It is the little characteristics that separate the camps. So it is not just that KIA is small. So small that you can stand in front of the MWR tent and see 3 of the 4 berms; so small that you can walk around all but the airfield in 15 minutes or less.
What really makes the difference (other than the fact that the DFACs have a vegetarian entree at all meals) is the presence of roads. KIA is an airport. It has roads, pavement, sidewalks, paved parking lots. Frankly, the only place there are any rocks at all is in the temp billeting area. It is such a pleasure to walk along and not feel the surface beneath your feet give, roll and trip you up. There is no dirt, no moon dust. Vehicles drivie past without raising clouds that choke you.
Walking along, you see service members from the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Czech Republic, Australia just to name a few. Head gear has just come back in style, but saluting is reserved to the 15 flag officers on post. The hospital is French, with an excellent reputation. I am continually running into people from previous assignments and life times (Germany, UK, US military meetings from decades ago).
Transient Billeting on the other hand – it sucks. There is only one “lady tent.” The Cipher lock on the door comes with both letters and numbers none of which are easy to read in the dark (or with holding the pocket torch in one’s teeth). The lock on the women’s ablution trailer is more of the same complete with a secret handshake that billeting failed to provide.
Since most of the other camps are within a few miles driving distance, convoys are coming and going all hours of the night. Crew comes in and collapses for some much needed rest. With bunks barely 18″ apart there is a lot of bumping and jostling going on. Having been so foolish as to take the only remaining lower bunk, my position next to the door assured me of little to no sleep.
Just as I drift off to sleep, a base wide exercise kicks in. We manage to ignore it for the first hour before getting rousted. An hour at the PAX terminal (put all the prisoners in a nice, harden target) led to a lot of nice conversations, but exhaustion had set in by the end. Since it was European run – it lasted exactly the amount of time it was scheduled. No minutes off for good behavior; no extensions to try anything again.
Figured you needed a balance in posts – rant yesterday – observations today and executing the good idea fairy tomorrow.