In newspaper journalism, there’s an old standard called “Man on the Street.” (Of course, the politically correct modern version would be “Person on the Street.) The editor dispatches a reporter and photographer to take a random poll of people “on the street” on a current issue.
For example: Do you agree with the surge in Iraq? Or, what do you think of the city’s new parking ticket policy?
During our embed with the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, “Bobcats,” JR Ancheta and I created our own “soldier on the street” interview and started asking soldiers three questions:
1) What’s the best thing about being in Afghanistan?
2) What’s the worst thing about being in Afghanistan?
3) What are the top three songs you listen to in Afghanistan?
Nearly every soldier has an iPod or some MP3 player and an extensive playlist with music for different occasions.
Over the coming days, I’ll share a some of the soldiers’ responses…and a 1-5 playlist might just emerge.

Spc. Malcom Killebrew, 22, from San Diego, Calif. 2nd platoon, Bravo Co. Sperwan Ghar. Photo: JR Ancheta

Spc. Malcom Killebrew answered our questions while waiting with his Stryker crew at Kandahar Airfield before returning to Sperwan Ghar in mid-January.

The best thing about being in Afghanistan: It’s an experience. It’s not an every day thing.

The worst thing about being in Afghanistan: Being in Afghanistan. Just because you’re here.

Top 3 Songs Killebrew plays in Afghanistan:

Pfc. Dylan McDaniel, 20, from Natural Bridge, Virginia, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Co. Sperwan Ghar. Photo: JR Ancheta

Pfc. Dylan McDaniel is a Strkyer driver and was hanging with Killebrew when we asked him the questions. McDaniel said he listens to music all the time.

The best thing about being in Afghanistan: I’m doing good things. Making my family proud.

The worst thing about being in Afghanistan: The worst I can tell you is being away from family and friends.

Top 3 Songs McDaniel plays in Afghanistan:

1) “Wait and Bleed” by Slipknot

2) “On My Level” by Whiz Khalifa

3) “Far From Home” by Five Finger Death Punch

Command Sgt. Major Ernest Bowen. FOB Shoja. Photo: JR Ancheta

CSM Ernest Bowen answered our questions in his office at battalion headquarters at Forward Operating Base Shoja.

He said: “I have an iPod with some music and pictures of my wife and kids.”

The best thing about being in Afghanistan: Being with the soldiers of the 1-5. There’s no other reason to do it.

The worst thing about being in Afghanistan: Being away from my family.

Top 3 Songs Bowen plays in Afghanistan:

1) “All the Fools Sailed Away,” by Ronnie James Dio

“I’ve always listened to Dio. I worked with this crew of morons. It would make me feel good.”

2) “Jukebox Hero,” by Foreigner.

3) “The Dance,” by Garth Brooks

Bowen said he’s not into any of that “new fangled Eminem, hip-hop.”

“Led Zeppelin. Never a bad choice with Zeppelin,” Bowen said.

Amen to that, CSM.

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