Friday, August 26, 2011

Two weeks here


Life at Camp Leatherneck is about what I expected. I work 9am to 7pm 6 days a week. I will get Wednesdays off. At my last base I worked 7pm to 7am 7 days a week, with no days off! The food here is light-years ahead of the slop they served up at Kandahar. Here is a USA food service provider, and they have Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream 7 days a week, lunch and dinner (Hoo-Ray).


I live in a trailer, but I do not spend much time there, except to sleep. I get up at 0700am, and walk to the shower house. The shower house is VERY clean, spotless, and modern. The water is VERY hot, so I can get a hot shower every day. Then I walk back to the trailer, and get dressed. There is a dress code here, the Marines could care less what I wear, but the firm requires long pants, and the shirt must have a collar. I catch the bus from the trailer camp, and ride to the chow hall. After a breakfast, I walk to the office. I prefer not to get lunch, and supper is served at 5pm. Then I walk back to the office, and I am off at 7pm. Then I ride back to the trailer camp, and go to the trailer, and peel off my clothes, and crawl into the rack. There is some background noise, due to the generators, and the air conditioners. The porta-john is about 50 yards from the door. I go to sleep, and then get up at 0700am the next morning. Same every day, like the film “Ground Hog Day”.



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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Leatherneck for a week

I had an interesting last two weeks. I drove to Columbus Georgia, and took the CRC school, which is required for all deployees for the sixth (6th) time. I drove back to Atlanta, and then flew up to WashDC to catch the flight to Kuwait. I got on the airplane at Dulles field, and fortunately, there was no surcharge for my luggage. The flight took off at 6pm, and we flew up the East Coast. They served one of those low-grade meals, three beef nuggets the size of your thumb, in curry sauce, and a serving of rice. I wanted to watch a movie, but I was fast asleep, before we left the Canadian coast. I woke up just as they were serving the sandwiches, prior to landing. We arrived at Kuwait, and it was 120 degrees. I cleared customs, and got my entry visa for Kuwait. I then went into the main airport area. It is Ramadan, when all muslims must fast during the day. So all of the restaurants were closed in the airport. I then caught a bus to Ali Al Saleem airport, which takes one hour from the airport to the base.
I got my luggage, and then I turned in my passport for the Kuwait exit visa. I got to a tent, and crawled right into the rack.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

in Kuwait

I am in Kuwait. It is 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It is RAMADAN so it is forbidden to drink water (where a Muslim can see you). This is a HOT country.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I accepted a job offer, from a major defense contractor. I have been on the payroll for some weeks. I don't like to announce jobs, until I am actually getting on the plane.

I am being posted to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. I will fly out of Washington DC airport, on Sunday.

I am grateful that so many people enjoy my blog. I enjoy keeping it. I am looking forward to another excellent adventure. I have been working in SouthWest Asia for 7 (seven) years. Tally Ho.