Wednesday, October 15, 2003


Even within our own military.

Fascinating survey by the Stars & Stripes. Read the whole thing here.
Of all troops surveyed, 72 percent rated living conditions “average” or better. But disparities existed throughout the region. One Army unit could have three hot meals a day and another unit with the same mission subsisted on MREs and rationed bottles of water. Some units, although they had been in Iraq for months, still hadn’t had a day off or access to a hot shower. Other troops had been in Iraq a few weeks and were already being allowed to leave on morale trips.

The numbers show that sometimes camp conditions and morale are not always connected. Some Marines surveyed in southern Iraq live in austere conditions but still had overall high morale.

There is a sharp divide between the Air Force and Army. The Army and Air Force share several bases in Iraq, but the Air Force has separate — and superior — living conditions. The Air Force at Tallil Air Base, for example, brought in a Pizza Hut concession but the Army is barred from using it. The Air Force does deploy differently based on its mission, but soldiers, after seeing the contrast, said the division, which at times is a fence topped with barbed wire, undercuts morale and teamwork. The Air Force has its own gyms, morale tents and mess halls...

Over the next week, Stars and Stripes will present its findings on the issues that the troops in Iraq say are important to them. The series also will show creative means troops come up with to do their jobs — and to have some fun or add levity. And it will present what troops say leaders can do to improve morale and some ways troops keep their own morale high. It will conclude with what is next for troops and bases in Iraq.

And you can read about it here. Man, can you believe those Air Force guys...

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