Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Life on the FOB

FOB stands for "Foward Operating Base." These are essentially Coalition bases in Iraq. Some soldiers live and work here full time, like I do. For other soldiers, FOBs are the headquarters/service places that they may visit or pass through. For these soldiers, the FOB is a resting place, much more comfortable than the smaller Patrol Bases, which are out and among the populace. I have not been to a Patrol Base yet, but from what I've heard, life there can be pretty rough.

FOBs vary in character and size across Iraq, but the FOB where I live is one of a series of connected FOBs. Each FOB is like a town. In addition to the sometimes vast work and staging areas, there is a gas station, a place to eat (DFAC) a small general store (BX), a gym tent or two, a post office, a clinic, and a tiny coffee shop. As my officemate, who is a veteran of the first Gulf War says, "I'm not going to war without a latte ever again."

Living conditions are spartan, but you can usually count on a real bed, a hot shower, and a flushing toilet. The BX stocks necessities as well as a few comfort items. All in all, it's not a bad place to be. In many ways the FOB compares favorably to an aircraft carrier, starting with the food.

Here is a photo of my half of our third of a trailer, called my "hooch." As you can see, it ain't half bad. More room than on the ship for sure. (Note that the bed isn't stacked 2-3 high.) One of the lockers on the left is mine, and the other faces opposite, to my roommate's side. The nightstand makes it down right homey. Just out of the frame is a small desk which can accommodate my portable DVD player or Zune and mini speakers while I write home or read a magazine. The inflatable mattress and sleeping bag combo works well for me. The A/C died twice when power went out, but when it works, it works GOOD. The shower/latrine trailer is about a 90 sec walk away.

Here are some photos of typical FOB neighborhood. The hooches are behind the blast walls. Those white things are generators. The palm trees near my hooch are in some strange way a morale booster. Maybe I just like palm trees.

Thanks for your interest in this blog. It's humbling that so many folks out there are logging in to see what I have to say. I will endeavor to write entertaining and informative posts to keep you in touch with daily life over here, at least as I see it, so you know what life is like for your soldiers.


Anonymous said...

Please keep posting your impressions and observations. It's nice to get the view from the inside from someone who doesn't have a political ax to grind.

Uncle Sam's Air Force sent me to the Middle East, '69 to '71. It was a much safer place then.

Thanks for doing your part.

Bob, Maj, USAF, Ret

Col. John W. Burt said...

Aloha Gritty Kitty,
Enjoyed your comments about your travel training. Ours were a bit different headed for Viet Nam, but that was jungle. Thank you for your service. If there is anything I can help with just say the word and I'll try.
Col. John W. Burt

Lynn said...

Nice digs, Toonces......I gave your blog url to several people with other [young] family in the Middle East. They have expressed gratitude over getting another pov. You are awesome in the truest sense of an overused word!

PS: What's your current mailing address? Finally unearthed Christine's August missive under sewing machine paraphernalia. E-mail when you get a chance. Stay safe.