Afternoon all. It is about 4 pm over here at lovely FOB Warrior. Actually, there is very little loveliness aside from the stars at night and the mountains on a clear day. Everything else is brown. most days, even the sky seems brown becuase the dust covers everything. There is dirt/dust EVERYWHERE! On everything. It finds its ways into the seams of uniforms, rear molars, ear canals…anything and everything. I have been working with my platoon out on the flightline or the airfield and the constantly landing helicopters only serve to swirl the dirt directly at face level. There is no escaping. But aside from the inescapable earth, things are fine. We are safely to our last stop in Afghanistan nearly 10 days, 5 plane rides, multiple bus rides, hours spent waiting at passenger terminals, at least a combined 2 miles of bag lugging, and a helicopter ride later. Welcome to FOB Warrior.
We are taking over from a Polish task force that seems to have low hygiene standards with the exception of their vehicles. Those they wash daily, despite them immediately getting filthy again because of the dust, and they are the most careless drivers. I have never seen someone reverse a 5 ton truck hanging out of the drivers door, foot on the gas, no hands on the steering wheel, and not looking the direction the truck is traveling. Since their operations ceased a few months ago (the Polish Government quashed their combat operations after 5 soldiers died in an IED attack), they seem to have taken up sunbathing and trashing the base. We are waiting for them to leave in order to do some major renovations and make the FOB more livable.
I am currently living in a tent with 19 other females on cot bunk beds, if you can imagine it. The tents are overheated and overcrowded, but it is somewhere to sleep. Most bathrooms are porta potties, and there is one set of showers for all the females. They did open another chow hall today. Food is actually pretty good for mess hall food. There is cut up fresh fruit in the morning, a good cereal selection (they even have soymilk!) and some vegetables. There are no snacks available really, so please send some goodies for my soldiers!
Our work right now involves manual labor and construction. Military intelligence sounds very brain and desk oriented, but we have to build the facilities to properly store the classified material and get the systems set up as well. My platoon has had to claim part of the airfield, move a ton of rocks, level and grade a path, and lay down metal runway sheets. It is slow going and we still have a long way to go. The biggest issue is Material Handling equipment, basically earth movers, bulldozers, cranes, bucket loaders, etc. Everyone fights over them, and the local drivers aren’t always into working. Our containers of equipment arrive by local trucks (called jingle trucks because each driver decorates his truck almost garishly with colorful paint and bells) and much of my day is spent wandering around trying to find my equipment. We are all lobster red in the face from the sun, with big raccoon eye tans from our ballistic sunglasses. Winter went straight to summer.
It truly is amazing what you can do with a shipping container. Ship things obviously, but some have doors and people live in them or make them offices. Some are bathrooms and showers. Some are so snazzy it is almost comical.
All in all, things are fine. I can’t wait to come home of course, but we have a lot to do over here. Love to everyone! Hope yall are well!