Life at FOB Bernstein near Tikrit is, well, rustic. There are no MWR facilities with gyms or televisions like at some other bases. And while they do have internet and phones, the base has had substantial problems with the system crashing. (They are currently in the process of upgrading the system.) Forget about indoor plumbing. They do not even have chemical latrines, but rather use sunken PVC pipes for urinals (this is a Cavalry and Infantry forward base--there are no women), and have wood outhouses with toilet seats over metal buckets for, shall we say, other tasks. The mail was delayed for a couple of weeks this last time, and they are still waiting for some equipment and personal effects that was sent over in large seaborne containers when they left the States. When the mail finally did arrive this last week, the soldiers described it as being like Christmas. Packages and letters from loved ones, friends, and neighbors filled the cots. In addition to letters from people they know, the DOD distributes mail addressed to "Any Soldier" among the troops. It was good to see from the letters how communities were coming together. For example, a Lieutenant from North Carolina got a package from one of his neighbors, who explained how the other neighbors on the block were helping the soldiers wife by mowing the lawn, and doing repairs around the house. The mail service and the internet service are supposed to be improving soon, and this will be good for the soldiers. While they understand that they have it much better in terms of communication than their brethren who fought in previous wars, it is nonetheless difficult to be out of touch with their families for extended periods of time.
Thank you Mr. Alt for your stories. My brother is with the unit at Bernstein you have been talking about. It is great to be able to get a glimpse of what they are experiencing. The part about mail was wondorful, we have been hoping that they were getting some of our packages. Your stories are greatly appreciated by the families!
I want to thank you as well. My husband is currently living and working on FOB Bernstein. I try to find as much info about how he might be living as I can find, since I have noticed a decrease in communications from when he was in Kirkuk.
Thank you for the insight into life at FOB Bernstein. My son is serving there with an engineer battalion having recently moved from another FOB. I receive emails sporadically since he arrived at Bernstein, but no phone calls yet.
A proud father.
My husband is at FOB Bernstein. I receive a phone call approx. every other week. He is really appreciative when he gets a package from home since they are without the modern conviences. However, he says that some of our guys have yet to get a letter or package from home. Please pass the address on to a friend who would like to make a soldiers day. Ask them to fix a small care package and forward to any soldier who is going without. Im sure it would be much appreciated! Thank you!!
Im living at FOB Bernstein presently, with the 105th Engineers. Things have improved dramatically since May, and we now have a gym, and chow hall, and portajohns. For an ongoing look at life here, and a bunch of pictures, check out my blog at ArmyAdvice.org Military Community
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