Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Camp CupCake Afghanistan

April 28th, 2008 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

old Russian tank
Dear Gang,
What is it like going into Afghanistan? Well, I remember landing under sniper fire, there was suppose to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. OK, that’s not really how my trip on the C-17 went, that experience belongs to the imagination of someone else running for national office. My trip into “Camp Cupcake” was more routine and very relaxed.

Afghanistan reminds me of Denver, the snow capped mountains in the background along with the high altitude of over five thousand feet. It gets a bit hot in the afternoon with blowing dust but the evenings are really nice at Bagram around 4pm. There has been a little bit of action the past couple of days and they delayed my trip to my next base, but I don’t mind, I can catch up on some needed sleep and rest up for the deep end that I’m about to jump into.

Well, what is it like here at Camp Cupcake? This base cracks me up, not to make fun of my Army and Air Force brothers but what is it about wearing PT gear 24/7? They show up to chow in it, shop at the PX in it and it is the goofiest thing to see a guy with a pistol strapped to his leg in his little blue workout shorts. It must also drive our Muslim brothers crazy as they see these gals walking around half naked in their eyes.

The base requires that they wear a reflective “Disco belt” at all times, some do, some don’t. I guess to keep from getting hit at night by a car which makes sense, but during the day too? I mean, who ever went out of their way to run someone down with a vehicle? Since that is not part of the Marine Uniform, we don’t comply, hell we only wear PT gear to workout in and our uniforms the rest of the time. They have to wear the belt at the gym to ensure that a Humvee won’t run over the hard chargers on the cross trainer.
Daytime Disco Belts

We really have gone to war here and garrison has broken out after five years. The other crazy thing here is saluting. Boy it’s tough just walking down street because both branches salute Officer’s whether they are wearing PT gear or a uniform. I’m not so worried about getting blown up here; it’s coming back with a broken chicken wing from all the saluting. I switched over to my brown “Onezy” as the Corporal in this office calls my flight suit, and then I can walk around incognito. See, the Navy and Air Force wear their rank on their shoulders and Marines don’t. The Army has it on their caps and right on their chest, so confusing for these guys. They can’t see my rank on my name patch until they are right on top of me and then they don’t know what to do and some snap a salute while the others are walking away scratching their head “Was that an Officer? Were we supposed to salute him?”
PT gear

They have everything here at this base, I mean I went for a haircut in the PX square and they have a spa/saloon. You have to make an appointment for a massage, or to get your nails done, about a day out. I was thinking about a pedicure but not sure if the gals can handle my nasty toes. When I finally got into the chair, she asked me if I wanted my hair shampooed. “What?” my head looks like a boot camp rookie with just some hair on the front and she wants to shampoo what? My stubble? You can also eat Burger King, DQ and Green Bean coffee. I know why all the gunfighters come back here for R and R since there is a ton of stuff and the safety of a big base.

Now they still have tons of land mines left over from the old Russians days, so you don’t go wondering off to look at the cool old Russian junk out in the field. This is the second most heavily mined country in the world they tell me, so stay on the road. We did find some old hulks pulled inside the wire. I have to say that this wouldn’t be a bad place to be stationed for a year as long as I don’t have to wear that disco belt day and night. Hope you all are doing well and talk to you soon.
Semper Fi,