The Beds of an Embed

While I was embedded with the Agribusiness Development Team in Zabul Province, Afghanistan I was taken care of by the Minnesota National Guard.  My accommodations didn’t cost me a dime.  Every night I had a place to lay my head that was safe and secure.  My needs were met; I had a sleeping bag and a pillow donated to the cause by Delta Airlines, from there the each of the five bases I was at offered their own variations of comfort.

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD No. 1

KAF 1

THE GOOD – I was finally in Afghanistan, I had successfully met up with the ADT; my journey-of-a-lifetime was to begin

THE BAD – I didn’t have a good system yet for packing and unpacking; I didn’t have my essentials in ready-to-reach places

THE UGLY – I was in the bottom bunk.  LT Fischer was on the top bunk.  If either of us even thought about shifting or rolling over the bed emitted some of the most God-awful squeeks and creaks.

FOB APACHE

FOB Apache

THE GOOD – I had the privacy of having my own space; quite a luxury.  With room to spread out and a space to work this was Gucci.  4 stars.

THE BAD – Beginning to believe my decision not to bring a real pillow was a poor one.

THE UGLY – The air-handling system for the entire Alaska tent was essentially in this space.  The dull roar of the white noise machine, was loud, really loud.

FOB SMART

FOB Smart

I have an appreciation for anyone who’s relied on an Army cot to get some sleep

THE GOOD – I wasn’t sleeping on the ground, the bathroom was just steps away, I was only here for one night

THE BAD – The cot, because the braces at the head and foot weren’t secure, was about a foot too short for me.

THE UGLY – I’m a delicate flower; my back wasn’t pleased

FOB BULLARD

Shah Joy

My top bunk at FOB Bullard

THE GOOD – By this point in the trip I’ve learned to sleep anywhere and figured I could use my bag as a pillow, I’m getting smarter.

THE BAD – I was pretty sure my 36 year old, uncoordinated self would biff it climbing in or out of the bed.  Proud to report no blood was spilled; no ankles were turned.

THE UGLY – You know, my take is changing and I’m so wiped out that I don’t notice any noise of disturbances from the 12 other guys in the tent.

FOB VIPER

TWJ

Back to a cot

THE GOOD – back to some private quarters and I’ll embrace it as I’m set up in the ADT’s storeroom…oh yeah, I don’t know where LT Fischer found it, or who is stole it from but I had a full-sized pillow!

THE BAD – It was a small space and I spent a lot of time in it working and sleeping.  After awhile the walls started to feel close, too close.

THE UGLY – I’m beginning to feel really old.  The morning inventory of how I’m feeling is taking longer to complete.

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD NO. 2

Back to KAF

I’m on the top bunk; opposite side of the room as I was the first time through

THE GOOD – It’s my final night in Afghanistan.  As long as I wasn’t in a tent on the shores of Poo Pond I didn’t care where the hell I was.

THE BAD – Ready to stop living out of a bag; sincere need to wash clothes with something other than a bar of soap.

THE UGLY – Six men in a room can be an assault on the senses…all of them, but mostly the sense of smell.

Soldiers go through an awful lot.  They learn to live without; without couches, without their spouses, without their own spaces.  It’s all a big adjustment that they probably make during basic training, their weeks of drills, their years of previous deployments.  I’m fortunate that my time getting used to how they live was limited to two weeks.

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