Please read the beginning of this story as shown within the “Afghanistan Story” tab above.
Afghanistan, May 2010, Camp Delaram
Over the next few days, the female Lance Corporal and I watched the eight male Marines who had traveled with us get ready to be inserted into the Georgian battalions. She and I were placed in a “temporary” tent on the back edge of the living quarters, which had multiple empty tents surrounding it. No one could approach our tent without a solid three minutes of exposure in a “known empty” part of the living quarters. Two bunk beds were placed in the back of the tent for our use.
The other Marines were getting acquainted with the Georgians. They were busy day in and day out, attempting to learn the Georgian language (a dialect of Russian), questioning the communication Georgians on what they knew and what the plans were for the next few months. When the male Marines that we knew would see us, they would say, “Hey, we’re super busy but this operation is going to be awesome!” and they would dash away. We weren’t allowed to meet the Georgians or see the equipment we had been sent to work on.
She and I ate alone, with the combat team Marines watching our every move.
We waited for the Ospreys.
I would read in my tent, laying on my bottom bunk that had the most heavenly mattress on it. Rumors were that the Air Force had extra mattresses and somehow they had ended up on this tiny forward operating base. Either way, that mattress was better than mine at home, and the white comforter was just fluffy enough to add some softness to the harsh desert environment. I was too conditioned to be combat-ready at all times to remove my boots when I lay on the bed; I dangled my feet over the metal end of the bottom bunk and propped my book on my knees to read.
Three days into this stupor of boredom, we were woken by a loud knock.
“Get up. You’re wanted in the COC.”
She and I shuffled to the door and began to trudge up the sandy hill to the protected compound. I glanced at the smoke pit as we walked by; it was empty.
We were led into a room with the Major and two higher staff members.
“The Ospreys aren’t coming. You won’t be going back to Camp Leatherneck. You will be placed in respective sections to your jobs and you will work here.”
He looked disgruntled as he gestured to the two men.
“Lance Corporal, you will be with Staff Sergeant Wilkins working on satellite communications.”
He looked at me.
“Corporal, you will be with Staff Sergeant Rambo in the networking section.”
Looking back and forth between us, he became firm in his next statement.
“Remember what I said about behaving.”
It looked like we were here to stay.