Bosnia & WTF I Was Doing There

Some more:

Over the past weeks it appears that the Factory Moles have been trying to escape from the confines of BLMF. A random series of trenches emanating from the main building have now circled most of the south western quadrant of the compound. These holes wind about the camp regardless of obstructions before them and it is not uncommon to see decking and walkways that seemed perfectly solid and permanent at nightfall cast aside like matchwood the next day. Later on the holes are filled with sand, which of course is washed away the moment that we have a Bosnia special rainstorm. Bearing in mind this is often the camp is now covered with numerous pitfalls for the unwary. The command structure maintains a complex charade that the holes are being dug to lay pipes and this is reinforced by lots of red plastic tape marked Opasno ! (Danger !), JCBs and local contractors leaning on shovels in a manner not seen in the UK since the days of union militancy. The only difference is that even the most dedicated British workman would find it hard to smoke as furiously as the Bosnians or indeed to start the day with slivo and continue it with regular ingestions of pivo. At the same time we had an assault by a pack of wild dogs, which mainly concentrated on taking over the helicopter pad. One of the aviators (no animal lover he) suggested breaking out the rifles to deal with the problem and expressed some consternation that aircraft were dodging the dogs rather than just landing anyway, although I imagine that apart from being messy this would be a potential source of foreign object damage to the aircraft.

For a change from this mayhem the Colonel decided to do a recce of another camp over which we may take command some time next year as part of the drawdown of British forces in SFOR. Our party was to include me as bag carrier and note taker, the Quartermaster in order to discuss QM type things and the new RSM as he fancied a drive out. The nightmare that Command and Control of this camp will present was rapidly made evident as it lies a good two hours drive away and this is on good roads that are still relatively clear before winter sets in. With any luck Communications will hold up and we can issue the necessary instructions to keep the place going once it is cut off, just as long as the Captain-Commandant of the camp doesn’t develop a Kurtz-like style and require termination with extreme prejudice. We were lucky enough to have as our driver one of the locals, known as Stoney, and so were treated to plenty of advice as to what to watch out for from the windows and some history, although understandably he was a little reticent about events during the war. Stoney’s explanation for the littering was about as probable as that of the chain of command for the mole holes in the factory as he attributed it all to the “F***ing refugees” who have “come from the country where they are all filthy”. In a couple of sentences he had displayed the Balkan lack of love for anyone different and also the propensity of some non-native English speakers (vide the previous RSM) to pick up profanity when learning the language. The Colonel, hearing our conversations about the local area and sights, speculated that Stoney and I would probably be in competition for the post of Minister of Tourism for Bosnia should one ever be required. Our business in Sipovo was completed fairly quickly, not least because the present Commander wanted rid of us as another recce conducted by an Infantry Company which was about to move in was to take place in the afternoon. Overall the camp is small but perfectly formed and while lacking the range of facilities at Banja Luka would be perfectly comfortable for a tour. Indeed the view of mountains from the outside dining area by the all-ranks canteen would rival the seating at many an Alpine café were it not for the immediate foreground of a hard-core paved parking area, lots of ISO containers and the ever present generators. There is, of course, a CD alley (where after a fierce price-war discs can be had for one Euro, as opposed to two-fifty elsewhere) and the town is within walking distance for real walking out rather than driving out as we have in Banja Luka (although I actually saw nowhere too auspicious to go). Sipovo being home to the Multinational Integrated Medical Unit including the helicopter borne Immediate Response Team, a sort of NATO “Thunderbirds”, the place is also jam packed with nurses but alas we saw none of these.

Having driven down via Mrkonjic Grad we decided to have a change of scenery and return on the Jajce road which incorporates a southern sector of Route Gull. The landscape included several villages and towns and so a further note bears making here regarding architecture in the Former Yugoslavia. As noted before even houses in the suburbs of large towns such as Split and Banja Luka have a fairly rural feel, surrounded as they are by haystacks awaiting onward transport, maize plots and assorted animals. No garden seems complete without an arbour of vines underneath which is invariably a table and chairs for al fresco dining and entertainment which must be most pleasant except when the vine grove is situated next to a busy main road and diesel fumes permeate the air. The houses themselves rise several storeys and tend to have at least one front door, one situated up a flight of stairs on the first floor, and an array of balconies. As noted before these can be a little hair raising as such necessities as banisters and balustrades seem to be the last feature added on the rare completion of the houses. Views through the windows can reveal anything from a completed sitting room through an unfinished concrete-grey box which is still fully furnished to huge piles of straw. Windows themselves are frequently rectangular but it is common to see ovals, circles and half circles letting in the light. As glass remains expensive this is only used for the best rooms and so many apertures are either left empty or covered in plastic sheeting. Roofs are generally covered in terracotta pantiles that could come from any era back to the Romans and beyond. A good tip to work out the ethnicity of a house’s occupants is to examine the roof. If it is pitched as familiar in the UK it is likely to be owned by a Serb, but if the roof is in a pyramid shape (known as the “four water” style”) it is likely to be the dwelling of a Muslim. Confusingly I have heard that in Sarajevo while the “four water” rule holds for the Muslims, a double-hipped truncated pyramid with no point indicates a Serb house and the pitched style that of a Croat. Pay attention, there will be a test. Because of the very heavy winter snowfalls in Bosnia some of these roofs can be pitched at extreme angles and the house underneath by comparison fairly tall and thin and when seen alongside the tree-clad mountains one expects to see Julie Andrews heaving into view wittering on about a few of her favourite things. Garden ornamentation is also popular and no Bosnian has really arrived until they have a selection of white concrete swans or unicorns for the very real chickens, goats and pigs to besport themselves around.

The road from Sipovo passes through a plain lined in the close distance by purple conical hills overlapping each other and sheltering the valley. To the side lies the river Pleva, a tributary of the Vrbas. At one point the river widens to form a huge lake which is popular for boating and has a several hundred metre rowing course marked out by buoys. Around the lake are picnic areas which were heavenly in the bright sun, and restaurants which for all their brutal modernism seemed magical places to dine and watch the sun setting over the nearby mountains. Of course this being post-war Yugoslavia and right on the Inter-Entity Border Line between Republika Srpska and the Federation, the area where some of the hottest fighting had taken place, several of the restaurants remain gutted, burnt and twisted by shells and other munitions. Furthermore the shore of the lake is choked with discarded plastic bottles and each lay-by vantage point has been used as a rubbish dump. “Refugees,” sniffed Stoney. At the end of the lake is a small waterfall and shortly downstream of this a weir where the turquoise water flows over a stepped series of giant horseshoes. On the bottom horseshoe stood a solitary fisherman, although we passed to quickly to see if he had had a good catch. Over the IEBL, Jajce was the next place of note. The town holds great significance in local history as it was here that Tito declared the creation of the Yugoslav federation during a conference in 1943. Before the war the town was predominantly Croat and Muslim, the latter shown by one bank of the river covered by “four water” roofs and a copper minaret catching the last of the sun filtering down over the precipitous hills into the valley. During the war the town, of strategic significance as it lies on a communication line to what was the Serb Krajina in Croatia, fell to the Serbs in 1992 after a siege lasting five months when the Croat HVO left the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other defenders, to fend for themselves. It was then seized back unopposed by both these armies when, in a further typically Balkan example of horse-trading, the Serbs retreated unmolested overnight. The town itself is built on a plug of rock rising from the floor of the narrow valley and in the middle of the river which forms some very pretty waterfalls. At the very top of this plug sits a castle within whose concentric defences are built the houses of the old town and a splendid square church tower. The high cliffs of the central massif have been eroded into strange patterns of holes and caves and some of the houses are precariously close to the edge. Indeed Stoney told us with some relish that he had witnessed one falling by degrees into the gorge below. Overall the town looks like an illustration from Tolkien, beautiful yet strangely unreal.

Heading north from Jajce on route Gull the valley closed in further. Having passed through a tunnel which looked as if a large drainpipe (complete with lip at both ends) had been laid down and the rock poured over it not completely covering each end, the road was now cut out of the vertical cliffs almost bare of vegetation. These cliffs are made up of diagonal strata in shades of grey stained in places with black and look like the pelt of a Siberian tiger. Occasionally the diagonals are interrupted by loops and whorls of huge fingerprints, the whole perfectly reflected in the calm emerald water of the Vrbas below. Naturally all this water has been put to use and at intervals along the river there are power stations, one with its insulators, capacitors and other general paraphernalia set in inverted teardrops hewn from the cliff like something from a Bond villain’s hideaway. Beneath the Jajce 2 dam the water boils over the rocks in the stream and indeed after the recent heavy rainfall the river overall seems more angry than before and because of the turbulence has taken on a sea green colour. In places there are standing waves and the river seems perfect for rafting or canoeing although it would probably take a helicopter to get the paddlers and their craft to the torrent. Route Gull continues in such manner, switching from bank to bank of the river over bridges (some destroyed in the war and rebuilt by SFOR, including one magnificent span painted a slightly incongruous red and yellow: relax, sir, it’s one of ours) and plunging occasionally into tunnels when the cliffs are too steep for the road to have been built in the open. From time to time an incredibly steep road leading to God knows where at the top of the cliffs cut away from the route up the side of the valley.

Soon we hit the familiar part of Gull, yet something was different. Whereas earlier in the year the valley was thickly covered with trees in leaf autumn had now arrived and the green all but gone. In some places there were no leaves at all and the grey tree trunks blended into the grey rock so the valley appeared totally denuded. Yet elsewhere the last leaves remained in a fabulous display of reds, oranges and yellows which followed the underlying strata in diagonal stripes to the river. This was magnificent and almost glowed in the sunlight set against the ice blue sky. Where the trees were out of the sun they took on a more muted hue as if an oriental carpet had been put out to air on the slopes, the colours darkened to more brick red, purple and copper shades. In places mist lay along the spines of the spurs dropping to the river adding to the beauty of the scene. As the valley opened out towards Banja Luka the herons and cormorants were catching fish, but not, unfortunately, stopping for a breather on signs saying “No Fishing”. On the way into town Stoney pointed out the outfalls from the hot springs which give Banja Luka (literally “Baths Port”) its name. Unnoticeable in the heat of summer they steamed in the autumn chill. Refreshed after a trip out, and content that the new part of the Empire was ripe for taking over, I returned to work to the inevitable heap of paperwork that had piled up in my short absence.
 

terroratthepicnic

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
You view of route Gull is exactly how I remember it from 96. Even now I can remember looking down into the river from one of the bridges and seeing a bus semi submerged in the middle of a torrent of purple/blue water. Also seeing an abandoned village high up in the mountains on the edge of a large plateau. It was on this trip from DJ barracks to BLMF that I first saw houses with bullet holes dotted accross the walls.

The tunnel you talk about seems surreal to me now, but I remember going in one side warm and sunny and coming out the other to snow piled higher than the coach we were travelling in.
 
Bored this morning so thought I'd stick one of the last of these entries up:

As part of the drawdown of NATO forces in the Balkans a programme of rationalisation of Locally Employed Civilian posts has been going on. Coupled to this the contract for managing facilities at BLMF has been changed leading to many civilian cleaners and laundry operators changing from direct employment by SFOR to working for a UK based contractor. This contractor has profit margins to consider unlike SFOR and so needed to shed further employees. In a nation like this where employment is difficult to find and wages very low working at an SFOR camp is almost like winning the lottery and so the posts are hotly competed for. Part of this is because in a woolly liberal way of thinking we pay what would be seen as a fair European minimum wage, forgetting that this is wildly disproportionate in the local economic climate. Eventually the redundancies were made (with the Commanding Officer having the unenviable task of handing out the Bosnian equivalent of the P45) and those left standing when the dust settled decided to have a celebratory meal, to which selected military personnel were invited as guests. We jumped at the invitation as not only an opportunity to get off camp but also to see the people we work with socially, the walking out restrictions in place at the moment precluding this for most SFOR personnel.

Great debate was entered into as to a choice of restaurant, on the part of the hostesses as they wanted to go to go to the Banja Luka area’s number one party venue; from the military as we had to choose somewhere that was cleared for hygiene and security; and from Mirna, my clerk, as the Country Music at the proposed location is not to her taste. Mirna is a refugee from Croatia, young, highly intelligent and a bit of an urban sophisticate and so not a big fan of the Bosnian favourite “Turbo Folk” which she refers to with a curl of the lip that would do a British teenager proud when discussing her parents’ tastes. The decision to go to the Jezero (“Lakes”) Restaurant was further complicated by the fact that it had been cleared for use by SFOR in the past but has now dropped off the list of approved venues. On checking, Security said that if Environmental Health were happy we could go and vice versa, so I crossed my fingers, booked the table and prayed that nothing would go wrong. Looking at the wrong end of a court martial is no fun at all. The day of the dinner dawned and it became evident that none of us actually knew the way to the restaurant and so we set up a complex arrangement to follow Dragana, one of the locals, in her car to the Jezero. This was in itself amusing as the group in the car had to wait outside the main gate until our arrival, drawing suspicious looks from the Guard Platoon who thought that the Factory was subject to a close target recce by a group of elite middle-aged Bosnian cleaning ladies, and because said car had no lights which is somewhat hazardous after dark on Bosnian roads, especially as there’s no street lighting and someone could be taking the cow for a last walk up the main road before bed. Our frantic signals from the minibus for Dragana to switch the lights on were taken as a sign we wished to go faster but nevertheless we arrived unscathed, the military ashen faced and Dragana’s car load completely unperturbed. One wit quipped through clenched teeth that she hadn’t lit up to save electricity or wear and tear on the headlight bulbs.

The restaurant itself was very large, new and shiny and obviously the destination of choice for the Banja Luka haut monde, judging by the vehicles in the car park which were decidedly less ramshackle than Dragana’s transport or indeed ours. Outside one could also admire the white swans on the eponymous lakes and note that these were real rather than painted concrete as seen in the gardens of the local well to do. As it was howling down with rain and dark we eschewed further examination of the surroundings and made our way inside to a light, airy and huge dining room with a bandstand at one end for the advertised Turbo Folk Orkestar. The bandstand was devoid of instruments but ominously held a bank of electronic organs which would not have looked out of place with a 1970s prog rock band. Later speculation suggested that the Jezero is quite so pristine as it is run by local gangsters and no one would dare mess with their gaff. We were seated and awaited the arrival of the remainder of our hostesses. Soon the table was packed with the cream of the British Army and a fair selection of the seven ages of Balkan womanhood, and the first in an interminable series of drinks orders went in. Because of the walking out regulations the military were constrained in their choice of beverage (myself most of all as I was armed escort for the evening, in Bosnia the equivalent of designated driver at home with as severe consequences for transgression) but the ladies tucked in to vast quantities of brandy and glasses of gin that would make an Admiral blanch. Conversation, initially stilted because of the language barrier, soon began to flow as the slivovic was sunk and understanding exact meanings became less and less important. Drinking toasts is very important and barely a minute passed without a shout of zivjeli ! (cheers !) or nasdravlje ! (good health !), a clinking of glasses and the quaffing of deep draughts of drink. I was informed in translation after a whispered conversation that I had caused mild offence during a toast by failing to look deeply into the proposer’s eyes, not draining my glass and for drinking mineral water in the first place. It has been noted that the Balkan people could teach the Irish a thing or two about remembering history (the fourteenth century battle of Kosovo Polje seeming as real and recent as this morning’s breakfast in the local imagination); to this I would add that local cleaning ladies could offer a masterclass to a pub full of bibulous Dublin drinkers and have many of the students retire hurt.

Eventually the food arrived, in huge portions and as excellent as I have come to expect. As with the Dalmatian specialities I had eaten while sailing the menu tended towards assorted grilled meat but it would be unwise to point out the similarities between Serbian and Croatian food to all but the most broad minded inhabitants of either nation. For example even the difference in pronunciation between the “S” sound at the beginning of crno vino (red wine) can mark out one’s ethnicity or origin and there are three words for bread (two sounding almost the same to western ears), each of which could cause offence if used in the wrong area. What astounded us most was that after the cries of prijatno (bon appetit) the ladies descended upon the food like a plague of locusts, the more so as they all tended to the willowy of figure. One can only assume this was their only meal of the day, they work out like fury or they have worms as big as lizards. One note on Bosnian dining etiquette: spirits need not be merely pre- or post-prandial beverages but are consumed with great gusto throughout a meal and it is impolite to smoke between courses. Keep a fag on the go throughout the meal. It is also important to have a mobile ‘phone which should be kept on at all times to allow text messaging and loud conversations in impenetrable Serbo-Croat. It should also be noted that any dish named after Prince-Bishop Petar Njegoš, the Serbian hero of Montenegro, immediately doubles the price when set against the common-or-garden variety. The only person not too impressed with the food was one of our Staff Sergeants who was horrified when his cucumber salad turned out to be about half a pound of chopped gherkins.
Half way through the meal the main event started. The lights dimmed, the piped music was faded out and the orkestar arrived on stage. He was a bit thin on the ground as only one of him had turned up, but armed with his battery of organs and a microphone he soon filled the room with swinging Bosnian sounds. From the noises he produced he was rapidly nicknamed Mickey Disco by the British contingent after the spoof Euro-Entertainer of that name on the television. Turbo Folk can be described as an unholy collision between a Greek wedding, a Palestinian funeral and the Eurovision Song Contest and seems to instil similar emotions amongst its listeners. Audience participation is also important and singing along, brandishing tambourines and dancing are all the order of the day. “Ah, this is a favourite song about a girl and a boy who are in love but cannot marry because their families are having a blood-feud” explained Dragana as a burst of jigging broke out. Our hostesses, who are generally demure and who we normally only see on a professional basis or as they queue like medieval supplicants for their pay every fortnight, now let rip like a hen night of Visigoths who have just been told that they have only one party left to enjoy before the end of the world. Between bits of grilled meat and gherkins, drags on cigarettes and large swigs of slivo, which was now arriving in jugs of a size that the thirstier pub-goer in Britain would use for beer, the ladies hopped up and cut a rug. When seated they still maintained perpetual motion with much manual gesticulation and even the Colonel joined in with an energetic hand-jive. “Here singer is telling of a girl and man who cannot marry because the man is very much older,” said Mirna, curling her upper lip splendidly. “She prefers rock and roll,” pointed out my other clerk Zorica, waving cigarette in one hand, tambourine in a second and somehow a glass of gin in another. “Who are you calling old,” muttered the Colonel, giving one of his famous smiles to Mirna. The military stolidly declined to dance, my excuse being that my pistol was supposed to be covert and the energetic quadrilles would cause my jacket to fly up and the concealed holster to be revealed. Eventually I very nearly did cave in and hit the floor when our hostesses were joined by a group of local men and cynically I could see a good photo opportunity and PR for SFOR of the British Army joining in with the their fun, but the moment passed. “This is a very sad song about a boy and a girl who cannot marry because they are cousins,” Natasha translated. “Can’t see anything wrong about that,” commented a Cornish soldier who will remain nameless.

By now the level of general enjoyment was on the pleasant side of hysterical and even I began to regret that I had not drawn a couple of extra rounds from the ammunition store to let rip with some celebratory fire. By now the translated conversations had descended to huddled whispering before the spokeswoman would, in a fit of giggles, say something along the lines of, “she says you have…” (insert attribute such as nice eyes, handsome smile, or laugh like hyena. Only joking about the last one). In return we were reduced to the odd dobro or iveli ! and a wave of the mineral water glass. We felt a little left out that we could not entertain so royally with a folk song and a suggestion that we deliver a quick rendition of “Four-and-twenty virgins” was rejected as it would probably have lost something in the translation. At one point the translations became a little risqué and at one suggestion which I did not overhear the Colonel very nearly bit through the stem of his pipe. At just the right moment I noticed out of the window that our minibus had already arrived to take us home and slipped out to say we were on our way. The Naval leading Hand who was acting as escort noted that we’d better hurry up or we’d be adrift for the eleven p.m. curfew and so with regret I went in to explain that the bus would soon turn into a pumpkin if we didn’t get our skates on. There were some complaints from the military, but when I explained that staying for a drink would lead to charges, punishment and even worse driving home in a well refreshed Dragana’s car all insubordination ceased. Before we were allowed to leave we were asked to pose with the ladies for photographs which took some time as each wished to be photographed alone and then with her friends draped over each of the soldiers individually and collectively and this had to be done on a battery of cameras so none was left out. It was as bad as the photo shoot before the CO’s summer walk, which seemed like aeons ago.
Despite having to leave, it was a lively group of troops that piled into the minibus. We speculated how many of the ladies would appear in the office the following day, at what time and in what state bearing in mind that more jugs of slivo were ordered as soon as the cameras had been put away. In fact like true pros they were all in good and early. At around lunchtime I became aware of fits of giggling coming from the staff room and went off to investigate. A quorum of the ladies from dinner were gathered, one or two of them in such paroxysms that they could barely raise their heads. Although I may never get the full story, in the absence of husbands the celebrations had continued until approximately two in the morning, and had included further slivo and dancing including dancing on the chairs and then for the braver souls on the tables. Even Mirna had loosened the upper lip and joined in. One who had seemed particularly reserved and librarianesque (although willing to talk) had repeatedly fallen over before breaking off a heel from her rather high shoes. A group of Australian tourists was also befriended and enjoined to take part where the boring Cinderellas who were the British had to flee back to Castle Factory before the bell tolled. I could get very little more sense as one of my normally reliable interpreters was lying on the floor in stitches and the other had suddenly become coy, especially when the Australian men were mentioned. Only the photographs may tell the truth.
 
Capt P. this is excellent but I have a short attention span and am pretty lazy. Any chance you can link a PDF for your adoring public?
 
Capt P. this is excellent but I have a short attention span and am pretty lazy. Any chance you can link a PDF for your adoring public?

Thanks for your kind words. No sure how I would go about doing this .pdf link thing & the original is squirreled away on a PC elsewhere. Will look into it.
 
It took a week for the 'rationalized Locally Employed Civilian personnel' to erase all the monstrous porn from the computers left behind by the Welsh Guards when they pulled out.
 
It took a week for the 'rationalized Locally Employed Civilian personnel' to erase all the monstrous porn from the computers left behind by the Welsh Guards when they pulled out.

Ye Gods! I thought there was enough down in CD Alley in the special racks one had to ask to be shown (as the Soldiers told me). Some of that stuff was very wierd indeed. It was also rumoured that one of the shacks was also a knocking shop.
 
Ye Gods! I thought there was enough down in CD Alley in the special racks one had to ask to be shown (as the Soldiers told me). Some of that stuff was very wierd indeed. It was also rumoured that one of the shacks was also a knocking shop.

Not quite Boz, but the biggest selling items in the Boxhead PX at Camp Film City were plastic Bobby's helmets and pink, furry hand cuffs. I kid you not.

In Sarajevo, during the nastiness, the UN had a copy of a film called "Al Parker Gets Turned On", borrowed from a solicitor in London, which featured a chap shoving traffic cones up his hoop.

I suppose some poor bugger had to smuggle that in through the tunnel under the runway.
 
Not quite Boz, but the biggest selling items in the Boxhead PX at Camp Film City were plastic Bobby's helmets and pink, furry hand cuffs. I kid you not.

It always astounded me what the various PXs out there sold. I believe I mention it above, but who on earth goes on Ops & then buys a full set of Le Creuset or a car stereo? The EFI was particularly odd, selling bits & pieces for use with MP5s even though I suspect those who are issued that kind of kit would have all the bits they needed.

I was not immune & came home with a nice laptop & some Bianchi holster kit, although I could at least justify the latter as there was a shortage of the issue stuff & as I wasn't officially armed with a pistol there were jobs when a rifle (all that Captains & below were allowed by RTMC) would have been completely inappropriate.
 
Ye Gods! I thought there was enough down in CD Alley in the special racks one had to ask to be shown (as the Soldiers told me). Some of that stuff was very wierd indeed. It was also rumoured that one of the shacks was also a knocking shop.

If you mean the CD Alley at Banja Luka I think that rumour had been going around for years.
I think it was all a marketing ploy. Everyone always had a mate of a mate that had been there and that the code word was to ask the girl for a certain CD but no one knew what it was.
Then you get half the lads on camp there every lunchtime trying to listen in to find out the code word, and incidentally buying lots and lots of cds and dvds while they're there.

Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Crapatalk and a head dobber
 
You and I were at BLMF the same time. I was also a STAB. I enjoyed your recollection of Chilwell

Thanks fot that, Hantslad. It was quite an organisation!
 
Thanks for your clear descriptions, I did two tours back to back in the regulars and only felt confusion on what our mission was and who we had to protect. Still feel that way almost 20 years later. The places and situations you describe are all too familiar.
 
My first tour was wearing a UN capbadge, I had a short stint at the HQ in Split. Will always remember picking coffins with an RLC SSgt from a catalogue to send our boys and girls in to ship home cause the UN was paying and not the famillies we always chose the most expensive oak cases with solid brass handles and fitments.
 
Thanks for your clear descriptions, I did two tours back to back in the regulars and only felt confusion on what our mission was and who we had to protect. Still feel that way almost 20 years later. The places and situations you describe are all too familiar.


I'm not surprised, what with the amount of drinking that took place out there.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Drinking? I once got through 6 cigarettes in 40 mins and I don't even smoke.
 

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