Small Wars Journal

Your Next Combat Tour: Where Mountains of Supplies, any Comforts of Home a Thing of the Past

Your Next Combat Tour: Where Mountains of Supplies, any Comforts of Home a Thing of the Past by Shawn Snow – Marine Corps Times

Over the past nearly 20 years of fighting in ­low-intensity conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. troops have been afforded some of the comforts of home at larger military installations.

Major airbases in Afghanistan like Bagram and Kandahar or al Asad in Iraq once housed fast food and coffee joints like Burger King and Green Beans Coffee. Some had sprawling recreational facilities that featured video games, TV and access to the internet.

It’s long been a joke among Marines who served in these combat theaters that experiences of the war varied depending on one’s location.

At the height of the Corps’ participation in ­Afghanistan, dozens of small outposts dotted the rural Afghanistan landscape of Helmand province, where Marines lived in austere conditions and at times relied on air resupply as the safest and most efficient way to sustain their combat power.

Rotations in and out of these outposts to larger bases, like the sprawling Camp Leatherneck base in Helmand, afforded a short moment to rest and refit, or provided access to a store to buy snacks and ­tobacco products, and send emails to loved ones.

But as the Corps plans for a future war with rising near-peer rivals like China in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the Corps will have to retrain a force and retool a culture accustomed to easy access to large quantities of supplies from everything to weapons, vehicles and food. These supplies often are referred to as the iron mountain.

That also means the days of Green Beans Coffee and Burger King on your next combat deployment will likely be a thing of the past…

Read on.