Morning Routine

I’ve been in Kabul for 3 days now. We live in a 14-man tent. In
the tents are wooden bunks with make shift mattresses. When we turn the
lights out its pitch black, nothing but darkness.

The first night I was feeling the pain of not having my sleeping bag but then remembered half
way through the night, I had packed a pillow and some linen prior to
leaving Combat Skills Training at Ft. Dix. (Small victory) I leapt off
my bunk, rummaged through my bags and found two sheets, a wool blanket,
and a pillow. I made my bed, climbed in and covered up. Five minutes
later I was sound asleep. It seem like it hadn’t been 30 min before ski
was shaking me to wake up for morning chow.

Tired and dragging I slid off the top bunk. Meanwhile, Ski was tripping over gear and weapons
trying to find the lights. He managed to make his way over to them and
turned them on. Everyone else in the tent had already begun getting
dressed. Getting up in the morning is such a process. The male latrine
is across the camp; to get over there you have to get dressed, this
becomes a real pain when trying to get a shower. We get dressed in the
tent only to get to the shower and get undressed again. For those of you
who haven’t had to put on a military uniform, it’s a process. I really
think it’s the boots that make it a pain. Not only that, but our weapons
have to go with us everywhere. So here’s a snap shot of the process I go
through to get ready in the morning.

No matter where I’m at, I don’t wake up any later than 0530 as morning chow begins at 0500 and ends at 0730,
if there’s a chow tent which there is in this case. The goal is to be
the first one to the showers, in hopes that there will still be hot
water. If you’re on an Air Force base or camp you have a good chance of
taking a shower with warm or hot water, if you’re on an Army or Marine
post you can forget about the hot water, as the Soldiers and Marines
start taking showers at some stupid hour like 0300 or 0400. After waking
up and putting on my uniform, I gather everything I will need to take a
shower and prepare myself for the day’s mission to come, which doesn’t
seem like it would be a whole lot but let me tell you. I have to grab a
fresh par of boxers, a fresh pair of socks, a fresh undershirt, my
towel, my toiletry bag, my soap because it won’t fit in the damn
toiletry bag, my shower shoes, luffa, and most importantly vasoline and
lotion. Those last two items are pretty much mandatory for any person of
color especially during the winter months. Without them I would be
walking around ashy and dried out. Not a good look for me.

After gathering all these items I make my way over to the latrine. Upon
walking into the latrine, I grab a bottle of water. I’ll explain why
later. If I’m lucky there’s little to no line. If that’s the case, I get
all my stuff situated and start stripping. Now the rule for everyone, no
matter what service we’re in, is that we are suppose to take a combat
shower. A combat shower last for no more than two minutes. In and out!
You jump in, rinse off , soap up, and rinse off again. That’s it! And if
somebody catches you doing more than that; like just hanging out in the
shower, and the water has enough time to create steam, well there is
usually hell to pay. So for the most part, I try to stick with the combat
shower. So after doing my thing jumping in and out, ensuring that all of
me is clean, I began the getting re-dressed process. Now this portion of
the morning time routine can get a little sticky the reason being is by
this time several fellows have piled into the latrine and are waiting on
an open shower.

The latrine is a very small area, which consists of about
4 showers, 3 face bowls, two urinals, and four toilets. So when guys
pile into a place this small getting dressed and keeping up with all of
my belongings becomes tricky. Privacy at this point is out the window.
I’m not extremely bothered by that, but there’s always something
unnerving about bending over to put on my boxers with six or seven naked
guys lined up beside me or behind me. And, we always have the one crazy
kid that likes to slap people’s asses with his towel or whistle while
somebody’s bent over, yeah there’s always one. I don’t handle the towel
slapping shit well at all, and will put a person in their place real
quick for some nonsense like that. I don’t usually have a problem with
that though, as I keep a very serious look on my face, as if to say don’t
mess with this morning. LOL it’s my defense mechanism.

After managing to get dressed, I have to gather my things and make my way over to a face
bowl to brush my teeth and some mornings shave. I’m extremely lucky that
I don’t grow facial hair very fast! Most mornings I don’t have to worry
about it. Ok, so here’s the tricky part about brushing my teeth. The
water is not potable which means we can’t drink it. The only water that
can be consumed is bottled water. Bottled water is usually kept outside
of most facilities. On my way into the latrine each morning I grab a
bottle of water to brush my teeth. Brushing my teeth like this is such
a process but what choice do I have.

Getting prepared for war each morning is exhausting, to say the least.



  1. Kenny, keep your sense of humor; I know the feeling of having a group of women hanging around in a bay all waiting to shower. It’s totally weird.Many of us got up as early as 2:00 a.m to shower and have privacy.We were just in the field and not at war. Stay strong; you are doing a good job.

  2. OMG! I will never complain about my morning routine again!! LoL

    Grandmother is always anxious to hear your updates…said it is like waiting for the next chapter in a book…she hates when I tell her that’s the end. She was laughing alot with this one…cheered up her day 🙂

    I am, as always, your biggest fan.

    Stay safe…don’t drop your soap!!!


  3. Wow! That’s so crazy! Sure does put things into prospective. This entry was hilarious! I was laughing all the way through it! I could just picture your face while your doing some of those things. Haha! Of course I’m sure it’s not funny to you. I love you dude!


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