I left the comforts of FOB Apache for the spartan, but peaceful Combat Outpost Mizan today. I will be here for a few days on a coordination site visit; working with the Soldiers that live here full-time to determine how our unit can best support the mission in Zabul Province.
COP Mizan is a small base in the Mizan District of Zabul. It is nestled in a mountain valley, next to the District Center. The Afghan National Police (ANP) compound is right outside the wall and the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers share the base with the US forces. Although the base is shared, the ANA live on one half, the US Soldiers on the other with separate dining, shower, toilet, etc. facilities.
Being small and remote, it has few of the amenities found other places, but it does have a little bit of everything to keep life comfortable. There are several computers, with internet and a couple of phones that can call back to the states for pretty cheap. They have a small, but ok gym and a little rec center (MWR) with video games. The DFAC (dining facility) is a hard building with AC. I am sleeping in a tent without…well, technically it has an AC unit, it just doesn’t work. It is pretty hot & stuffy, but it will do. I have a cot & sleeping bag & I am in out of the weather, so I won’t complain…much.
The bathrooms…hmmm, that can be a whole new post. The urinals are in an open ‘shed’ (it has a roof & partial walls) but it is not hooked up to water – the drain pipes go into the ground. The crapper is a six-hole (maybe 5 – I didn’t count) outhouse with burn barrels for the waste. There is running water in the shower trailer, but water is scarce, so they use an every 4-day shower cycle.
But despite that, I like it here. It is peaceful (most of the time). I arrived about 0730 this morning, dumped my gear into the tent and took a little walk about. There is a family compound very close by and a good-sized village just across the river bed (mostly dried up now). The only sounds I could hear once I moved away from the generators were the sounds of kids playing. It struck me how kids playing in Afghanistan sound just like kids playing in Minnesota. It really made me miss the sounds of my own kids playing. Then I felt sad because I thought of all the times in my life that I didn’t appreciate how awesome it is to hear the sounds of my kids…
This is my second visit to COP Mizan. I was here in December and a number of the pictures found in my earlier posts are from this area. I will post a picture gallery tonight or tomorrow with new pictures from this visit. I will be here for several days, so I should get some good images.
stay tuned for more Mizan…