Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Camp Leatherneck

Camp Leatherneck is a 1,600 acre United States Marine Corps base located in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The site is located mostly in Washir District and is conjoined with Camp Bastion, the main British military base in Afghanistan. It is the United States Marines base that is the home base of most Marine operations in Afghanistan.  

Camp Leatherneck was officially dedicated on May 29, 2009, and originally housed around 4,000 marines and civilians in large tents with hundreds of cots in each one. Camp Leatherneck is now home to 10,000 to  20,000 Marines and civilians, and many upgrades to the camp have been made. There are now one story pre-fabricated buildings that can house about 2,000 people in each building, which is certainly an upgrade to the 20 man tents this base started out with.

One of the major upgrades to Camp Leatherneck was a new 3,828 yard runway. The runway is actually built at the adjacent Camp Bastion a British base, but will allow for larger planes such as the 747 passenger planes and the C-5 cargo planes. This extended runway with a capacity for larger planes will help keep the troops better supplied since they will no longer have to rely strictly on smaller supply planes.

Another upgrade is more gym space. In the beginning, Camp Leatherneck had only one gym, and though it was open 24 hours a day it was always overcrowded. Now there are four fitness facilities each devoted to a specific use. There is now a gym for weight-lifting, CrossFit training, cardiovascular health, and one general use gym with a variety of exercise equipment.

One of the most popular upgrades to Camp Leatherneck is their dining system. In the beginning there was only one chow hall, and now there are two each capable of serving 4,000 Marines per meal. Camp Leatherneck has also received a new PX. Before the PX had only 3,000 square feet of sales floor which was not nearly enough for the large number of Marines on base. Now they have a much larger building with roughly  10,000 square feet of display area, plus more storage to help keep the shelves fully stocked. Camp Leatherneck

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (Nov. 26, 2009) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus serves turkey to Marines and Sailors Thanksgiving Day at Camp Leatherneck. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

If my Marine son were there in 2009 this could be what he would have been doing -- 
pulling these trucks out of the mud:

“The Marines and I were stuck in Leatherneck for 3 days due to heavy rains and severe weather until it cleared enough to finally receive the trucks.  The next morning after the weather passed, the team and I began the start of the mission out of Leatherneck by pre-starting and performing preventive combat maintenance on the vehicles.  Within the first hour of the journey, one of the trucks in the convoy became stuck in the mud.  After multiple times of vehicles becoming stuck in the mud, the truck that would always save the day by pulling us out earned the rightful name of Hercules by the convoy team.” Oops
Then of course a dip into Marine humor is needed:
Deployed U.S. service members in Afghanistan put up with a lot. Not only is there the threat of improvised explosive devices, small-arms ambushes and indirect fire attacks, there’s the lousy food, hostile weather and lack of plumbing. Crapper rules

Photographer Colin Kelly spotted the poster depicted above at Camp Bastion, the British base in Helmand province that is home to thousands of deployed Marines in aviation units. Clearly, a frustrated Marine leader somewhere decided the best way to crack down on messy port-a-johns was to post some rules of the road. And if you’re going to lay the law of the lavatory down, a little sarcasm and blunt talk never hurt.


1 comment:

  1. It is sad that all this show of force and presence will be for naught when NATO leaves.
    Money and lives down the eternal drain of sand.
    Been there, done that --- Nam.