Friday, May 29, 2009

Moving Day!!.....Er, no!

Well, the current exciting news here at FOB Shank is that we will be moving into the new Alaskan tents with individual rooms, but not yet. That is right, we have almost moved into those tents like 3 times now, but they always find a way to stop us. Currently the reason is that the outlets in the tents are not safe to use if you are going to be taking a shower and or cooking near them. Fortunately, no one will be showering or cooking near them. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop the "need" for GFCI outlets (think the outlets in bathrooms near sinks). Of course this rule appears to be grandfather claused, or in this case grandmother claused, as the females, who are already living in these tents, will be allowed to remain in them despite the lack of GFCI breakers.

The worst thing about this is that apparently, no one seemed to realize that these GFCI breakers/outlets would be needed until just now, after the tents have all been setup and after the week delay on the generators. I can only hope that whoever is in charge of this has already ordered the needed parts and that there are no other missing pieces. The wait for semi-private space continues...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting Ready

When we finally arrived at FOB Shank, after a week long detour to Bagram, which required us to move twice, we all pulled together to get our office ready. This included the 3-person PI team to mount our Comanchero sign (I was taking the photo, that still counts as helping). Our resident carpenter, Joe, immediately set to work building two offices, desks, and cabinets.

As you can see everyone stayed busy helping out; either that or this is one of the times I said, "Hey, everyone look busy so I can take a picture!"

Despite seeing less foilage per square mile than almost anywhere else I've been on earth, we had plenty of wood to finish up the office.

One of our PCs (pilots in command), Gene is teaching one of our young PIs, Doug about carpentry. Actually I think they were teaching each other because I have never seen any two people be so proud of a printer stand that they built.

Though we quickly accomplished quite a bit during the first few days here, the CP (our little office building) is still a work in progress. We have since added a pantry for all of the food we smuggle out of the mess hall, which is next to the refrigerator which we fill with all the sodas and juices we can smuggle out of the mess hall. There is even talk of constructing a small building adjacent to this one for use as a rec room for X-Box, TV, and maybe even a ping pong table.


That is right, while on Medevac chase at Shank (which only lasted a couple of days), one of the crew chiefs received a package full of s'mores ingredients. I must admit that I would not have thought that I would be eating s'mores in Afghanistan, and in front of a real fire as well. It almost made me feel like I was camping...almost.

New Home

Here is a panoramic of the overflow parking of my new home, FOB Shank, and from on top of a Blackhawk nonetheless! Although there is some rock down in some parts, there is still quite a bit uncovered and the ground is covered in a fine silt which loves to pickup when there is any small amount of wind. As you can see, a little wind can turn this place into a wasteland. It is still very much a work in progress. Construction goes on day after day as they finish putting up tents and completing the airfield. I think Shank will be quite the place once everything is finished. Finishing however, could take quite a bit of time so now we just have to deal with the growing pains.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

FOB Shank

When we arrived in country, we knew that we would eventually be moving from Kandahar to a newly expanded Forward Operating Base, (FOB), Shank. We were supposed to be here by the end of April, but constant delays in preparing this place for an aviation task force have pushed the date around. We left Kandahar near the end of April, but to go to Bagram instead of Shank because of a lack of water, bathing facilities, food, etc... We spent about a week in Bagram before getting a last minute (11 PM the night prior) notification that we would be leaving.

FOB Shank is pretty big, and there is a lot of construction going on. As they finish getting the runway and parking pads ready, we look forward to getting electricity and insulation in our tents, warm showers, and eventually food that hasn't been trucked in from elsewhere. We should be getting the satellite internet systems in any day now, (the ones I spent so much time studying up on to choose), and hopefully the internet information I have looked into will allow me to set the three systems up without the help of a contractor, (approximately $400 install per system), and get internet to everyone in our company.

Now that we are more or less (less is more accurate) settled in, I will try to start up regular posts again, with photos to follow soon.