Home away from home … in KuwaitPublished 8:00am Thursday, November 10, 2011
Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series on deployed Minnesota National Guard soldiers by the Herald’s Kelli Lageson reporting from Kuwait. More Deployed in Kuwait.
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — It’s where the soldiers are when they’re not on missions, working, at the gym, eating or walking around the base — their rooms.
Soldiers, civilians and anyone else living on the base live in either metal buildings or tents separated into groups called pads. Depending on the building, the rooms fit four or six, but there’s often one bunk left unfilled, for more space for soldiers and in case an empty bed is needed by another soldier.
Pfc. Aaron Enderson, 25, of Hayward, is deployed to Kuwait with the battalion’s Charlie Company, while he’s usually with Austin’s 1135th Combat Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Division. He said for the most part he enjoys having four other roommates with him, though there can be challenging times.
“We’re in different platoons, so our schedules are different and we’re waking up at different times,” Enderson said.
While some companies bunk soldiers together, sometimes it can end up a random assortment for others, like Enderson who didn’t know any of his four roommates before meeting them in Kuwait. He said he doesn’t mind that though and that he’s been getting to know the other guys.
“We’re learning where everyone is from and sharing backgrounds,” Enderson said.
Spcs. Amy Fry, of Grand Meadow, and Fallon Weibel, of Elk River, are both in the 1135th and live near each other in the same building.
Fry and her roommates have decorated various parts of their room to make it more home-like. With copious amounts of construction paper, they created an oasis complete with a blue ocean and palm trees in one corner of their room. Though it’s November, they still have lots of Halloween decorations up, and plan to take them down only to decorate for Christmas soon.
“Christmas stuff is on its way, compliments of my mom,” Fry said. “It’s fun color in the room.”
Weibel agreed that the rooms are pretty comfortable, and like that they’re allowed to personalize it by buying a fridge, microwave or TV, among other things.
“We can set it up the way we want it and decorate it,” Weibel said.
The pads of buildings or tents all have one central location that houses large bathrooms with sinks, stalls and showers. The central building also has laundry facilities, though Enderson said some soldiers take their laundry to the free service on the base.
While it’s in the 70s during the days this week, the temperature was much higher in August and September, closer to the 120s. Even with the extreme heat, Enderson said the air conditioning works well.
Everything on the base is within walking distance, and only certain positions use cars to get around to different buildings. Enderson’s pad of buildings is like many others that are pretty close to everything. He said the longest walk is to the dining facility, or DFAC.
“It takes about seven minutes,” Enderson said.
While there are ups and downs to sharing a room with others, Enderson said he likes his roommates.
“We get along pretty well,” Enderson said.
Herald reporter Kelli Lageson will bring you in-depth coverage from the ground in Kuwait from now through Nov. 15. Go to Deployed in Kuwait for stories, photos, video and more!