I am in Afghanistan now. The base I am on is a zoo of activity. There are service members of every branch from every country all over the place. This base was not built with much of a plan in mind—people just found space and started building when they had funding. There is no designated area for vehicles or sleeping areas or aircraft space or chow halls. It’s all just one huge dusty hot noisy mess.
This place is crawling with civilian contractors as well from all different countries. Everywhere you look there are various vehicles from all over the world that have either been purchased from the locals or brought in on planes to act as shuttle services for people. I have to walk everywhere, as does everyone in my unit. We are only here in transit to a more remote area, and so we are basically the last to get anything and everything.
My entire company is packed into a tent that is not big enough for all of us. We have people stacked on top of each other on rickety rusty bunks and our gear is hanging off everything. We were told not to smoke near the tent as it is very flammable, and as a parting warning we were told to set up small poncho tents inside because the tent is not waterproof. Then it rained and everything got wet.
It’s okay though; it’s sunny and warm today so everything has dried out. Common cold and flu are a concern of the leadership. With this many soldiers packed into such tight quarters it’s going to become an issue. I personally have quite a head cold and am dealing with it using over-the-counter drugs I purchase at the PX here. Our medics have nothing to give us at this time; it was all shipped over in Conex boxes that haven’t arrived.
There is also a large water treatment “pond” near our area that stinks like sewage. I am glad we are going to be gone from here before the hot summer months. For now we are focusing on locating all our equipment that was shipped over and has gotten here, and trying to find contacts in units who are on their way out. We are not replacing any units in Afghanistan, only adding on to the numbers that are already here, so understanding the lessons learned from veteran units on their way home is an important part of our training before we begin our own missions.
We are trying to conduct physical training to keep our soldiers sharp for the fight ahead, but there is no space and most of the ground is covered in apple-sized rocks that will sprain your ankle in a heartbeat. This is a post written in about five minutes, but I hope it gives you a picture of what’s going on here.