We don't think anything about running to the store or going to a movie or dinner out. But if you're living in the Kuwaiti desert, closer to the Iraqi border than the nearest mall or restaurant, the little things are a big deal. What can the Army do to make life easier for soldiers? Try to give them as much of a taste of home as possible, make sure they can reach out and touch someone, and have a little fun in their precious free time.
Captain Joe Linn is the "mayor" of one of the camps in Kuwait, making sure the troops have whatever the Army can provide.
"New, fix, you name it, that's what I do," he said. "I make sure that all these facilities are running, and if they're not running, then how I can fix them, and how quickly I can fix them, is important, because otherwise things don't happen...it's important."
He gave us a tour of his town, starting with the places the troops can get away from work, with a workout. It's a weight room in a tent where soldiers come to keep fit. There's also a lounge tent, with ping pong and a large screen TV.
"This is where soldiers come when they want to relax," said Linn. "It's an excellent facility, free ice cream, anytime, it's a definite bonus, gets guys out here. Books, I got a bunch of books here that are getting returned. Ping pong, lot of times guys'll bring their PlayStation2's here, they'll play PlayStation2."
While not everyone gets what they want to see--not every tent's got a TV--and you don't have all the comforts of home, it is much better than nothing. As Captain Linn puts it, "You're with soldiers, and you're watching something other than the inside of your tent."
They even have phones and internet access, and Captain Linn tells us that any interuption in their contact with the outside world can be a very emotional experience for soldiers.