Yesterday afternoon, not long after we returned from our trip to Dab Pass, I was sitting in front of my building reading a book and watching the EOD team practice. It was lightly sprinkling, but you could see the heavy rain clouds in the distance. But overall, it was a nice peaceful late afternoon on FOB Sweeney.
The peace was soon broken when someone that is also a temporary visitor to the FOB, staying in the same building I am in came by to say ‘you should go see the flood over on the other side’.
FOB Sweeney is basically divided into 5 distinct areas. There is the large motor pool (vehicle parking area)/landing zone section; the ANA section; a small Romanian section; the DynCorp/gym/DFAC section (where I am staying) and finally the main section for the bulk of the US Forces. The living area sections are separated from the motor pool/HLZ section by HESCOs with Afghan metal gates. The gates are left open during the day & closed at night. There is a small creek/drainage ditch that runs along the west side of the entire FOB and beyond.
As happens in any semi-arid, mountainous area that receives a sudden deluge of rain, FOB Sweeney was inundated with water from a downpour we couldn’t even see. The little creek/drainage ditch was quickly overwhelmed with water and quickly started pouring into the low ground of the motor pool, held back by the south HESCO perimeter protecting the living areas. The water then poured through the main gate into the main US living area as it raced down the sloped road leading down through the tents. The wall of water was significant as it quickly flooded several tents that are built 12-18 inches off the ground. The north HESCO wall again acted as a dam, and the water quickly began to pool inside the FOB.
By the time I even learned of the flood, it had already started to recede as the Soldiers and Navy Seabees had acted extremely quickly to temper this mini disaster. When I got to there they were well on their way sandbagging, digging and everything else they could to block, divert and channelize the still incoming water. They had pulled a dozer into the gate opening on the south side and were sandbagging around it to prevent any more water from coming into the FOB. They had opened the metal gate in the north wall to release the pool in the FOB and were working hard to clear the debris from the outlet drain built into the north wall.
Despite the little, muddy disaster, everyone was in good spirits and actually seemed to enjoy themselves as they pulled together to prevent a catastrophe. The only real harm from the flood was the flooding of the well. So we are currently out of water – which is a minor inconvenience given the potential problems we could have had. They should have it fixed today as it is another sunny day in southern Afghanistan.
I will roam the FOB today and see what I can find to provide a little insight into what it is like at FOB Sweeney.
Thanks for looking.