Note: This is the second in a series.  Here’s the introduction from the first post, if you missed it.

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.

First Sgt. Larry Addy, 42, from Augusta, Ga., HHC. Photo by JR Ancheta

Best thing about being in Afghanistan:

You get the feeling of doing your part of helping the Afghans out. Controlling the terror network. Giving them some kind of hope. Letting them know we’re for them and stand up and fight the Taliban. Getting their infrastructure so they can support their own selves.

Worst thing about being in Afghanistan:

Being away from my family. The kind of lack of supplies we need to build and sustain ourselves.

Top 3 Songs I play in Afghanistan:

  1. “Smile,” by Kurt Franklin. A gospel song.
  2. “He Saw the Best in Me,” by Marvin Sapp
  3. “Just the Way You Are,” by Bruno Mars. For Angela.

Lt. Monica Holmes, 29, Pennsylvania. Photo by JR Ancheta

Best thing about being in Afghanistan:

I’m debt-free. I paid off all of my college loans.

Worst thing about being in Afghanistan:

Being away from friends, family and my pets. My dog, Cora, and cats Betty and Cinnamon.

Top 3 Songs I play in Afghanistan:

  1. “It’s Not Enough,” Smashing Pumpkins. (“Eye”)
  2. “Black and Gold,” Sam Sparro. This is in the new “Fame” movie.
  3. “One in a Million,” Ne-yo.

I listen to a lot of different songs. I’m very eclectic.

Lt. Brittany McAllister, 24, Winnipeg, Canada. Photo by JR Ancheta

Best thing about being in Afghanistan:

Accomplishing the mission with my soldiers. Closing Tactical Infrastructures.

Worst thing about being in Afghanistan:

Closing Tactical Infrastructures. She laughs.

Top 3 Songs I play in Afghanistan:

  1. “Danger Zone,” Kenny Loggins. “Top Gun” theme song.
  2. “It’s Good to be a Gangsta,” Geto Boys
  3. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” The Rolling Stones

Sgt. David Smith, 28, Dillon, S.C. Charger Co. Photo by JR Ancheta

Best thing about being in Afghanistan:

You’re part of something bigger than yourself. You contribute not only to U.S. and the Army but also in Afghanistan, making it a better, safer, more stable place for them to grow up in.

Worst thing about being in Afghanistan:

Being away from your family and the sacrifices you make being away from home.

Top 3 Songs I play in Afghanistan:

  1. “Carolina,” Eric Church
  2. “Chicken Fried,” Zac Brown Band
  3. “My Kind of Party,” Jason Aldean

When I listen to music, it’s at the gym. I’m a big fan of country music.

Spc. Marco Luzanilla, 38, Imperial Bend, Calif., Medic. Photo by JR Ancheta

Best thing about being in Afghanistan:

There is no best thing.

Worst thing about being in Afghanistan:

Being in Afghanistan

Top 3 Songs I play in Afghanistan

  1. “No Hay Mal Que Por Bien No Venga,” Gloria Estefan
  2. “I’m Bad,” L.L. Cool J
  3. “Pump It,” Black-eyed Peas
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