The weather is starting to change here and it is a lot cooler that it was 3 weeks ago. For most of us, there is not much vegetation and everyone says that in the coming weeks the rain will turn everything to mud. Of course mud is one of the all time favorites of soldier as it gives them something to talk about.
Things to note...there is security everywhere on the base and quite different from VN, and for the most part there are no exceptions. An example...back packs are not allowed in the dining halls because sometime back an Iraqi National snuck in a bomb in one and killed a lot of American at a different base. The food over the past week has been good but it is not fair asking a wrestler as most things that are warm pass for me. On Fridays they have Surf and turf...a couple of the guys said they have had more lobster in the 6 months that they have here than in their entire life. Food is a big deal to a soldier so you have to give the Army a plus on it.
Everything here is contracted out, and I mean everything, just to name a few, laundry, food service, the hauling supplies, latrine service, and vehicles to get around the base. Where we had jeeps, etc. there are now nothing but NTV (non tactical vehicle) and they even have the service plan for the maintenance to keep it up contracted out.
They have a place here called the Oasis that is like the market place in town. Soldiers are not allowed to go into town so they have brought the town and the things that they have to sell to the soldiers. Trinkets, rugs (they are big on rugs, no Honey I did not buy one), brass ornaments, local food....I sampled it and some of it is pretty good. And the best of all, Camel rides.
I went to get a picture taken with the ugly beast and it kept trying to bite me. Do you know how hard it is to get a picture taken when your one eye is on the camel and you are continually ducking? Do not trust a camel.
Probably the longest day that I have had since I've been here. I told Chapin Morris to fill them up and they did. Life starts easy here, up at 545 and then did a prayer breakfast with about 20, then spoke to 4 groups till noon. Went to the market (on base), then went and spoke to the aviation company that is here. A neat group of people, very down to earth and from the NW part of the country. The Captain of the company was a 2X Intensive camper from the camps put on out west and it was fun talking to him about his experience. He gave me a flight suit and a coin and patch from his company.
I have no idea where it started but all units have these coins (see above) with their crest, some battles the unit has fought, mottos, saying, etc. They give these coins away to people to represent their unit so they will remember their unit. Some are pretty neat so Chaplin Morris suggested we put them in a frame so you'll see them when I return.
Got a briefing from the Mayor in the afternoon this is what they call the CO (commanding Officer of the base) showing all the base security. Very different from what I know of it, but they have very different security concerns. Their threat assessment is completely different from Vietnam and they do some pretty cool thing which I probably should not talk about over the internet. They have a threat assessment protocol that they must go though before they can use their weapon.
The time has gone very fast here and am leaving to head south this evening to another COB (combined operating base) (thought Sue would appreciate the letters) as I wind my way back to Kuwait. The Blackhawks that will take us always fly in pairs so we are heading out sometime after dark. Should be fun as the CO of the Aviation Company is going to put a NVD (night visions devise) on board so I see what the country side looks like with modern technology. Fun stuff huh?
So that about does it for the day. Hope the insight helps you get a better idea what it is like here....So from Salty Dog 6 (that is my call sign here, better known in the states to truckers as your handle on the CB) I'm out of here. Salty Dog 6 has left the building
Salty Dog 6