Showing 72 posts tagged combat zone
For anyone who has expended a chunk of their lives in a combat zone, especially those who spent a majority of the time at a COP, patrol base, or even a JSS, a part of you gets left behind within the walls. When we first got to what would later become JSS Comanche, there was a river of sewage blocking the front door to the building to welcome us in to our new living space. The only way to step over it was with the ramp from the armored vehicles that transported us while ours were en route from Kuwait. It was an empty shell of a building as life within was minimal and the small platoon that did exist was constantly flowing in and out.
Patrol Base Texas, and the Iraqi Army Station
©Andrew W. Nunn ”A dust storm rolls over Sadr City, Iraq, as seen from the northwest corner of Patrol Base Texas.”
JSS Sadr City
We slept on the floor for the first few weeks but to tell the truth, I didn’t expect much when it came to sleeping arrangements. Everything was cluttered; tables and chairs from everywhere was consolidated into rooms we needed, the rooms themselves were small and had build in shelving that needed to be knocked out and carried down. Hell, the windows still needed to be bricked up and towers and walls needed to be added to the motor pool area and around the building itself as we were extremely exposed.
When you put so much time and energy into a project like that, it doesn’t just become yours, it becomes you. In the end, the place had every amenity that could have been asked for: Beds, showers, two gyms, a kitchen (with cooks) and even an Internet center. Everyone’s collective living spaces all packed into one. It wasn’t much, but it was home. The evidence of which lay in the solemn faces of everyone as we were leaving and getting ready to head back to Germany. It was the most awkward feeling of loss that one can have, when you think about it. I mean, we were going home home, back to our families and to a place that doesn’t stink like cow shit and ball sweat; yet, the time and energy left behind in that place was now falling behind us, forever.
Sometimes, on hot summer days, I wonder what it looks like now. Occasionally I check Google Maps to see whether the civilians have taken it back and remodeled it back to the way it was before we came. When I think about all the other people who spent time in theatre, I wonder what type of a gap was left when they left their temporary homes.