Friday, March 20, 2009
ISAF is probably the nicest base in Afghanistan. As a NATO command, it is international. I especially appreciate the array of menu selections. Lamb chops with mint sauce, pasta and pesto, and grilled salmon are all at ISAF. But this base was originally built for 800 people, and now there are more than 1500 permanent residents. This causes some logistical nightmares and severe crowding.
I have been here for two months, and only now have I moved into my permanent room. I no longer have Italian roommates, but I have more space and a real place to call “home.” In a future post, I will profile my new living arrangements, but for now, I want to tell you a quick story about my friend Jamey, who came to visit for a day, but is now stranded because his helicopter was cancelled.
Jamey has now been here for three days, and has had four different rooms. Now he is in a tent, probably a more permanent location—for now! Because rooms keep filling up so fast for permanent residents, transient soldiers like Jamey are forced to play a game of musical rooms.
Life on deployment is full of ups and downs, and we certainly do not have all the conveniences we are used to in the U.S. But the staff here at ISAF does its best to fix or improve challenging situations. For that we are thankful. Just a few years ago, the thought of eating hot meals and living in hard buildings in a combat zone was pure fantasy for most of us here. Now it's a daily reality. For me, serving our country is not about the money or the perks, but to help protect the national security interests of the United States.