Forward Operating Base Bullard, Zabul Province Afghanistan – It's difficult for many people to conceive the living conditions many troops have to endure on deployment in Afghanistan. At Forward Operating Base Bullard the shower and restroom situation is one of creativity and resiliance. The Romanian and U.S. base, which was made for only 200 troops, had a whopping 400 plus within its walls, of which 10 were women.
The showers, which were mainly ice cold water were limited to five and one separate makeshift shower that the women used sparingly was not always operational. So the showers were co-ed, with limited time for the women, which the Romanian soldiers didn't seem to fully observe. There were also five toilets which faced the showers and privacy was limited to shower curtains that didn't always cooperate.
Despite the challenges, everyone made the best of it and jokes around the camp were plentiful. At one point the toilets gave out all together and Master Sgt. Herbert Barber, with the 478 Civil Affairs Company, out of Miami, Florida went right to work. His creativity was astonishing and within an hour he had built a makeshift toilet with plastic bags that could be used for disposal. He also made a reversible “occupied” sign to warn passersby.
“When you gotta go, you gotta go,” Barber said laughing. “Around here we've gotta take care of things ourselves and somehow we all manage to survive just fine. Most people don't realize how important the small things in life can be.”