A sense of where ‘there’ is

When I get there what will I see?  When I get there where will I sleep?  How about eating?  When I get there how will I communicate?  Today, I’ve been exchanging e-mails with Lt Col Dan Bohmer and he has shed a lot of light on what I will experience when I’m ‘there’.  Dan has just started up his own blog; take some time to check out Ten and a Half Hours Ahead.

Last week I wrote about OPSEC.  I’m keeping OPSEC in mind as I write this.  When I’m in Afghanistan I’ll be splitting my time between three different bases.  Each base offers different amenities.  On one of them I will be able to plug my laptop into an Internet cable and should be able to upload photos to accompany my blog posts.  The two other bases have public-use Internet in the MWR tents (Morale, Welfare, Recreation); I’ll be able to communicate with the outside world, but will not be able to upload images or plug a flash drive into a USB slot.  I’ll use my Internet time to type blog posts that I’ll take the time to write with paper and pen.

Tent City, Kuwait

A shot of the tent city that is Ali Al Salem. The Afghan bases I'll be at are much smaller. (Global Security dot org)

My experiences in MWR’s is somewhat favorable.  In 2009 I experienced the MWR tents at Ali Al Salem in Kuwait and at COB Basra in Iraq.  Both of these bases were large, sprawling, and city-like.  The MWR tents at Ali Al Salem and Basra offered movies, Internet, video games, couches, etc.  At any one time there would be 50 soldiers watching a movie, 50 more on-line, 30 on phones and a bunch more playing video games.  Lt Col Bohmer said my MWR experience in Afghanistan won’t be like that.  I’m guessing everything (amenity-wise) in Afghanistan is on a much-smaller scale.

Seems like every day a few more puzzle pieces fall in place; soon-enough I’ll know what the whole picture looks like.  I leave in less than a month.

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