In my total of 18 months in Afghanistan I have learned one universal truth: Everyone Hates BAF.
Why, you may ask, does everyone hate BAF?
I have pondered this question and come up with the following three answers:
One reason people hate BAF is because most Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen or Marines experience BAF as a transient, and BAF is a terrible place for transients. As a transient you are tired, hungry and unsettled and the facilities at BAF are not well suited to caring for transients. The passenger terminal is small and overcrowded. The USO is small and overcrowded. The dining facilities are far away. If all you see of BAF is the passenger terminal as a transient you will not be impressed.
Another reason most people hate BAF is because BAF is overcrowded. BAF has grown in size since I left in 2008, but it's population has outpaced that growth. Take a walk or drive down Disney Drive and you will know that BAF is overcrowded. Barracks, dining facilities and offices have sprouted like weeds, but they just can't keep up, and that was before the Surge. No one likes living and working on a crowded FOB.
But the main reason people hate BAF is because they think BAF is too far from the action, it's not a place to fight the "real" war. While the first two reasons are undoubtedly true, this last reason is certainly not. For security reasons I can't talk about all the things that are done here at BAF, so I won't talk about any of them, but suffice to say that there are many activities here at BAF that are critical to the war effort. I have found my time here at BAF to be more rewarding than I thought possible. During my first tour in Afghanistan I avoided BAF as much as possible (for the first two reasons above) but during this tour I've seen the variety of important missions based out of BAF. I've met Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who are doing great things. Without BAF, or somewhere like it, nothing else could happen happen.
Do you have your own BAF story? Whatever your opinion, I'd love to hear YOUR story of BAF.