ABBOT, Maine — An Abbot man serving his first tour of duty in Afghanistan says he longs for his family but he also misses something most Mainers take for granted during the summer months: grass.

Lance Cpl. Brandon Chisholm, 19, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in August 2009, said in a telephone interview recently that even though grass is scarce and dirt is the norm in Helmand province, where he is stationed, the country is “beautiful.” He also noted that most of the Afghans he has met are “nothing but kind.”

Chisholm, a Piscataquis Community High School graduate, is a member of Company D’s “Dirty Delta,” so named because he and others have to get down on the ground to work on the M-1A1 Abrams tanks to keep them battle-ready. Chisholm not only maintains the vehicles but also drives them, he said.

While Chisholm acknowledged he wasn’t certain what role he would play in the military when he enlisted, he knew it would give him opportunities not available locally.

“I enlisted pretty much to go out and kind of see the world,” he said.

Despite landing in Afghanistan for his first tour, Chisholm said he hasn’t regretted his decision. In fact, the son of Laurie Chisholm and stepson of Bryan Kelsey of Abbot said he actually is contemplating a career in the military.

Chisholm said he would return to his California base when his tour ends in about two months.

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