Military Life on FOB Viper in Afghanistan

When I think back on my time spent with the Minnesota National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team FOB Viper comes to mind.  This may be because it was the last of my 4 stops on a whirlwind tour of the southeastern province of Zabul, Afghanistan so it houses my freshest memories.

Viper was no different than Apache, Smart, or Bullard in that each of the Soldiers treated me very well.  Though I was: ‘the plus 1’, ‘the reporter’, ‘the tv guy’, I was welcomed and in no way dissuaded from doing the job I was there to do.

At Viper I learned about some of the outside stresses Soldiers face while on a deployment.  The Soldier who was waiting to hear from his wife back home regarding her ultrasound, the Soldiers waiting for decisions to be made that may, or may not, result in another transfer to a new base.  These outside forces are not that different from the forces challenging the way people in the non-profit and corporate worlds face.  However those of us not deployed 7,000 miles from home can work through daily stresses by talking things over with a significant other, or unwinding with a beer.

At FOB Viper Soldiers could only Skype with a spouse or sit down with a non-alcoholic Krombacher.  Neither would, I imagine, do the trick.  Many turned to exercise.  Lifting weights in the open-air gazeebo-like space or running the perimeter of the small base is a way Soldiers can lessen the frustrations of the day.