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Info from soldiers in deployment

Sharp10rSharp10r Registered User regular
edited November 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a few questions about the life of a soldier in Iraq or elsewhere.
1. Do many jobs operate in daily shifts, and if so how long are they?
2. When you are not out working but back at a base, what is there to do?
3. How are the answers to one and two affected by the situation immediately outside the base?

I've seen articles talking about soldiers having access to phones and X-boxes, and I'm trying to get a feel for the relationship between safety, rest-and-leisure, and work.

Thanks for the input!

Sharp10r on

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    Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    It really depends on what branch / area / specialty you have.

    I'm a chopper pilot in the navy. Pilots and air crew tend to work 14 hours on then 10 off for rest issues. But those times go out the window when fighting breaks out and there is medivac to do.

    I have a marine friend who would do 24 on 24 off combat patrol and site watch as a sniper. During the battle of faluhja he was out in the field for a like 2 weeks straight catching sleep when he could.

    I do know that some places have pretty regular schedules they stick too. You guard this spot for 8 hours and then someone relieves you and you chill out till its your turn again. But it all really depends.

    As for down time. On the ship we have videos, dvds, limited internet, and xboxs and stuff. In camp I have no idea what they have. I have never been personally.

    Limp moose on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    My dad was in Iraq a my freshman year (I'm a senior about to commission into the AF now). At that point he was at Camp Speicher mostly. He said he was on at least 6, if not 7 days a week for an 8-12 hour shift, but after that it was down time. He was an E-9, also, so there were not many in his job description around.

    They had a gym where he was, and he had access to his computer and phones daily (though the phones take time to use, and he had to stay up VERY late in order to make a call so both my Mother and I would be around).

    They made a celebrity squares kinda thing that they used throughout the duration which was kinda cool. He also learned how to make this little roundish wooden box things that are pretty sweet. I guess they had a nice TV and all kinds of sports equipment. Before they left, (he was a reservist) one of his troops suggested they ask Wal-mart for a donation. They said "Bring some trucks by the store near you, and take whatever you want!"

    So yeah, it depends how much stuff they took over there and what their base of operations is like. Some people, like my Dad, had it pretty lucky. Others, not so much. He routinely saw guys in the chow hall who hadn't showered in 2 weeks.

    Anything else, just ask!

    Iceman.USAF on
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    Sharp10rSharp10r Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Thanks for the help Moose and Iceman! So Moose, with 10 hours before next shift, would you say it was about 6 for sleep and 4 for rest/relaxation?

    Sharp10r on
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    Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    um... depends how much work i need to do. Some times its 10 hours to do whatever you want. Other times its 2 hours for sleep because of mission briefs and planning as well as being a division officer having to do division work. But like when we are transiting somewhere just sitting on the carrier deck its halo time baby!

    Its pretty variable. And also depends on the flight schedules. If someone isnt qualed for say NVG over the ocean that is one less person in the normal rotation when it comes time for goggle flights. So instead of a flight every third night Im flying every other. Which means I have one less off night to get my divo work done. So on my non nvg night I am stuck doing twice as much work.

    Limp moose on
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    juggerbotjuggerbot NebraskaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Limp moose wrote: »
    It really depends on what branch / area / specialty you have.

    This.

    I'm Army Reserves, been in for four years, but I'm just leaving with my unit in January on my first tour (I've been on volunteer status since the beginning of the year to go with any unit, but never got the call), meanwhile, I've seen guys who joined after I did leaving on their second or even third tours. That's what happens when your MOS isn't needed.

    From discussions with friends, I've gathered that it very much depends on what your doing there. Base security is incredibly boring, but you get a fairly steady schedule and more downtime than most, depending on your location. More combat-oriented assignments, not so much.

    I'm a color-blind chairborne desk jockey in an MP unit deploying to run a prison. I highly doubt I will leave the base much.

    Also, if we get some good posts in here, perhaps a sticky is in order, since this is a fairly popular topic.

    juggerbot on
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    casper_27dcasper_27d The Friendly Ghost EverywhereRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I am currently overseas with the U.S. Army. We work 10 hour shifts. When I am not at work I either go to the gym or sit in my trailer and watch tv/play x-box. Also we have wireless internet where I am at and alot of us carry cell phones. Where I am at is not typical but life is getting better every deployment.

    casper_27d on
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    BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Also I think the situation is completely different if you're not actively deployed somewhere. I remember my friend in the Marines while stationed in Cali getting...maybe weekends off? I don't really recall his schedule

    He did two tours in Iraq though and was in Fallujah and didn't offer many details and I didn't press. Of course it goes without saying, if you're in the midst of battle I doubt they're like "mmm ok your 14 hours is up, you get 10 hours off now!" as bullets fly about your head.

    I think TC is using dangerous thinking though in deciding if he wants to join(I'm presuming)Indeed, most soliders who go to Iraq don't die, and most don't get hurt, but that in no way means you're safe! I hope that how much XBox you play isn't factoring heavily into your decision(how much leisure time you get in normal circumstances is a legitimate question, but should certainly not be the deciding factor, or close to it)

    BlochWave on
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    casper_27dcasper_27d The Friendly Ghost EverywhereRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Please do not use these things as a factor in joining or not joining the service. I only mentioned the good things because alot of the bad things we can not talk about. I also have things alot better because of my job. If you ever want to know more hit me up on a message on yahoo (same name as here).

    casper_27d on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'm in the Navy and volunteered to go to Iraq to be a prison guard at Camp Bucca. Our shifts were normally about 13 hours long including the briefings and shift turn over and 1 day off a week. This goes all to Hell should a mortar have hit or the detainees decided to do a full scale riot. The worse I ever had it was a couple weeks where no one really got more than four hours sleep each day for a couple weeks. There were also random drills that could cut into your off time depending on when they happened.

    On the plus side my shift started just after midnight so we had plenty of cool hours while working. And on my days off it was a lot easier using the computers/phones since the bulk of the base was normally awake during the day. The amenities were nice but way too small for our population. We'd seen some major improvements started a month before we left though. By the time we were gone there was a small MWR with video games and movies you could check out and use with their TVs, a perfectly serviceable gym that had everything you could need, a coffee shop, some gift stores (filled with all the bootlegged DVDs you could watch), PX, and a Subway/Pizza Hut/Burger King. Though the galley was free and had way better food.

    Some of the bases/camps can be pretty nice. Ours would have been considered nice if it weren't meant for a population half our size. Out in Kuwait/Qatar they have some great camps. It's still highly, highly dependent on who you're serving under though. Even though my battallion was Navy we worked under the Army which meant some things had to be done differently from what we would have preferred.

    Quid on
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