PATROL BASE YAZZIE, Afghanistan — I’ve been meaning to do this blog entry for quite some time, but, well, I figured we should get to know each other a bit before diving in.
In my newly educated estimation, one of the things Americans take for granted the most is their plumbing. Fresh, crisp running water is a beautiful thing, whether it’s used for bathing, drinking or flushing the toilet.
Flushing the toilet, you ask? Oh, yes, compadres. This is a blog entry about what happens when you no longer have that option. And since this blog is devoted in part to showing the little things that service members have to live with downrange, I think it falls squarely in my wheelhouse.
Anyone who hasn’t lived downrange hasn’t known the joy of the “wag bag,” the setup the military commonly uses to, uh, collect poop in a non-polluting way. Essentially, it requires service members to take a garbage bag with them to a wooden, outdoor stall that has a hole cut in a seat. Frequently, there’s a toilet seat to sit on, but that’s not always the case, either.
In any event, the garbage bag is wrapped around the toilet seat, and filled with a packet of liquid-absorbing powder. Individuals then sit on the bag-wrapped seat, taking care of business, as the, uh, poop, drops into the bag below. When finished, they clean up using the toilet paper and wet-wipe provided in the “wag bag” kit, tie a knot in the bag and put it in another garbage bag that has a Ziploc-style zipper. The zipped bag is then tossed in a bin that gets emptied and carried away every few days.
Still with me? Let’s move on to the shower.
While some bases have trailers filled with shower stalls, Yazzie is small enough that it uses the “bag shower” system, in which water drops out of a rubber sack onto an individual below in an outdoor stall.
Three weeks ago, I probably would have groaned knowing that the only shower I would get in a five-day period would come under such circumstances, but last night, it simply felt fantastic.
The one I used had a rubber bag hanging from a rope, tied to a hook on the wall. I untied the rope, allowing the bag to drop from a piece of metal that it was wrapped on above. I then brought the empty bag over to a hose leading from a large tank of potable, but undrinkable water, filled it up, and brought it back to the stall and reconnected the bag to the rope. I hoisted the bag, filled with maybe two or three gallons of water, back in the air by pulling the other end of the rope over the metal rod above and tying the rope to the wall.
The key piece: There’s a small stopper on the bottom of the bag that can easily be pulled and reattached, allowing the person in the shower to control whether or not the water is running.
Marines here with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, take it all in stride, but it’s not like they’re in love with either process. One sergeant here said he plans to flush his toilet repeatedly when he gets back to the U.S., watching the water spin in circles with wonderment.
Thank you so much for the “blogs”! I have not heard from my son in months. (he is with the 3/6 Kilo) So any information about what he is going through is somewhat comforting. Even if it is about the toilet he uses or the shower facilities.
lol! Thanks so much for sharing! This may sound crazy, but the families reading your posts are so comforted by the news you share and it’s a refreshing change from the typical “news” you see out there. YOU ROCK!!! Thanks so much for doing this and all the best to you and the Marines you’re with!
Ditto Cales Mom and Mary! Thanks for your reporting!
Thank you. My son just arrived at an FOB last week and described this “toilet”. Like Mary, this kind of information comforts me. And like Mary, your posts do great things for our family’s morale. Please keep up the good work.
Thank you so much for the “blogs”! I have not heard from my son in months. (he is with the 3/6 Kilo) So any information about what he is going through is somewhat comforting
I absolutely enjoy reading your article, the manner of writing is impressive.This article as usual was enlightening, I have had to bookmark your website and subscribe to your feed in ifeed. Your site looks impressive.
Born in Santa Barbara, California, and raised by Christian pastor mom and father; Perry grew up listening to only gospel tunes and sang in her regional church as a youngster.Buy Katy Perry tickets
F*ckin’ remarkable issues here. I am very satisfied to peer your post. Thank you a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?
I don’t even understand how I finished up here, however I believed this publish was great. I don’t recognize who you might be but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger when you are not already 😉 Cheers!
you’re in point of fact a just right webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a excellent job on this topic!
I just could not leave your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard info an individual provide in your guests? Is gonna be again ceaselessly in order to check up on new posts
Needed to compose you this very little word just to thank you yet again considering the extraordinary strategies you have discussed on this site. This has been certainly remarkably open-handed of you to grant unreservedly exactly what a number of us would have advertised as an e-book to end up making some profit for their own end, most notably considering the fact that you could have tried it if you ever wanted. The tips likewise served to be a great way to understand that other people have a similar interest like mine to know the truth more concerning this condition. I believe there are numerous more pleasant instances up front for individuals that find out your website.
Hola buenas, como andamos, he visto este portal navegando por Bing y de verdad creo que esta muy logrado, quizas intentaria tenerlo con mas posts al dia, gracias y sigue escribiendo.