From a C-130, to a Blackhawk Helicopter, to a front row seat to democracy in action. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro is on the House Armed Services Committee. He and two Republican California representatives made a trip to Afghanistan just days before that country voted.
"Just to see our soldiers and airman in action, and to see their passion and their dedication for their mission was amazing," said Castro.
A trip that wasn't about politics, but about people.
Castro brought a Texas flag to Afghanistan for San Antonio troops serving in a country Castro believes is crucial in keeping the American public safe.
"I think they feel a real sense of purpose in making sure that Afghanistan's stronger and therefore the world is safer," said Castro.
It was Castro's first fact-finding mission, in a country about to vote on new leaders. Castro toured where the 9-11 plot was hatched, not far from where U.S. troops and Afghan security forces were protecting a polling place.
"We were coming up on that week, and you could sense that our military had a real sense of pride that we helped them get to that place," said Castro.
So as he watched the Afghan people turn out to vote in higher than expected numbers, Castro thought of the Americans who made it possible, something he hopes won't get lost in this historic vote.
"The fact that so many Afghan people went to vote was a real testament to democracy and was a real triumph in its own," said Castro. The Afghan people I think they understand their choice is between the democratic nation that's functioning and a nation that unfortunately is thrown into chaos by the control of the Taliban and these endless tribal fights and so I think they understand and appreciate the role Americans played for the last dozen years."
Right now the United States has around 35,000 troops in Afghanistan.