Patrol Base Boldak, Afghanistan – A casual conversation with an infantryman, who’s had a few deployments here and in Iraq, reveals a happy history of heat, cold and general discomfort along the lines of “I lived in my vehicle for seven months.”
That is still par for the course — and a form of shared misery preferred by many Marines. But the procurement system has brought some smart comfort to enhance existing structures, such as these insulating tent liners I watched being installed here.
They look like quilted space blankets and are placed between the tent’s outer and inner liners.
Staff Sgt. Israel Maldonado, who installed several liners in a day of dusty hard work with Gunnery Sgt. Marcelino Barajas and any Marines nearby, said he found them by accident.
“I had ordered some new tents to replace some of the older ones here, but they sent these,” said Maldonado, who works with the company gunny in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, a Reserve battalion headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Maldonado is also cutting down on fuel consumption by installing netting with built-in solar panels that bring power into the tents.
No doubt all a part of the Marine Corps’ drive to be more “green,” but for one Marine, sleeping behind the liners after a night of patrolling, it was just a nice perk.
“Yeah, it’s a lot cooler. I had to get my sleeping bag,” his voice came from the darkness of an insulated tent.