Then and Now
By Tpr R Cook
14 August 2009
Since October 2006, when B squadron LdSH (RC) first deployed to Kandahar Afghanistan, there have been many changes. From 2007, when I was first deployed here to present time, welfare items such as phones, computers, and living conditions have made it significantly better for down time when we have it. I first arrived with A Sqn 3 troop at the FOB to replace B Sqn in February 2007, looking back now at that time, I realize how small this place once was. The living quarters that we moved into when B Sqn left were nothing more than two sections of mod tent on a very comfortable gravel floor. The common area was one small section between the two troops that barely fit one six foot table to play cards. The fridge that we had for keeping our water and beverages cold was around 1.8 cubic feet for 16 guys, not the most convenient set up. Usually the only way to get frozen water was to keep some boxes of it in the cook’s freezer. One of the most uncomfortable parts of the living quarters was the lack of air conditioners in 45 degree heat. Having no A/C for the first 3 months of the tour made our troop improvise, so we rolled the back of the mod tent up during the day for maximum airflow. Welfare items such as phones and computers barely existed. Split between the Sqn was one phone and one and a half computers (one computer wasn’t in the best working condition). The computer station consisted of a table with a cardboard divider between the two laptops. The kitchen consisted of one kitchen trailer section that was open once every three days for hot meals. The seating plan for eating our meals was great because we had a lot of room choosing a great place to sit on the gravel in front of the kitchen trailer. As my tour came to an end, in September 2007, bunkers were finally ready for our troop to move into after moving for the third time. Frequent meals and a shaded place to eat came as well, things progressed nicely for the tankers at the FOB.
In early June 2009, I returned to the FOB to join 2 Troop C Sqn. As soon as I arrived, I noticed how big it had grown since 2007. The first place I went to was the new living quarters to see where I was staying. The bunkers are a nice place to live with mattresses on the cots, flooring and best of all - the two A/C units pumping cold air. The common area out back of the bunker is a nice place to relax after a long day of doing track pads. Being able to sit down and relax on some improvised furniture made out of pallets is always nice. Watching the Stanley cup game or playing rock band on the 42” flat screen is a nice treat as well. Keeping water frozen couldn’t be easier either with the troops sharing two deep freezers which are out in front of the bunkers, no more bothering the cooks to store water. Welfare items like phone and computers have changed considerably as well since 2007. The Sqn now has 8 phones and 8 welfare computers to share along with a wireless system for our laptops. Having welfare items like this makes it easier to keep in touch with family. The food has changed considerably as well, both in seating and frequency of meals. The kitchen can easily accommodate everyone on the FOB and has four A/Cs; so no more sweating while eating. Since 2007 the FOB that tankers stay at has changed a lot. Having a nice place to sleep and nice welfare items makes a big difference when so far away form home. When you’re in Afghanistan and you can still watch UFC and hockey you’re not doing too bad.