I have been asked by people I know and see regularly how Adam is doing. I figured that those of you I don’t see, and some of you I don’t know are probably just as curious. Getting information from any 22 year old guy is difficult, getting it from a 22 year old Marine, in a war zone, in a country that has barely progressed past the 16th century even more so.
However, Adam keeps in touch on a regular basis and the USO and Facebook have been very helpful to him in helping us learn what daily life is like at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
If you are interested, there is an excellent National Geographic documentary about the base at:
Adam’s basic routine is twelve hour work days, six days a week. On Sundays they can sleep in and do not have to report for duty until noon. Adam works in a shop that repairs optical sights on the Marine Corps weapons, from M-16s up to Abrams tanks. He describes a normal day as morning PT, work, chow hall, gym, down time in his room and then bed. Adam lives in a modular unit, shared with five other Marines. He and his bunkmates have decorated their room with goodies sent from home and they even made a couch out of wire fencing material.
The Adam has no complaints about the food served in the chow hall, a first in his four years of service.
We sent Adam a backyard thermometer, but it is no help in telling them the temperature because it only goes up to 120 degrees. The highest temprature they have seen on the digital thermometer is 134 degrees. Despite the heat, all the Marines at Camp Leatherneck must dress in full desert camis and combat boots. They are required to carry their M-16 (8 lbs) at all times, armed with a full clip of live ammunition. Toby Keith did a USO concert for the Marines and there was a great picture of Adam and his buddies all holding an M-16 in one hand and a red Solo cup in the other.
Thanks to the USO, Adam calls home about once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less often, but enough that we get to regularly hear his voice, which is comforting. The USO provides them a half hour of time, which they can use on phone calls or computer time. In the Facebook age, that is a tough choice for these young men and women.
While his primary job is in a shop on the base, on occasion Adam and other techs will travel to the Forward Operating Bases surrounding Camp Leatherneck, to repair their weapons in place. These assignments are generally for 7 – 10 days, travelling in armored Humvee convoys. When the Marines go over the wire into bad guy country, for any reason, they must also wear full body armor, which adds another 40 lbs to the weight they must already carry.
The packages and mail Adam receives are a high point of any day they arrive. He shares the goodies, toys, magazines and other surprises people have thoughtfully sent him. It’s easy to get down, so far from home in such an alien environment, so any reminder of home is greatly appreciated.
For those of you so inclined, or if you are travelling and can drop a post card in the mail, here is Adam’s address one more time:
Buck, Adam J.
1st Maint. BN GSM
Ord. Plt. – Unit #42300
FPO AP 96427 – 2300