FORWARD OPERATING BASE GERONIMO, Helmand province, Afghanistan — People have the ability to adapt to their surroundings. Proof of this can be observed in the habitat of the Marines here.
It's been several months since Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3, first arrived here, and even though operations continue 24 hours a day, life for the Marines here is a little more than just work and sleep.
"Life for me is pretty much post, QRF (quick reaction force) and sleep," said Lance Cpl. James Pursley, a guard force Marine. But the Bostic, N.C., native also added that while the FOB may seem meager in comparison to some of the larger, more-established bases in country, the Marines here have everything they need. Their base includes a chow hall, field-expedient bathrooms, showers and even a Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent with internet and phone access.
The MWR tent is also the chaplain's tent, where Marines can go and get personal items they are running low on, such as razor blades, shaving cream, soap and snacks. Also, they have a movie night there every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Caldera, a religious program specialist, said, "We are here to do as much for the Marines as we can." He added that the MWR/chaplain's tent offers many different services and they also have snacks and coffee for the Marines.
"The only things I could do without are the sand storms," added a smiling Pursley. The flat desert terrain is a prime environment for the dust devils that blow through camp almost daily in the summer and are still common during the other seasons.
The Marines here continue the tradition of "practice like you play" by training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, helping them to prepare for combat. They also have a gym with free weights to give them more to do than just pull-ups and running for physical training.
"Life on Geronimo is actually pretty good," said field wireman Lance Cpl. Eric Fisher.
So, while these Marines may be half a world away from home, they have adapted to their situation and have done what they can to bring a little bit of normalcy to being deployed in a war zone.