The latrines are a la Vietnam... yes, they still have the barrels, and yes, someone has to be the "burner."
The KOP is pretty much unreachable by road. There is a road, but it is narrow, rough, windy and prone to be mined with IED's or ambushed with RPG, PKU and AK47 fire by the bad guys. So most supplies are air-dropped by C-130 aircraft. Not all the drops go according to plan however; sometimes supplies go wide of the DZ ("drop zone") by several hundred meters, falling between the deep fingers of the mountain valley, where the combination of distance, terrain and risk of enemy ambush renders them "unrecoverable."
The food is predictable, unchanging. The cook makes do with the supplies that have been provided. One "hot" meal consists of 2 dishes, prepared in a MKT (Mobile Kitchen Trailer) - an egg concoction and diced potatoes with shredded turkey-bacon as well as turkey-link sausages. MRE's are favored over the "hot" -- at least there is some variety offered in a case of the MRE's.
Battalion and Division HQ's are concerned, and are working hard to improve conditions for the troops. To be fair to the higher-ups, this IS a remote potpost in every sense of the word.
So the troops go with little sleep, constantly patrolling with almost daily contact with the enemy. "Short patrols" inadvertently stretch for hours because of this, so the troops get what shut-eye they can, when they can.
The KOP is hot, dirty and dangerous. The troops live in extremely spartan conditions, in continuous contact with the enemy... and it's amazing how they conduct themselves in the face of all the difficulties they face daily.
They could use some support: entertainment to help relieve the stress and boredom between missions, such as portable DVD players and MP3 players; as well as something to supplement their rations, such as boxed prepared meals (macaroni and cheese, etc.), tuna fish, chili, peanut butter, jelly... just about anything that is non-perishable.
Believe me, your help and generosity would go a long way in helping these great Americans. Thay deserve it more than you will possibly know.
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