Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Camp Leatherneck one week

Well here we are. My duty station is Camp Leatherneck, located in southern Kandahar province, Afghanistan. It is a desert environment, and it is HOT HOT HOT. 43 degrees Celsius, 130 degrees Fahrenheit. DUSTY, you ain't seen such dust. At least the place is quiet, there is virtually no combat here, and no hostile attacks on the camp.

The base is laid out in a grid pattern, and the streets are numbered 1,2,3, etc. and the cross streets are lettered A,B,C etc. My first day here, one of my porcelain crowns snapped off,and I went to the dentist, and he refused to re-cement the crown back on, there was not enough tooth, to anchor it properly. So I will have to get bay with one missing crown until I can relocate back to the USA.

I have been assigned to a CHU (containerized housing unit), which is a trailer. Just four walls and a roof, no bathroom, There is a porta-john about 25 yards out the door. And the shower house is 100 yards down range. My mattress is a train wreck, wires pressing in my back all night. The food here is excellent, much better than the European fare at Kandahar (my last duty station).

There is one Prince Hall lodge here, and I cannot meet with them. I hate the fact that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky has not yet recognized Prince Hall Masonry. I know they will some day, but I will be out of Afghanistan by then. I am considering starting a "Square and Compasses" club, so that we can have informal Masonic fellowship. That will probably piss some people off as well.

I work as a computer help-desk technician. I assist people in getting their internet accounts, and when they are locked off, I get them back on again. The office is small, and there is not enough room for all of us. Fortunately, I get one day off a week, it is Wednesday. I have been working 7 days a week, for most of my time in Afghanistan.

I spent four months between my last position and this one. I do not enjoy unemployment, but I did enjoy the break. I like normal living, eating when I choose, and cooking my own meals. I enjoy setting my own hours too. But, I also enjoy working, and when there is work overseas, I am there.

I am feeling the effects of age. I have been working in Afghanistan and Iraq for 7 1/2 years, and I am 57. Face it, I am just not as young as I used to be. But I am in reasonably good health, and I am cancer-free. I had a prostate needle biopsy in June, and it was 100% free of any abnormalities. Just that the test is rough. Not as rough as the needle biopsy I had two years ago. At least this time, the doctor used an anesthetic, and the needle sticks up my bung-hole were not as painful.

I am doing work, that I have never done before. Such is war, men are pushed into careers, where they had no training or background in the past. This is a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills. The men and women at the help desk all appear to be fine, so far. Young marines, just out of high school, then pressed into the Afghan desert, before their pimples cleared up.

This is the worst case of jet-lag I have ever had. I am woozy at work, and then when I am off, I go to the chow hall, and eat the food. Then I ride the bus back to the trailer, and then peel off my clothes, and crawl right into the rack. I pass out, and then I wake up at midnight, unable to get back to sleep. I try to sleep, but then I wake up at 0700, and then go to the shower house. Then I ride the bus to the chow hall, and the office is right next door. Then I go to work, and I am woozy again. You normally need about one day per time zone, to get over the jet-lag.

The summer is passing, and the cool weather will be here soon, and I say not soon enough. I cannot understand what this country is worth, and why our combat forces are here, but I am just an electronics man, and I do not make foreign policy.

4 comments:

Bro. Andrew Horn said...

Brother - Here is a link to factual information that shocked me:

http://www.thedebate.org/thedebate/afghanistan.asp


anyhow I put a link to your great blog on my links page.

Fraternally,
Drew

The Hindu Kush Diary said...

Hi Charles,

Are you still on Leatherneck? I will be heading there in a few weeks after a stop at CRC for training and processing.
I've enjoyed reading your blog and hope we get a chance to meet.

Rob Freeman

Charles E. Martin said...

I am back in the USA for training. I will return to AFGH soon, but I do not yet have my assignment.

ZephyrNewYork said...

Charles,

Do you have any contact info for lodges aboard Camp Leatherneck or Camp Bastion?

By the way, Leatherneck is in Helmand province... Thanks for your blog.