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2 Apr 2009
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COB Basra overview

I’ve been contacted by a few soldiers and contractors headed to Basra, so I wanted to take the opportunity of yesterday’s historic transition from UK to US forces, to refresh an overview of our happy home.

PX (store): We have a PX the size of a Dollar General store, or less. A bigger PX is being built late this summer.

Internet for individuals is sketchy at best right now. Sniper Hill might set something up. I personally have worked a deal with the local Internet Café to beam about 100K/sec to a shared office, where 5 of us are using it at $75 each right now.

CHUs (10x10 room)- still being brought in daily. Right now, the crowding on the COB has necessitated 3 people to a CHU for O4 and below. O5, like me, 2 to a CHU, if you get one at all. Tents is what most soldiers are in right now. For contractors, it will depend on where and who you work for as a contractor. They've got some CHU accommodations, typically with a roommate.

DFAC (Dining Facility): converted from UK to US today. There are some growing pains going on with this, but it’s getting better each meal.

MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation): we used to have a tent with movies, games, phones to call home, and free computer use. It went bye-bye mid-March for the sake of bedspace. AT&T has just set up a trailer near DFAC IV, and in the next few months, an entire DFAC is going to be converted to an MWR and Gym. We get USO/MWR sponsored celebrity visits about twice a month. A comedian group and rock band are both on this month’s schedule.

Mail: Mail arrives 3 times a week. In May, we’re preparing for daily shipments. The Stars and Stripes newspaper comes with it, generally about a week old.

Flights: both helo and fixed wing serve Basra pretty regularly. Space-A is the norm. Going anywhere usually averages taking 3 days, even though it's a 1-2 hour flight.

Force protection: I won't say specifics, but suffice it to say we're doing a lot better than one year ago during the surge and battle of Basra. Still, Basra is the 2nd largest city in Iraq, with a population between 1.4 and 2.2 million, by various reports.

 
ACI , Army Deployment , Family , General
posted by  henry at  11:16 | trackbacks [0]