My goodness! So this is what it feels like to have sand pelted in your face. We’ve been in an ongoing sandstorm for the past four hours. I thought it would subside and then, wham! It just kept on pounding. Oh well. I find myself wanting to crawl on my cot and wait it out, but it looks like it might outlast me. As I write this in a small, dirt-covered tent, I find myself periodically brushing off the piles of sand that continue to blow in on top of everything the storm can get it’s sand-filled fingers on.
The past few days have been a scramble as I figure out how the Army operates over here. The structure of the Air Force and Army is very different and it takes some getting used to. For the most part though, the Army treats the Air Force personnel very well. They understand we are filling their manning void and they work with us as we adjust to their style of operating.
For the almost 700 Soldiers here, there are only about half a dozen Airmen. There are a few Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen here and some Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (the guys that coordinate air strikes etc.).
Life on the FOB: To give you an idea of how things are here; we are all staying in 12-man tents. Typically 6-8 people live in each one. We all sleep on cots (which have not been nice to my back) and we each have about a 7 x 7 area to call “home.”
In a large white tent we have some of the best food you’ll find in this area. In fact, every Friday we get steak, shrimp and lobster. Which, for what we are doing out here, it’s a little taste of back home that we deserve. Internet is scarce. There are six computers which have access to sites like this, facebook and e-mail. Typically there is an hour or so wait to get 30 minutes of computer time to quickly type out a quick message home before you are booted off. It’s better than nothing and I’ve learned to quit complaining. Mainly because if I talk I get a mouthful of sand.
We have a decent gym. In fact, if Rocky 6 comes out, this gym would probably be in it. It’s basically a canopy with camo netting down the sides and all kinds of free weights. When the sand isn’t pelting us, there’s a two-mile dirt running track that circles the base, which several of us run in the evening.
Work: The rest of our time is spent doing our various jobs. Whether it’s going out on patrol, conducting a humanitarian mission or staying, “inside the wire,” we all work together towards freeing this country of the rising insurgency. I’ve been reading a book on this area and I’ll post some of the interesting facts I’ve learned about the people and this country. For one, this province has the largest opium production in the entire world.
Alright, I’m off to fend through this sandstorm. Keep in touch.