Saturday, May 30, 2009

It’s Not the Humidity, It’s the Heat

Some have asked about the weather here. In a word, it’s hot. For a second word, it’s dry. For the next several months, we won’t see a drop of rain. The predicted temperatures for today through Monday are 100/68 (68 is the lowest temp I’ve seen in my 3 weeks here), 104/75, and 106/79. Although it gets cool at night, by 0800 it is in the 90s. Don't feel sorry for me though. My CHU (containerized housing unit) is well air-conditioned and I have an air conditioner in my office that I can adjust the temperature for and turn on/off. Because of the kind of work I do, about the only times I am exposed to the heat is going to/from work, meetings, and meals. The people who take the brunt of the heat are the Security Forces (SF, aka police), aircraft maintainers, airfield operators, construction, and others like that. They deserve credit for getting the mission done under these conditions.

The other day I had the opportunity to visit the base’s East ECP (entry control point), basically a base gate. This entrance is used by the local nationals (LNs, we have an acronym for everything) who need to come on base either to work or visit the Air Force Theater Hospital (As an aside, our hospital does an awesome job taking care of our troops, the locals, and even the enemy. The day I visited the ECP, a 5-month old was brought to the hospital because he wasn’t breathing properly. They resuscitated and took x-rays of the baby and we saw the family leaving as we were coming back on base). I spent an hour walking around seeing how our SFs provide base security and process people. I was VERY impressed. I’m grateful the men and women of SF are there. It is hot and dangerous work. Because of the threat, they have to constantly wear their body armor and helmet. By the end of my hour touring the ECP, I was soaked to the bone with sweat. Kudos, and prayers, to them and all the Airmen, Soldiers and Marines who are patrolling in the cities, villages, and countryside.

I said it is dry, but I should also say it is dusty. The dust gets everywhere. Sometimes the sun looks more like the moon because of all the dust in the air (makes for beautiful sunsets though). My green boots now look tan. We are told to clean our air conditioner filters weekly because of it. It does rain here though, from October/November through March/April. And you know what happens when you add rain to dirt, you get mud. Apparently it gets so muddy here that you have to take an extra pair of shoes with you everywhere so you can change into clean ones when you go into a building. We even have something called MudCon (mud condition). When MudCon is in effect, vehicles must be sprayed down with pressure washers any time they are going near where aircraft operate. That way they don't drop mud near an aircraft and the aircraft then sucks it up into its engine. It is definitely never dull here. :)

I find that I’m adjusting to the weather. Last week I wasn’t feeling well. I went outside into the heat (probably high 90s at that time) and immediately felt better. Also, I find I don't start sweating as soon or as much when I am outside. But I still get to work in air conditioned comfort, so slap me if you ever hear me complaining about the weather.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds just like an Arizona summer...if you can find a patch of shade and a slight breeze, it's almost tolerable! Stay well.