There was one day I spent in Kabul that felt like old home week. I interviewed two top members of General David Petraeus’s team who came from the Philly area.
Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez is the deputy commander of U.S. forces and heads the joint command of coalition forces. That means he directs day to day operations of all coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The tall, craggy Rodriguez grew up in Westchester PA, where his father worked at Luken Steel. After attending Henderson High School, he went on to West Point, Class of 1976. His bother is a UPenn grad. Rodriguez came back to West Chester last year to get inducted into his high school’s hall of fame.
As I was chatting with LG Rodriguez about Philly, another senior officer interjected that he was from the Camden area, but left before I could get his particulars.
I also met with Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who grew up in Roxborough, where he still has a large contingent of relatives, whom I got to meet when he spoke at the National Constitution Center last year. McMaster, is deputy to Petraeus for for planning, also heads a special anti-corruption task force at ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul. He made waves with his 1998 book, Dereliction of Duty, that criticized U.S. military strategy in the Vietnam war.
Had I known there was such a prominent Philly-area contingent at headquarters I would have brought some along some soft pretzels from home.