As far as camps in Afghanistan go...Camp Nathan Smith isn't a bad place
to be...not at all.
Once occupied by the Taliban, it was retaken by Canadian coalition
forces in 2005. Years before that, it had been used by occupying Soviet
forces in part as...and I'm not kidding...a vegetable canning facility.
There are eerie signs remaining of what took place in the not too
distant past. Legend has it that this plank, high on a tower, was where
perceived enemies of the Taliban took their last steps. The courtyard
was a prisoner holding center...the wall where the most unfortunate were
lined up and executed. The bottom line, this is still a warzone. That
fact hammered home a little over a month ago when the camp was attacked
by rockets, recoilless rifle and machine gun fire. Suicide bombers were
repelled by Nathan Smith defenders before the wall was breeched.
On a lighter note....the camp can claim a bubbling fountain, a
zoo...that's right a zoo..and a bustling bazaar complete with
enterprising young businessmen.
Camp traffic is two-fold; MRAPs heading out on missions throughout the
Province along with a steady stream of helicopter take-offs and landings
which provide a fairly constant whomp...whomp...whomp of background
Accommodations are comfortable for this part of the world. Both air
conditioned tents and small dorm-style hooch's with communal latrines
The mess halls are nearly always open and outstanding. The gym is loaded
with weights and workout gear. It might be the most popular spot in
camp. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet...I really really hope
it. So much to do...so little time to do it....
Camp Nathan Smith Sign
Plank where prisoners were allegedly forced to walk prior to
execution by hanging
Camp courtyard and former holding area for prisoners
Camp fountain and gathering place
MRAPs heading out on missions
My hooch...always the messiest no matter where I am
Rhode Island national guard..."Baaaastin Bruins and the Pat's..best
two teams on the face of the earth...I mean along with the saaaaaax of
Stray dogs that live outside the door of my hooch. They frighten me...