Where we sleep ranks right up there in topics of interest with food and toilets. And just like with my experiences with the food and the toilets, my sleeping accommodations have varied widely during my time in Afghanistan. None of them have been great, but none have been horrible either.

In order of best to worst, here is how I rate the places I’ve slept:

My best sleeping quarters were at FOB Wolverine. I had a nice little room all to myself. It was an 8×20 container, similar to a shipping connex that you see on ships/trains/trucks, but these are designed specifically for living in, either as offices or sleeping quarters. They are known as CHU (pronounced chew) = Containerized Housing Unit or RLB = Relocatable Building or Real Little Building. It had 2 sets of bunk beds, but I was alone and the heater/AC worked well. Plus I had wireless internet available! It was really a great place to spend some time.

FOB Apache: I have had the opportunity to move several times while at Apache. I arrived in mid-October and was put up in the transient quarters; one of the little wooden buildings on the old part of post that was in a state of disrepair with a grungy, lumpy mattress. Not good, it should go near the bottom of this list. After a couple weeks, I moved into a vacant space in the tents where the unit we were replacing was living. Not too bad; plywood dividers to make a fairly private room and a decently comfortable bed. After a few days I was moved to a different tent with slightly better dividers and a little more space. A week or so later I moved to an open bay in what is now our main office area so we could tear down the tents and rebuild the floors and interior walls.

My room in my tent. It is approximately 8x9. I have the Christmas lights & a small lamp as my primary lights. I prefer it to be dim; the overhead light is just too bright.

My room in my tent at Apache is almost as good as the CHU at Wolverine.

FOB Viper: When I visited FOB Viper last Nov/Dec the Romanians were extremely gracious hosts and they put me up in a nice little room in a nicely heated hard building. Considering that only a few other people on Viper slept in other than a tent, it was a very generous act.

FOB Bullard: I have been to FOB Bullard a couple times. The first time I was there I slept in a drafty tent with a poorly functioning ECU (Environmental Control Unit – heat/AC) on a grungy, lumpy mattress on a bedframe that was about to collapse. This would actually go one rung below the transient quarters at Apache on the rating scale; near the bottom of the list. However, while there in February, the Romanians once again proved to be gracious hosts by giving me a private room in a hard building. The bed was comfortable, the room was nice, but the room itself didn’t have a heater, just the common area. So it stayed pretty cold in there. I would guess the temp in my room was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit at best. So despite having a decent bed, I was pretty cold the whole time. It didn’t help that we received several feet of snow, coupled with warm temperatures to make everything wet and slushy during the day. So I was not only cold, I was constantly wet. But, Bullard is still my second favorite place to be in Afghanistan.

FOB Smart: While at FOB Smart I slept in the large central building. It reminded me of an old hotel in a warm climate area. The hallways are essentially open to the outside. I shared a fairly large room with just one other guy and the bathroom and laundry room was in the same building, on the same floor. If I would have had a private room I would have rated Smart higher. But I guess I value my privacy more than my comfort…

At KAF I slept in a large building with an indoor bathroom! That is a pretty nice thing to have. However the building has several rooms & the rooms are crammed with 4 sets of bunk beds that squeak loudly if you think about moving. So you can imagine the noise when the beds are occupied by people that actually do move…not good for restful sleep. Thankfully, I have only spent 2 nights at KAF since arriving last October.

Although it is my favorite place in Afghanistan; right here at COP Mizan has been – hands down – the worst sleeping quarters. I spent some time here last December and was given a ‘bed’ in the hard building. The rooms in that building seem like medieval prison chambers with big thick walls and low, wide doors. The room I was in was no more than 8 feet wide and 10 feet long. It had 2 beds in it on the opposite walls and the space at the ends of the beds was storage space for ‘stuff’, but not my stuff. So the only room I had was the bed & the 2 foot aisle to get to the bed. The bed was too short and too narrow to fit the mattress. But it didn’t matter because the mattress was compressed to about 1/3 of it’s original thickness and looked as if it had been used on a garage floor to change oil in cars; filthy doesn’t come close to describing it.

My sleeping quarters at COP Mizan, December 2011

I shared the room with another guy. But, despite the crappiness of the bed and the room, the heat worked! So honestly, I had no complaints. I would rather sleep on the floor in a heated building than a comfy mattress in an unheated tent any day. This brings us to my current visit. This time I was given a cot in a large tent with a non-functioning ECU…I arrived at approximately 0730. When I went into the tent around noon, it felt like a sauna. I talked to the DynCorp guys about getting the ECU fixed and their solution was to turn it off and disconnect it from the tent. Hmmm…so I froze my ass off that night. OK, maybe I didn’t freeze, as the temperature probably was in the 40’s-50’s, but it felt pretty cold. The next day one of the Soldiers offered to let me move into their tent as they had two empty rooms. I gladly accepted. The ECU in this one isn’t great – it does get a bit stuffy during the day and a bit cool at night, but not bad at all.

my sleeping quarters while at COP Mizan April 2012

Thanks again for reading and please let me know your thoughts/questions/comments.

Take care,

Dan

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About danbohmer

...just another guy moving through life Everything posted here is my personal opinion and in no way reflects an opinion, thought or representation of anyone else or any organization.

26 responses »

  1. Wow…it’s like camping. I’ll be camping for 28 nights in Africa in May, but for you it’s long term! I was in the military for 4 years back in the late 70’s, but only had this type of living/sleeping situation while on maneuvers — once a year.

  2. Jules Knapp says:

    Nice crib……………..like the sign on the door.

    The cot looks alot nicer than the grungy mattress.

  3. Aaron Staines says:

    Nice triple post today- I’m glad you can find some beauty out there.

    I look forward to a culianry tour of Apache when you get back. Speaking of the accomodations there, I told my friend (more a brother, really) Matt I have been visiting your blog- I think he’s 4 tents down from you.

    Regards,
    Aaron

  4. kafoodie says:

    The most important thing if you’re stuck in this country for long is to have your own space. We’ve each got a full ISO-size room to ourselves in KAF but I did do 9 months in an 8 man tent when I first arrived…that was less than pleasant. Your digs look pretty homey.

  5. shianwrites says:

    I know someone that had to share with over twenty men for about six months. One guy doesn’t seem so bad.

  6. As a former reporter I love this kind of behind-the-scenes look at life in another part of the world. Thanks for sharing!

  7. aubrey says:

    My husband is in FOB ARIAN, i wanted to see the picture of this camps and their tents, i heard about the villages nearby, i hope u can post that pics here, nice trip in afghanistan, i wanted to go holiday and see this afghan communities soon.

  8. […] isn’t as nice as we built at Apache, but it will do for the next few weeks. #gallery-2947-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2947-1 […]

  9. […] most popular destination with Toilets on the FOB a close third. Forward Operating Base Apache and Sleeping in Afghanistan round out the top 5 most read posts. I have nearly 1400 pictures posted on my blog. The one that […]

  10. […] top 5 posts are: Forward Operating Base Apache, About me, Sleeping in Afghanistan, The love of a Soldier’s wife, Lagman & […]

  11. Wayne F Rocheleau, DVM says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. My son deployed with 1st Inf 3rd Combat Brigade a week ago. Because of a Facebook posting by his CO, we believe he may be at FOB Apache. Seems like it is being built up to accommodate NATO forces being withdrawn from smaller FOBs. It is somewhat reassuring for us, in these early days of his deployment, to find any information we can about what his situation might be like. Thanks again

    • danbohmer says:

      Apache was in the midst of a massive expansion when I left September 2012. I would probably not even recognize it anymore. Wish your son the best.

  12. John f says:

    It’s always crazy to hear stories from the bases you were in while serving in Afghanistan. I was on the original team viper, the team that built and named FOB Viper. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your service

  13. Eric Hesler says:

    What brought me to this page was my Google search for COP Wolverine. My buddies and I built that place with the 62nd Engineer BN in the beginning of 2009. We lived in tents, the chow hall was a tent, but there were shower trailers. We took incoming mortars almost daily. At the time, it was just about 80 of us engineers and a platoon of Romanian infantry. No US infantry. We were getting trucked out and building guard towers for either an expansion of the COP or a much larger FOB. 30 of us put up 13 guard towers in 3 weeks. Building in full battle rattle wasn’t fun, but since we were out in the open, we had to wear it all. I have quite a few pics. I wonder how it has changed since I left…

  14. Rookie says:

    I am interested in what developments have happened at sharisafa. I am a member of the original PMT Viper. It was a small 12 man base. We had one hard building and we built everything else by ourselves. Does are gate still have our viper symbol?

  15. Rookie says:

    I am interested in what developments have happened at sharisafa. I am a member of the original PMT Viper. It was a small 12 man base. We had one hard building and we built everything else by ourselves. Does are gate still have our viper symbol?

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