Thursday, July 24, 2008
A Little About the Post
Having lived on Camp Liberty for the past week, I've become more familiar with my surroundings and overall life on this military installation I call home. Camp Liberty is actually part of the larger installation surrounding Baghdad International Airport, what many refer to as "The Green Zone." There are several other camps within a short drive of each other, including Camp Victory, home of the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison. If you remember back to the beginning of the invasion, one of Saddam's Palaces was seized and used as a operations center for Coalition Forces. I've driven by it a few times and the pond that surrounds it provides a hint of relaxation before entering what I call "Constructionland." The only way that I can describe this area without showing you pictures is by comparing it to a huge construction site. There are portable trailers everywhere, with all kinds of construction vehicles parked in front of them, or consolidated into motor pools (like the one I work at!). There are barriers of all shapes and sizes separating living quarters from work buildings, or along roads that lead to other parts of the post. The biggest buildings here are the Dining Facility (DFAC) and the Post Exchange (PX), which is the military's version of a Walmart, of course without the lawn and garden, or the savings!There are civilian vehicles, mostly trucks, used by both military personnel and contractors. It just so happens that I share a Ford F350 with my Squadron Maintenance Technician, Chief (you'll learn more about him later). Although I wouldn't be caught dead driving it back in the states, $.06 for a gallon of gas makes it a useful vehicles on these all dirt roads. Pretty much anything that's not a road has gravel on it. My calf muscles have never gotten this tough of a workout! Oddly enough, dirt is more common than sand, and coupled with the wind, being outside without sunglasses or eye protection can spell disaster. Trucks drive around all day, watering the roads in an attempt to suppress the occasional face full of dirt.All in all, it's not a difficult landscape to adapt to, but it's definitely not the beautiful green mountains that I'm used to back home. Sometimes, I close my eyes and visualize hiking up in the Smokies on a cool, foggy morning when the sun's rays fight their way through the trees and down onto your face. I look forward to experiencing that again sometime.Take care.