Monday, March 13, 2006

What We Do

A lot of people ask me what I do in my free time while I am here so I think it would be a good idea to give people a little look into a soldiers life while on deployment.

First off I am sure we work a lot less then everyone back home thinks. As anyone who has been in the military before can tell you the standard motto across the different services is “Hurry up and wait.” Sure sometimes we work hard and for extended periods of time but we do get time off and we do our best to maximize that time. Of course the amount of time off depends on your rank and your job but everyone gets some time off. Now to what we do with that time off.

When I first got here in 2003 there wasn’t much to do besides sweat. Well sweat and play cards. We played spades and hearts till we wore finger marks into the cards and then we would get a new deck and do it all over again. Once we started getting established we got a dartboard, a ping-pong table, and some horseshoes. We played basketball on a court we made out of 2 by 4s and plywood. The court had several dead spots and several spots where the ball would jump on its own. Home court advantage for sure. We set up a softball field with donated baseball equipment and the season lasted for months. We played flag football for what seemed like an eternity too. Those were the days. Things were simple back in OIF I. Only a few people had computers at first so we would all get together to watch movies. At the end of the deployment we finally got things together though. We made one tent our gaming tent and put in four 20 inch TVs and played 16 player Halo which is a video game for those of you who don’t know.

Near the end of the deployment we got an MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) tent at our base. The MWR had gym equipment, a pool table, a couple of TVs with military cable, and some movies. The workers at the MWR put on volleyball, table tennis, pool, and horseshoe tournaments that we all had fun competing in. The week before we left our camp the MWR workers (civilians) put on a party for us since we had been at the base the longest and were good friends with everyone. Some of the people in my unit formed a band with donated instruments and the whole base came out for the festivities. Awards were handed out for the winners of the sporting events and the new soldiers bid us farewell. All in all my first deployment was a great experience with little modern day technology for us to have fun with. Those definitely were the days.

This deployment is the same but different. I still go to the MWR in my free time but this time around it is located in a gigantic tent-like structure. The gym is amazing, there is a full length indoor basketball court, aerobics room, movie theater, internet and phone service, putting green, library, TVs for video games and cold water for all who are thirsty. I sit in my room on my Turkish satellite internet while watching my own 20 inch TV with cable. I listen to my Ipod and sometimes connect it to speakers when there aren’t too many people around. I flush the toilet and take showers with hot water. I love being an American. Soon I will move into a trailer with its own air conditioning unit. My roommate and I will use our fridge and microwave while sipping coffee from my coffee pot. We still like to play games but instead of playing cards we play poker online. Instead of waiting in line for the phone we hop on instant messenger and chat with friends and family back home. Yeah we have it good.

We have chow four times a day for those who choose to go and deal with being around higher-ranking people. I choose to go as late as possible to avoid confrontations that arise from my “Damn the Man” attitude. I get a to-go plate so that I can bring food back to my room so that I limit my trips to the chow hall to once every other day. If one chooses he or she could go to the Turkish restaurant or Subway on base to eat. You could stop by the PX/BX and buy food too. You can shop for a new suit, carpet, watch, movie, jewelry, or leather jacket at any one of the three Turkish malls. Hell you can even buy bootleg movies before they come out in the states: that is if you don’t mind people talking and walking in front of the movie screen.

I spend most of my time blogging or corresponding with people I meet from my blog. I read and listen to music. I work out. I drive. That is my life. Very exciting. Don’t you wish you were on the front lines of the war on terrorism? Well front lines or second string you be the judge. I am a dork though so I am sure there are a lot of guys having a much better time then I am. Just kidding.

So that is a little look into what we do in our free time, any questions?

9 comments:

Matt said...

Tim,

Over the course of five years I've had three roommates obsessed with Halo. I could never get into it, but it looks like it's a sweet tourny game. Morton Hall at OU actually held a massive Halo tourny networking four different classrooms... seemed pretty cool.

The MWRs sound like they're very well outfitted - I'm really glad to hear all of that stuff is available to you.

I do have a question, what's the atmosphere like during playoffs? I imagine the atmosphere could be pretty lively. It seems like a unit is always shown during the Superbowl, I wonder if you know anyone who's been on a satellite feed?

Maybe I'm only speaking for myself and my peers when I say this, but we do enough relaxing here in the States. It's great that you're able to find time to relax.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Boggs. What stood out in this blog to me was the old American "can do" attitude, always improving whatever situation you are in. And you didn't sit around and wait for someone to do it for you. You went from a deck of cards to organized sports even before they built the rec center for you. And your calling your first deployment "the good old days". At 23 you actually sound like my grandfather talking about "the good old days." Bet you have made some of the best friends you will ever have over there in the Military. A brotherhood that you rarely find in civilian life I would guess. Adversity does have its good side maybe. So - I have a question. How are the chaplins over there? Do they do a good job? And the doctors? And do you get strange illnesses in all that dust and how unsanitary is it where you are? Maybe you don't think about that much, fighting a war, and other things are more important to your health. Keep on wearing all that armor Boggs that you told us about. You made driving around sound a little too casual I think. Thanks again and be safe.
AG

Anonymous said...

Just read Rick's interview of you on http://therealuglyamerican.com/2006/03/14/blog-of-the-month-tf-boggs/ and it was VERY good. Hope everybody reads it.
You have more to do in your free time than we do, Boggs. The only thing that would bother me is not being able to just get into a car and go where ever you wanted to go at any time. Do you feel a little like you are in prison sometimes? Thanks again for letting us get the feel of what it is like for you men. Stay safe out driving around guarding convoys. You are our favorite blogger.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
You listen to a lot of music huh? I got some good ol’ country music to remind you of back home. You know now that you can listen to it without your father always turning it off. Don’t worry I’ll send you some. As for you being a dork… I agree. Ha. Halo can get addicting, be careful. Good to hear you’re doing alright.
-Mark

JohnD said...

Hey Tim,
I'm guessing that your work time is a lot more hectic than mine, so I hope you enjoy all of your free time. Keep up the great work!

Brian Coughlan said...

Hi Tim!

I am virulently opposed to the war and the occupation, but found reading your blog kind of comforting.

Your views are positive and upbeat and do give hope to a situation that appears, from this remove at least, to be hopeless.

I read blogs coming out of Iraq, this one has been one of the mainstays to date.
http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

This young lady is outspoken and clever, and she is not a fan of Bush. Hope that won't be a problem:-) I'd be fascinated to see a dialouge between you to reconcile your diverse views on the situation.

Thanks for your positivity and for giving hope to a difficult situation.

tanksis said...

Sgt,

I stumbled across your blog some time ago, bookmarked it and then kind of forgot about it. Big oops on my part! I rediscovererd the bookmark today, and have read as much as I can to catch up. I have to say, I love the candor with which you speak, and I find myself in agreement with a lot of your sentiments. I especially enjoyed your take on Bruce Springsteen:-)

The interview w/the SSgt was great! The whole idea rocks. Wouldn't it be great if more Americans took the time to get to know the men and women serving our country? Thanks to the internet and blogging, we have the greatest opportunity to do so.

Looking forward to following along and learning more about your world. Thanks for your service and keep writing!

T. F. Boggs said...

I am thinking about moving to France after this deployment so I will only have to work 35 hours a week, then I will have all the free time I can handle.

Annie- The chaplains are pretty cool, at least the ones I have met. I dont often get to go to services though because of my schedule. Doctors I am not really sure about. I have been lucky and have avoided all of the crazy sicknesses here. I dont really want to find out how they are if you know what I mean.

Good to hear from you Mark. If anyone is a dork it is you. Whats up with all those Flordia girls you used to talk about?

Brian-I am always open to talking to different people, especially those who dont agree with me. I am glad you have been reading the site and hopefully I can change your mind on a few things. Different opinions are always welcome so keep reading and commenting.

Glad to have you back tanksis.

proud fan said...

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to you for your military service. I am not in the military but have several friends and family who are. My father in law got home in January form Iraq and got workd this week he is already headed back. My best friend is leaving for Iraq in less than a week, and my other friend's husband is going in April. I also have 2 cousins and 6 other friends somewhere out there. I appreciate a lot everythinf our Marines and Soldiers and all of our Military do. I just recently started my own blog to show my support. Thank you for your blog. Take care. Stay safe. You are in our thoughts and prayers.