THIS OLD HUT |
October 04, 2007
THIS OLD HUT
Name: CAPT Doug Traversa
Posting date: 10/5/07
Returned from: Kabul, Afghanistan
Hometown: Tullahoma, TN
Milblog url: traversa.typepad.com
Email: [email protected]
Now that I have had a few months to wrap my brain around life back here in the states, I can tackle some projects I’ve been putting off. Many months ago the Sandbox Duty Officer, David, asked me for some photo stories, since he knows I’m always taking pictures. He suggested I do one on my construction projects in our B-hut -- the B-hut being the plywood home for so many troops in Afghanistan. It was a great idea, and I’ve been meaning to do it for months, but it always managed to sneak back down to the bottom of my to-do list. No longer!
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you already know what a B-hut (or hooch) is, but for the newbies, I have all the gruesome details. Without actually having measured a hut (and having lived in one for a year, I am amazed I never did), I estimate it is 20’ by 40’, made entirely of plywood, with a metal roof, and insulation if you are lucky.
These delightful accommodations house between six and ten people, though that number can double for short durations when troops are coming in or passing through. The huts are arrayed in tight rows, often a mere five feet apart from one another on the sides, a bit more on the ends where the doors are.
Row of huts
However, these huts can be modified by adding plywood walls, plywood furniture, plywood shelves, and pretty much anything else you can make from plywood. Here’s a photo of my area when I arrived at Camp Phoenix.
Room Before Construction
At the head of my bed you can see one wall has already been constructed, so my space was clearly defined. Now I had a year to convert this into my personal palace. Join me, won’t you, as I demonstrate how to convert a B-hut into a mansion.
As you can see, I had one set of selves with a “closet” where I could hang a very few items. I also had a bunk bed without the top bunk. This may seem unimportant, but the top bunk is a major storage area. Without one, I was essentially missing a closet. Still, this was home, and I would have to make the best of it.
Camp Phoenix had an excellent self-help workshop. We could check out tools, and acquire plywood and 2 x 4s at no cost. So on my first day off, I started hauling tools and wood to my hut for the big construction project. Step one was to build my wall.
A simple frame of 2 x 4s was constructed, and then two large pieces of plywood finished off the wall. Inside, I built a very simple desk, really nothing more than a piece of plywood on top of two plastic shelf sets from the PX. Here you can see the room right after construction. Yes, we had AFN TV and internet, so compared to many, our lives were very good indeed.
Of course, things were still pretty barren, and it wasn’t long before I gutted a calendar to provide some interior decoration. Pardon the mess on the bed; I had just opened a care package.
I figure ten photos is probably my limit, so here I am enjoying my little piece of paradise. Oh, did I mention our hut got really cold in the winter? That explains my unconventional outfit.