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West Essex Regional Schools

West Essex High School Celebrates Chinese New Year—in March

NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - West Essex High School (WEHS) students learned about Chinese culture and dined on authentic Chinese food, while participating in the WEHS Chinese New Year Celebration on Mar...

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On the Aisle

'Cinderella' Brings Classic Disney Magic Back to the Screen

One of the biggest challenges that Disney's new iteration of Cinderella faced was convincing the audience that it deserved to be made in the first place.  This marks the studio's fo...

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Y Works

YMCA Announces New, State-of-the-art Resistance Center to Open

LIVINGSTON, NJ – The West Essex YMCA in Livingston is holding a Grand Re-Opening of the Resistance Center on April 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. According to the Y, the Resistance Center...

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Discount Travel News

A Week in San Diego for $474

This week’s gem, The Gaslamp Plaza Suites is a historical, European style hotel built in 1913, and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. As you walk in, observe the plaza...

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Caldwell-West Caldwell School District In the News

Joshua Scott is Two-Time Winner of Annual Wilson School Geography Bee

WEST CALDWELL, NJ – Fourteen students from Wilson Elementary School, in West Caldwell, took the stage on Thursday, February 26, to participate in the school’s second annual Geography...

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PFC Matthew O’Hern of West Caldwell Sends a Letter from Afghanistan

By PRIVATE FIRST CLASS MATTHEW O’HERN

November 23, 2012 at 6:43 AM

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - At 3am EST,  The Alternative Press of West Essex received a very special letter from Private First Class Matthew O’Hern of West Caldwell.  Here it is in its entirety:

To the West Essex TAP:
I would love to share a little about what I do!
It is motivating to be reminded that people at home care, and motivation is key around here!

I am a military police soldier (31b) deployed to Kabul,  Afghanistan with the 508th Military Police Company out of Teaneck, NJ.  Unfortunately, due to security reasons,  I can’t put out my exact location.

We are on a 9 month  “boots on ground”  deployment.   This means that once we hit Afghanistan soil on September 4, 2012 at 14:52 we started our 9 month tour.   Overall,  the deployment is going well so far.   Some days are better than others.

I work a 12 hour shift,  seven days a week,  with no days off.   I usually work the night shift,  however sometimes I will rotate to the day.   It is often hard to stay in touch with home due to the 8.5 hour time difference and limited Wi-Fi.  

I work with a squad including nine other soldiers and three K-9’s - two of which are explosive dogs and one narcotic.   We use the K-9’s daily to do sweeps of routs we will use for a mission,  inspect high risk areas and for regular daily patrols outside the wire.

When my squad is not out on a mission,  we work at an Entry Control Point.   This is where we do a full body search and background check of any individual trying to get through our area of operation.  This would compare to a  “seatbelt check”  back in Caldwell.

I am also enrolled in full-time online college courses while over here.   I didn’t want the deployment to interrupt my education.   It is a lot of work and often leaves me with limited sleep but I know it will all pay off.   I have hopes of finding a local law enforcement job when I return to the states.   I also look forward to returning as a member of West Caldwell Fire Department and West Essex First Aid Squad.

As hard as it is to be away from family and friends back home,  I really do enjoy what I am doing over here.   It is a great experience and it feels great to say I am defending the best country out there!

I miss my younger brother Patrick.   He's 16 yrs. old and I look forward to returning back home with him.  I consider him more than my brother, but my best friend.

Again, thank you for your support!
Matthew O’Hern


PFC O’Hern
508th MP CSC PLT 1
USFOR-A NKC, Afghanistan
APO, AE 09356