Sunday, November 20, 2011

Caught with my Pants Down

November 20, 2011

FOB Joyce
Kunar
Afghanistan

There is the expression getting caught with your pants down. Normally associated with acts that have absolutely nothing to me this morning.

Having woken at a normal time around 7am, not that you know inside the tent with partitioned into small rooms with plywood walls (think Ikea natural pine) and a stretcher for a bed, thou some interior designer has come in and added some ambience by putting some nails in the wall studs so you can hang stuff up, a minimalist wardrobe approach is the best way to describe the nails.

With the sun shining in the valley as I walked back from the Conex (Container) Box that serves as the Latrine, rather than the Portaloo on the corner. It was time for a shower also in a Conex Box next to the Latrine, every two to three days it is nice to wash and change clothes. Not mandatory by any stretch of the imagination. But given the sun was out and the golden rays shined across the valley on the mountains, it felt that why put off today what I have put off the last three days.

Having flip-flopped my way over thru the rocks and dirt, I enjoyed the hot water cascading over me and dried off. I flip flopped my way back into my suite in Tent 13 and looked at the clean clothing on my stretcher. I had decided on a khaki look for the day around the Forward Operating Base to blend in and not clash with the camouflage of the Army uniforms.

And just as I was reaching down to pull up my pants …..

“BOOM, BOOM, ratta tat tat, ratta tat tat”…. Gunfire and explosions erupt in the valley

“INCOMING Waa Waa Waa INCOMING Waa Waa Waa”

The base is under fire and the warning siren is set to Volume 12 on the Spinal Tap scale of amplification.

So with my pants around my ankles, decisions have to be taken. Do you kick them off and run for the bunker or pull them up and run the risk of being unlucky.

“Waa Waa Waa” the sirens continue

I honestly thought that at one stage, the Robot’s voice was going to come over and come out with the classic “Warning Will Robinson Danger, Danger”.

Pants up, grabbed the camera and out the door, behind the concrete barrier, film for a few minutes. Then in a lull head for the nearest bunker to find Conor in his shorts straight out of bed. But suitably attired in his flak jacket and Kevlar helmet.

With sleep in his eyes we filmed a quick piece to camera describing but was happening.

Gunfire and mortar booms gradually ceased.

The robot came back on and proclaimed “All clear, return to your duties”.

All this before a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning or as someone pointed out it is in fact the equivalent of a Taliban Monday. As someone wisely pointed out always avoid the DFAC (Dining Facility) for the first hour of daylight as the bad boys constantly try to target it early in the morning thinking it will be full of hungry souls.

I will sleep in tomorrow an extra hour to allow for this new found wisdom, and also have my pants ready just in case.

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