My father and mother emailed me some question so I’m going to answer them the best I can with pictures too.
“So far you sound like you are having a good visit. What kind of stuff are you learning?”
Bored soldiers are dangerous, a master sergeant told me. He also showed me some video tapes to clarify the lesson.
I have gotten a sense of how big and complicated this war is. Also by getting around three different bases i passed through – i have learned a bit about the scale of the operation- it is a massive operation.
2. “Where do you stay at night”,
In a tent that resembles a building, in Camp Charlie ( part of the larger Camp Basra) with the unit I’m embedded with , the 2228 th LANG MP’s. Within in the tent I have what the British called, my own Stone Henge ( they made the original set up here), the Americans call the bedding down area a tomb-see picture attached.
one must be careful not to bang their head on the steel plate about the bed.
3.”Where do you get food?”
The DFAC (dining facilities) . There are many choices, always at least one that is good. Some salad too. I have been told I will get bored fast, but i’m greatful to get prepared food daily and not have to bother with anything. The cooks are from India so there is always a curry dish. The coffee leaves something to be desired but one can buy the real stuff at shops on the base.
4.”What does the country look like? Green yellow or gray?”
From what I have seen it is sand colored with a concrete texture. Lots and lots of concrete. For protection. The sand, comes with the place. No green, yellow, but lots of gray.
5.”Now that you are meeting army people, how do you feel about them?”
Most seem like fun loving people. Very open and generous. Some I know from New Olreans from photographing them while they were at work on Task Force Gator. They are Louisiana National Guard- not army.
6. “Can you find simple things like tooth paste and camera parts.?”
Tooth paste yes, parts, i’d be hard pressed. I could by a new camera if it came to it.
7.”Besides learning things are you having a good time?”
I’m having a great time because I as you know I love to work and I can shoot to my hearts content.
8. “Will you be spending all your time in Basra? (Is it less dangerous than Baghdad?)”
Yes , I will be spending my time in Basra, it is much safer than Baghdad. I might make it to Bagdad too- i’ll keep you posted.
9. “Wash up/shower?”
I wash up and shower. The shower is in a trailer-you get 30 seconds of water to get wet. Then I lather up. Then I get 30 seconds to get the soap off. My hair wont be at its cleanest- but i do get the sand out.
There are stations to wash ones hands all about, so it is easy to stay clean. Also plenty of anti bacterial hand cleaner in pump jars all over the place.