Base Camp and Convoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forward-operating-base, or “FOB,” sits outside of Khost, a city close to the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Dirty brown mountains loom in the distance, but the surrounding countryside is flat and a little bit green.

Khost is poor but vibrant.  The streets are lined with used car and truck lots, firewood merchants, and brick-making kilns.  Also lining the streets are underemployed Afghan males.  They glower or stare impassively at passing military vehicles.

American soldiers travel in “up-armored” Humvees.  The trucks bristle with equipment, and gunners man machine guns from rooftop turrets.   Trucks never travel individually, but as part of a convoy.  Crew members talk to one another through headsets, and everone has a sector to scan.  On watch for ambushes, improvised explosive devices, and suicide bombers, all are on high alert. 

On my first convoy in country, truck crews were compromised of regular Army soldiers, National Guardsmen, Navy and Air Force personnel, two Romanian officers serving with the American forces, and an Afghan interpreter.  They roll as a team down dangerous roads.

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