Aside from longing for his family, Maj. Eric Kaiser misses the convenience of pulling into a fast-food drive-through and ordering a diet Coke and maybe French fries.

Aside from longing for his family, Maj. Eric Kaiser misses the convenience of pulling into a fast-food drive-through and ordering a diet Coke and maybe French fries.

"This sounds stupid, but I miss the drive-through. And I miss college football and American TV," Kaiser said.

A Lewis Center resident, Kaiser is serving in Camp Dubs near Kabul, Afghanistan, with Task Force 1-134th Field Artillery Regiment of the Ohio Army National Guard.

The unit, with more than 650 members, is based in Columbus and has soldiers from all over Ohio, said Lt. Ismail Turay, a member of the unit who also handles communications.

The unit's primary mission in Afghanistan is to transport military personnel and civilians throughout the country to sites including military camps, construction sites and training areas, said Kaiser. Their unit has suffered no casualties during its current deployment.

"Our guys are constantly on dangerous roads protecting people and taking them to these sites," Turay said. "It is a daily mission. We have guys in every region of the country and at headquarters, we are supporting those guys."

Kaiser is a full-time human resource officer and has been in the military for 28 years. He said his wife, Michele, and school-age children, Maris and Max, are holding down the fort at home.

He earlier served yearlong deployments to Selby, Miss., and Iraq.

ThisWeek on Jan. 11 spoke to Kaiser and Turay over special phone lines for soldiers in Afghanistan.

When home, Kaiser enjoys activities with his children, such as practicing sports, and enjoys running.

He also enjoys walking through Polaris Fashion Place, an activity that helps him transition when coming home from deployment.

"As a family, we always like to go to Polaris mall. It's one of the things that brings me back pretty quickly," Kaiser said, noting that the store he can't pass by is one that sells OSU items. "I'm an Ohio State alumni, so any place that sells Ohio State stuff, I like," Kaiser said. "My wife loves Pandora and I like J. Crew. It's probably my favorite clothing store."

He studied economics and accounting at college - "supply and demand," he said, though his current job is different from his degree. "I've gone to several schools to get the skill sets for an adjutant, which is what we call it," Kaiser said.

At times, he is one of the people the Guard transports, going to various bases for human resource reasons. He works with the soldiers to ensure that personnel procedures, activities and processes are in order.

"From benefits to promotions to mail, we do it," he said.

One of his favorite downtime activities since being deployed in Iraq from 2008-2009 is watching horror movies. It was Halloween and he decided he was going to watch a horror movie every day of the month. And he did.

"I am a horror movie junkie," Kaiser said. "I love 'Friday the 13th.' I like 'Halloween.' I like them all. I like the suspense and it keeps my mind busy and off things."

He also works out in the base gym, running on the treadmill for 60 minutes, which he said is not an easy task. "The challenge to that is we're about 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The air is very thin," Kaiser said. "There are the most beautiful mountains I've ever seen in my life here - picturesque. Heaven-sent, peaceful and serene. Kabul is situated in a valley and just surrounded by these things."

In Iraq, he was in the Anbar Province, the desert. His favorite site was an oasis where Abraham of the Bible is said to have washed his feet.

"It's a spring, like an oversized swimming pool with green palm trees and vegetation," he said. "Got to put my hand in the water and there were little fish. Other than that, it was desert with laser brightness."

Kaiser said deployment has helped him to realize the things he values in life and what matters: family and friends.

"You think, 'I really need to change how I value certain things in life and what matters to me,'" Kaiser said. "I did that coming back from Iraq and it was a permanent change for me."

Asked how folks back home could support them, Kaiser said soldiers enjoy receiving mail and are grateful for care packages with toiletries such as three-bladed razors, food, body washes, shampoos, deodorant, gummy candy and Pringles.

Kaiser loves Slim Jims. "I have a box right next to me. It's a good snack that at home I always have, and it's nice to have something from home. Especially, when you're over here to have something from home that you can still enjoy keeps you spiritually and mentally connected with back home," he said. "And they last so well in the pockets of cargo pants."

His address is Eric D. Kaiser, HHB 1-134th FA RGT, Task Force ROC, Camp Dubs, APO AE 09320.