My War Journals: The FOB (Sept 06)

As of late, things have simmered down a little in our area of operation. When things simmer down, men finally have time to get some well-deserved rest. We still do our patrols as scheduled, but when we get back to the barracks, we fall quickly into the forward operating base life. What you do during downtime is up to each soldier. The popular thing to do is sleep.

Doing patrols at different times during the day and night, your body’s sleeping patterns become increasingly complicated. Sometimes you will walk around at 3:30 a.m. and see dudes just playing cards, reading or on the phone talking to loved ones. It is common to see men on their way to the gym at 2 a.m., simulating their daily movements and activities. Now, on the other hand, you won’t see me doing anything.

This is not to say that I am lazy; it is just when I get back from a patrol, regardless of what time it is, I take a shower and head right to sleep. It doesn’t pay to be 30 years old playing an 18-year-old’s game.

This FOB has just enough amenities to make life livable — especially compared to our last tour where we lived in the middle of the city where the only real facilities that we had was a computer center. Here at FOB Falcon, we have computer centers in our barracks as well as phone centers. The chow hall is standard Army. Nothing lavish, just food, tables, and some televisions that are seemingly always on Fox News and occasionally a basketball or baseball game. As I said before, there is the weight room, where you can get some good frustration out. There is an MWR tent; I have never gone to it — no time, and I’m not really interested.

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How could I possibly forget the most import amenity that FOB Falcon has to offer — the wonderful PX. Without this PX, some of us would be hating life. Shopping at the PX is sometimes the closest thing to home.
The employees who work at the PX are primarily all attractive women, so the single men are often residents of the PX. There is a saying, “If you can’t find beauty outside the wire, just go to the PX.”

Just like at home when you get your clothes dirty you need someone to wash it, and since your loved one is not there to lend a hand, as usual, a trip to the local Laundromat is required. The laundry plays an essential part in our FOB life. When you go on missions back-to-back, and you have no time to get your clothes washed you just pray for time to get to the laundry. I have been a victim of having to wear one uniform for almost a week, because I just did not have time, or I just did not have the energy to push across the desert. The remarkable thing is that the laundry is the two-day turnaround.

Last but not least is the infamous miniature golf course. Not once have I seen someone play on the course. The course has nine holes. If you have ever been to a low budget miniature golf course, this may rate number one on the list. The engineers had some extra time on their hands, so they conjured up a golf course in a matter of minutes; I guess it’s the thought that counts.

As for the platoon, things are going as usual. Every day brings something new, sometimes good and sometimes just plain irritating. In my opinion, the men around me have been doing well, growing stronger, and building good, well-balanced friendships. With every deployment, you will have your family feuds, but you cannot be mad too long, because at any given time you could be putting your life on the line for that man. Well, there is not much else to write about, so I will leave you with this: