Life outside the Wire
Tpr T. Pazkuski
7 Aug 2009
Recent operations found the majority of the squadron leave the confines of the FOB and stay outside the wire for five nights, causing me to come to the conclusion that camping out in Afghanistan is a whole lot different than in the Rocky Mountains.
Our first night was actually spent on a different FOB, so we had the chance to enjoy one last hot meal and the hospitality of the cooks there. That night also gave our supply of frozen water time to melt, and warm up…a trend that would continue over the next few days. By day five, the hot water didn’t taste too bad if you could find the right mix of Gatorade or iced tea crystals.
Soon after our departure, the heat of Afghanistan started to take its toll on everyone. While out, we all tried to find tricks to beat the heat, but nothing worked as well as good old-fashioned shade. We’d also found that even though we would be dripping wet with sweat, the heat would dry our clothes faster than we could perspire. I’m also sure that I had the worst stench coming off of my body I have ever had, however, so did everyone else, so it wasn’t really all that noticeable.
Sleeping under the stars can be very peaceful, and finally gave us the opportunity to cool off, wash up, and change clothes. Quickly, though, we found out that if you don’t sleep covered up, even though it’s still 35 degrees, you’ll awake covered in bites from sand flies and other mysterious insects.
By about the second day, I started to lose track of dates and time, with only one time stuck in my mind; when I was expecting to get back to the FOB. The trip back to Ma’sum Ghar took a bit longer than expected, with a few bumps along the way, however the amazing cooks here worked overtime to ensure hot chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots were waiting for us when we arrived just before sunset. I had also forgotten how cold water tasted, but my first one after the previous four days was comparable to my first cold beer. I took a bit of a longer shower than the recommended “Combat Shower” and used about a week’s worth of soap and shampoo. After a quick shave it was time to fall back on my mattress and crash out in my air conditioned bunker, allowing me to erase the memories of my Afghan camping trip from my mind.