attacked at was actually a girls’ school. So, that school never had anybody at it. And it was in the line of the Tajik and the Pashtoon type of people groups. So, it was kind of a girls' school built in a place that didn't make sense because girls weren't allowed to go to school. And so, that school never had any kids at it. But we had a few schools in the Northern section and when we were building one of the schools, they were down on the side of the hill and the teacher was having class and they would sit under a tree and they would be learning. And even before the classrooms were officially done but they had the chalkboards in them, we would find that they'd come in and use the chalkboard when we weren't there. They wanted to learn but it was always just boys, you rarely ever saw little girls.
Scott DeLuzio: 12:33 Yeah. That's another difference, culture wise that you don't really think about too much. If you haven't experienced it is that the females in general are treated as second class citizens over there. Almost as if they don't really matter. And that's clearly not true but it's just the way of life over there. Which is unfortunate but that's just the way the things are over there. I think it's also important through podcasts like this, books and other things that to shed light on some of that situation, so that people who haven't been there haven't had that experience understand what is going on. So, I'm glad you brought that up in terms of, it was primarily boys there. It's jumping around a little bit here, but I really enjoyed reading your website with all of the information that you had about your deployment.
Scott DeLuzio: 13:41 In another blog post that you wrote about a time where you were flying in a helicopter from your FOB to Baghram and you described it as beautiful Afghanistan. I've flown on many helicopters around the country and they were mostly at night but some during the day. And you are right. The view from the sky of the country is actually beautiful. Between the mountains and all the different landscapes and things like that around, it's actually pretty beautiful. Would you be able to describe that, what would you say it was closest to in terms of flying over? Would you be able to describe the country in general?
Amanda Huffman: 14:34 I mean it's really mountainous and just so green and lush and there's a bunch of farming and it was really cool to see because you could see the house walls when we would drive around, but you could see into the little encampments and see how it was broken out. And it was just so neat to see the projects because we had a road that we were working on and so we got to see the road that we were helping build from the sky and the whole thing and under the bridges and over the bridges and it was on the side of a cliff. So, then the mountains, it was a lot like where I was currently, I was stationed in New Mexico and I was at the base of the Rockies and it was like that. It was just grander, not because it was the base of the Rocky, so it wasn't but it was there were no people and so it was just open space and it was really pretty.
Scott DeLuzio: 15:31 Right now I live in Arizona and there are some mountains around us that very much remind me of where I was in Afghanistan. We actually had a very different kind of landscape. It was mountainous but you said there are lots of trees and farming and things like that. We had, I think we had one tree and I don't know how it grew because there's no water nearby. I don't know how it grew. We had a tree that was nearby. So, you also wrote about an earthquake that you experienced when you were over there and it didn't turn out to be a super major incident. This is actually more for my own curiosity. Do you remember about when during the time that was?
Amanda Huffman: 16:21 It was over halfway. So, I think it would be in the late summer or early fall and I slept right through it.
Scott DeLuzio: 16:31 I'm only asking because I know I was there during an earthquake but I don't remember it at all. And I was only reminded of it a couple months ago that someone said, Oh yeah. Do you remember about that time that earthquake happened? And to be honest, I don't remember it at all. I don't know if I slept through it and it was a non-event to me and someone told me about it or something like that or whatever.
Amanda Huffman: 16:54 For us it was a big deal because up in the mountains where they were building a road, they had made all this progress on the road. And then, I think it rained at the same time that the earthquake happened and the way that the earthquake happened and the way the light floodwaters came, it like took out a huge, I was like, we stopped and I was like, why are we stopping? We can keep going. And they were like, no, you need to get out of the truck. And I was, okay. So, I got up to the truck and there was this huge wash out from where they hadn't built a retaining wall like they were supposed to do. And the river just ate the whole road away. And it was over a mile from where they had finished. And there was just this huge gaping hole. And it was just crazy.
Scott DeLuzio: 17:43 So the rains, that you're talking about, we had an incident where our platoon was on a QRF. The quick reaction force, for our company. And we had a group of Afghans who came to our gate asking for our help after one of the real heavy rains that they got during the summer. And apparently, they were this group of nomadic people, they didn't really have homes, they just lived in tents and they traveled all around but they had lots of cows with them. And a big flash flood came through and washed right in between where they were and where the cows were. And the cows were stuck on this little teeny sliver of high ground with the water rushing all around them.
Scott DeLuzio: 18:39 And they asked us to go out and help save them. And so, we went out, we checked out the area, but it was so far between where it was safe on the shore for us to be in to where the cows were. There was no way we were going to be able to help them. We didn't know what to do. So, we ultimately, ended up not helping them. People might think of the country as being a dry, arid desert type place but they do get an awful lot of rain, especially during the summer months, which is also interesting to think about when people haven't been there, they don't really know what to expect with that.
Amanda Huffman: 19:27 Right.
Scott DeLuzio: 19:28 Now you also talked about a mission that you went on to a woman's shelter in the capital city of the province you were in, I forget the name of the Capitol.
Amanda Huffman: 19:39 Mahmoud Rocky.
Scott DeLuzio: 19:41 So what was that mission to that woman's shelter?
Amanda Huffman: 19:49 So we met with the women's leader, I don't remember what she was, but she was in charge of women. Oh, she was in charge of women's affairs in KAPISA. And so, she had, I think there were five or six women and they had been doing a bunch of crafting and stuff. But what was most interesting was when we talked to the women, they were huddled in the corner and they were terrified of us. And so, I took my helmet off so it wouldn't be as terrifying but I don't think that really helped. But they all were running away from their husbands who were addicted to drugs and they told us how they wanted to be with their husbands but their husbands were not safe to be around but they felt an obligation to go back to help their families.
Amanda Huffman: 20:36 But they also feared for their life. So, they were in a really tough situation and it was really hard to not be able to do anything for them. And so, it was eye opening to see, not only are the women treated not the same way American women are treated and they're treated like second class citizens. But then they also have this hard life of being married to someone that they probably didn't even get to choose to be married to. And then they're addicted to drugs and they have no rights and they're just fleeing for their lives to come to that shelter. And so, it was just eye opening to hear their stories and how hard their lives were.
Scott DeLuzio: 21:21 And that's definitely not an easy life to have. And the drugs that are over there are fairly readily available because there's a lot of farming that goes on there. A lot of them are basically growing the drugs on their farms
Amanda Huffman: Because they make money.
Scott DeLuzio: They do make money. And unfortunately, that's what funds the terrorist activities that goes on over there because they can make a heck of a lot more money with opium than they can with corn or whatever. So that's super common over there, a lot of people are on the drugs. The other thing that I heard and I don't know the truth behind this, but it was also that sometimes food is hard to come by and some of those drugs are an appetite suppressant. And so, it makes it easier for them to deal with not having the food. If they take the drugs, which doesn't really help anything, but it is what it is. So, the other thing that I found interesting was at that women's shelter they had a problem with their generator and again I guess another cultural difference was their solution to the generator or the fuel that they were using for the generator. You want to talk a little bit about that?
Amanda Huffman: 22:52 So, we had been in Afghanistan long enough to know that we needed to ask questions and not just be, okay, we'll get you a new generator. So, she told us the generator wasn't working. And so, we were, okay, well what did you put in the generator as fuel? And she said, water. And we were, that's not fuel. So we were, so we were kind of like, we can't give you a new generator because obviously you can't afford gasoline because you're putting water in it. But it was just one of those things where they were like, but it's a generator and it needs liquid. It needs a certain type of liquid. But they didn't have that type, they didn't have electricity really. So, they didn't know how to work a generator. And that was one of the hard parts about being a PRT is because they were living in mud huts, literal mud huts.
Amanda Huffman: 23:44 Not even like, that's what they lived in. And then we were building these two-story concrete schoolhouses because that's what the Capitol was telling us we had to have them do. And it would have made more sense to just build them a bunch of little mud huts because they didn't understand sustainment and they didn't understand it's a building. Yes, but you have to take care of it. And they didn't even know how to fix it because they had never had a concrete building. I knew how to take care of their mud huts, but they didn't know how to take care of a concrete building. They didn't know how to take care of a well. Well, they didn't know how to take care of generators. So, all the stuff that we were building was kind of falling in disrepair because they didn't know how to maintain it and they were very grateful for it but they didn't understand sustainment. And so, we were using those words, and you have to take care of it. And they're like, no, it's a building. And we're like, no, it is a building but you still have to take care of it and you have to do different things. And so that was a really big challenge of like the disconnect between the two cultures where the Capitol and Kabul was pushing these American things that didn't really make sense in rural Afghanistan.
Scott DeLuzio: 24:58 And it almost seems the time would have been better spent, not to take anything away from what you and other people who were over there doing that or even people who might still be there doing the type of work that you're doing, not to take anything away from that, but it almost seems like education might've been a better goal like teaching them how to build the buildings, how to maintain the buildings, how to get electricity from one place to another. How generators work, basic things that, I say basic, but things that we take for granted as being basic. If I need a building to be built, I know I can go find a construction company with experts who can build this thing and take care of that because we live in a place where that's readily available.
Scott DeLuzio: 25:50 Whereas, they probably have very few people who know how to do this. And in a country as big as it is if there's only a handful of people who can actually do the work or even supervise the work, that it's probably a very hard thing to do. So, the education aspect, the same way, some units trained the Afghan army how to fight their own wars is what we needed to do with the civil engineer side, constructing buildings and roads and things like that.
Amanda Huffman: 26:29 They had us read Three Cups of Tea before we left. And I was like, did you read it? Because you're asking us to do stuff that he tells us not to do. And so, it was really frustrating because we wouldn't build any new projects. The leadership, not our commander, but the Baghram people were like, why aren't you building more projects? And we're like, they didn’t need what we're doing. We need to figure out what they need and we need to talk about sustainment. And so, we were kind of on that track of, we're not going to build it unless you have a sustainment plan, but they didn't even understand what the word sustainment meant. So, I spent the whole nine months trying to explain what that meant.
Scott DeLuzio: 27:11 And it definitely could be very frustrating to talk to somebody who is not even in the same book, never mind the same page as where you are. And we experienced that. We did some training with the Afghan army, getting them to learn just basic infantry tactics to get them to do, some of their own patrolling and things like that. And we would go out with them on patrols but just getting them to clean their weapons was like, well, why do I need to do that? The weapon’s going to shoot because I pull the trigger and it should just work. Then come to find out they never cleaned their weapons and were actually in a firefight and they're, pointing at their weapon, it's not shooting. And I'm thinking to myself; well, we told you what to do and you just chose not to do it. So, all the education in the world doesn't matter if they're not willing to put in the work, I guess.
Amanda Huffman: 28:20 It is just a huge culture shift. You handed them a rifle and they're, “Oh, this will last forever.” And it's like, “no, I clean it every week and I have to take care of it.” And they just couldn't; it was a jump that we weren't trained to teach them; so, we're doing our best and you just do it because you do it, right?
Scott DeLuzio: 28:42 It's definitely a different mindset. And especially when it comes from my experience when it comes to getting them to put in the effort. We would train them and maybe a half hour, 45 minutes later they'd be, okay, we're done for the day. We're going to take a break. We barely scratched the surface on what we're trying to teach you. And I don't know how much of that actually stuck, if anything. Speaking of cultural differences, which even as a male, being in Afghanistan, I noticed quite a bit of cultural differences over there and from a female's perspective what was it like for you being over there? Were you treated differently? What was it like for you?
Amanda Huffman: 29:36 So, I had the advantage of having an engineering degree, which an engineering degree is kind of like the way Americans think of doctors. And so, they looked past the fact that I was a female because I had an engineering degree. And so, when I dealt with like at the meetings and I also was lucky because I was deployed with another female civil engineer, so the only engineers they could talk to were two women. And so, I think it'd be interesting if it had been a male and a female if they would have been more directed towards him. But since it was two women and they knew like if they wanted money, they had to talk to us. So, they kind of looked at us as someone said they would kind of look at us like a third sex. We're not women, we're American women, which are different than their women.
Amanda Huffman: 30:26 That was the way someone and when we had gone to training someone had told us to wear the head coverings. But when we got in country, the civil engineers before us were like, no, I know you're trying to be respectful to the other culture. But if you wear the head coverings, they're going to see you as a woman, an Afghan woman and not as an American woman. So, you shouldn't wear the head coverings because that would actually detriment you instead of help you. And so, and it wouldn't have really helped anyways because I would've had my helmet on and a head cover, it would just look kind of funny anyways. But I think the two civil engineers before us gave us really good advice. No, just look at them like they're equals and treat them the way you would treat a male.
Amanda Huffman: 31:12 And so we took their advice more than the people who had trained us back home about how to deal with and we didn't have any problems. So, I mean the local engineers we worked with, we had two local national engineers who would come on the base and they helped us go to site visits and do more thorough inspections. And one of them was always telling because an Afghan culture, you have to get pregnant within the first year of being married. They have birth control but they don't use it because you have to prove to whoever that you want a baby. It's always the wife's fault if you can't get pregnant. It's never the man's. I was married and so was the other civil engineer and we both didn't have children. And so, they were like, you guys are broken. And we were like, and the one engineer, he got more the culture of the Americans.
Amanda Huffman: 32:07 He was like more, he understood it better but the other one couldn't get past it. And so, he would be like, they're not broken. And so it was really funny because we just thought it was kind of interesting how he couldn't wrap his mind around because we tried to explain, we're like, but we have birth control and they're like, we have birth control too, but we don't use it until after you have a baby. And so, it was just interesting how the culture was different in that aspect. But that was the worst of it.
Scott DeLuzio: 32:40 I suppose that is fortunate that that was the worst of it. You know, it didn't get past anything else, where they are just outright ignored you or complete disrespect or whatever. Not that super respectful, but it was a little bit different in that respect.
Amanda Huffman: 32:58 A lot of the contractors, you were talking earlier about, having people who could do the building and all that. A lot of the contractors were not actually Afghans or if they were, they had left Afghanistan and they had come back and they wanted to help their country. So, a lot of the expertise and the people who were in charge were more worldly because they had either been outside the country or they were from a different country. And so, I think that helped a lot, too.
Scott DeLuzio: 33:29 That's an interesting thing that the people who have gotten out maybe they got an education someplace else wherever, whatever other country they went to. But then they decided to come back because they wanted to help their country. I know from my own experience, several people, and I'm just kind of being careful of how I'm wording all of this who left and who are now doing things to help their country. They came to the United States. Now they've either gone back or they're doing other things that are ultimately going to help their country. And so, that's interesting that you had those kinds of engineering people with the engineering backgrounds that were able to return to their country and make a positive impact on their country. Hopefully, they can help with the education of the rest of their people in the country so that they don't think that buildings just magically maintaining themselves or whatever. I suppose baby steps and they'll get there eventually. What are some of the other challenges that the PRT had while you were working over there? Were there any other major issues outside of the education issue and things like that?
Amanda Huffman: 35:00 So, we had a lot of team dynamics that were really difficult. We were not a unit that went overseas. We were a mish mash of a bunch of different, we were Air Force, we were Army, we were Active Duty, we were Reserves, we were a National Guard. And so, then we had some civilians and then we had people who were not even part of the PRT but were on the FOB doing different things. And there were some people who caused a lot of disruptive behaviors and told lies about people and spread rumors. And that part of the deployment was probably the most challenging part because of how our trust was betrayed. And some of the things that were said about me and the other female that were not true and how it just kind of made it hard to be there when it was already hard to be there.
Scott DeLuzio: 35:54 You're all already in a combat zone. There's already stuff going on that's out of your control. It's hard enough as it is. You don't need to be knocking each other down. It should be working together as a team to further whatever the mission is. You briefly mentioned earlier, but I just noticed that we are coming up on time here but I do want to get a chance to go over a couple of other things here. You briefly mentioned that you had a podcast and I believe a book as well. Is that correct?
Amanda Huffman: That is true.
Scott DeLuzio: Why don't you tell us a little bit about those, give a little plug for those. And if there's other things that you want to talk about, I know you briefly mentioned the podcast before. If there's other stuff you want to talk about or the book and I'll be sure to include links to all this stuff in the show notes as well.
Amanda Huffman: 36:56 So the book and the podcast are both called Women of the Military. That's my engineer coming out and my lack of creativity. I started a series and I did deployment stories and I ended up getting mostly women to respond to it. And so, I was so fascinated by their stories that I wanted to hear more. So, I dropped the word deployment and replaced it with women and I started collecting stories of women and their experiences. And that's what the book turned into. I was going to do a blog series but then I decided to put it on Amazon and make it into a book. So, I have 28 stories of women from the Vietnam area up to present day sharing their experience. And a lot of them are anonymous. So, it's kind of cool to hear actually what they are feeling and all the good and the bad.
Amanda Huffman: 37:49 And then I started my podcast in January because someone suggested it would be a good idea and people were really excited. And so, I thought I was going to use the stories of the women who had written back and forth with to create the book. But then they ended up having their stories anonymous and they didn't really want to be on a podcast platform. So, I started reaching out to more women and now I've done a lot of interviews; so, I just did my 47th episode this week and I even got a chance to interview the 23rd secretary of the Air Force, which was really cool. Yeah. She's a civilian. She doesn't have any military background but she had such an interesting perspective of being a woman in charge of the Air Force as a civilian and being a woman.
Amanda Huffman: 38:44 And so it was just a really interesting story. I've just had a chance to interview women about their experience and they share the good, the bad. I've had a few military sexual trauma survivors share their story. And so, it's been a really healing place to hear the stories of women. And for me as a female veteran, I haven't had a chance to talk to a lot of women veterans because I kind of stepped back and got really involved in the military spouse space and being a mom. And so, this has been slowly bringing me back to the veteran community, which has been really neat.
Scott DeLuzio: 39:22 Well that's awesome. I think what you're doing for the female veterans who are being interviewed on your show and have their stories told in your book and I think that is really wonderful and I'll be more than happy to share all of that information to get hopefully more listeners and more readers, more ears and eyeballs on all of your work. Where can people go to find out a little bit more about you and your book and podcast and things like that.
Amanda Huffman: 39:54 So, everything is on airmantomom.com right now and I'm working to build a woman of the military website because the podcast is taking off more than my blog ever did, but it's not there yet. So, the podcast, there's a link to the podcast, link to the book and the link to all the blog posts. You read a lot of my deployment letters, which were letters I emailed home while I was deployed and then I converted them into blog posts. So, you can read all that on airmantomom.com
Scott DeLuzio: 40:25 Awesome. Well, thank you very much, Amanda, for joining me on the show and telling your story about your time in Afghanistan and sharing your book and your podcast and everything like that too. So, thank you very much.
Amanda Huffman: 40:40 Thanks so much for having me. It was fun to talk about Afghanistan.
Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Thank you.
Scott DeLuzio: 40:50 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcasts. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com we're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at DriveOnPodcasts.