Life on the Front Line

Almost two weeks here at FOB Hunter. As we were preparing to come here we heard a lot of horror stories about the conditions here.
No air conditioning.
There’s air conditioning but the electricity goes out for hours and some times days at a time.
There are no showers.
The bugs will eat you alive.
You have to do you laundry in a bucket.
Some of this was true, most of it not. When we got here there was air conditioning. Electricity has never gone out since we’ve been here. There are bugs but they aren’t as bad as I had expected. I don’t get bit at all. A couple of the other team members do. Small, biting flies that they call sand flies. It is dirty and dusty.
The living spaces are crowded. We have ten men in a space that is approximately 30′ X 20′. There are six bunk beds in the room so at some point we might be looking at twelve in the room. That would really suck given that there’s hardly any room now. Not really enough room for ten guys and all their gear and team equipment. Hopefully, as the FOB develops we’ll get a little more room. But, for now, living is pretty cramped.
There are showers. Some times warm water even comes out of them. It did take me a few days to discover them however. The shower tent is a couple hundred yards away and not readily obvious. Showers in the shower tent are small and the water is one temperature. You can’t adjust it. It is warm, which is nice. Then there is a small structure outside our living area which also houses showers. These showers are fed from a tank that needs to be filled by the water truck. The hot water system has been problematic to the point that showers are either cold or scalding hot. It is getting better. The tank often runs out of water as well. The upshot is, one can get a shower here but it does require a certain amount of determination. Some guys stink.
Laundry service began today. I am proud to say that I did not wash any clothes in a bucket. Others on my team might wish I had done a load or two. At any rate, we can now turn in our dirty clothes and pick them up clean and smelling fresh 24 to 48 hours later. That’s pretty cool. For quite a few of us, the opening of the laundry service is a pretty exciting thing. I’m pretty excited about it. I like clean clothes and I don’t like bucket washing.
Hot food is served twice day. It’s not great, they definitely wouldn’t win any prizes for the cuisine but I’ve always come away full and the folks that work there put a lot of effort into making sure we have a lot of choices. Beats the hell out of MREs. There’s a pretty decent gym that offers free weights and a couple of machines. I need to go there some time. The Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent has internet and telephones. I have finally figured out a way to post to my blog from those MWR Internet computers. Yeah!
At the present, that is pretty much the extent of the amenities offered at Club Hunter. There are promises of a PX, a barber, Internet in our room but they haven’t show up yet. We get mail about once a week or so which, given the lack of a PX is pretty important. Care packages are the source of a lot of much needed necessities. All in all, life here on FOB Hunter isn’t bad. Boredom is the biggest problem, especially given that it breeds complacency. And complacency kills soldiers. Fortunately, my team is out on missions most every day. There’s work to keep us busy.

2 thoughts on “Life on the Front Line

  1. Hi, Smittie – Enjoying reading how life is treating you in the middle of nowhere. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences, and hang in there, my friend.

  2. My son is one of the first soldiers to arrive there and the things you stated you heard were true according to the first soldiers to arrive. I am very happy that condiitons have improved vastly there and wish you guys to all come home safely.

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