Note: These are the thoughts of a gay soldier — a North Carolina
native — who has been deployed to Iraq. Because of the military’s “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, he must remain anonymous.
The weather here is as fickle as the most frigid to hot gay man you could
ever meet. I got off the plane in Kuwait to cold weather and the smell
of jet fuel nearly knocked me over. The drive from the airport to the camp
where I’m currently stationed took about two hours and the charter
buses driven by the locals was like riding on one of the roller coasters
at Carowinds. The drivers are crazy and drive with a reckless abandon,
like a bat out of hell. I thought at points we would have an accident.
After arriving at camp things have been okay. The smells of the porta potties
will knock you over — it’s not the best of smells to wake up
to. Especially after a great work out or morning chow. The chow is in between
the worst catering you can think of and Denny’s breakfast; lunch
and dinner are like school cafeterias. I eat salads and fruit and occasionally
they will make something they can’t mess up. There aren’t American
soldiers cooking in the kitchen — our meals are supplied by civilian
employees trying to Americanize food they aren’t accustomed to cooking.
The tents we are staying in are air conditioned but the dust is enough
to kill you, it’s barely comfortable. I can’t wait to get to
my permanent duty station so I can “Martha Stewart” my private
quarters and make it into a place of tranquility and aloneness.
We have 70 guys in a tent. Most people would think there would be an edge
of homoeroticism, but there really isn’t. It’s a melding of
all kinds of souls and most are just plain nasty. The atmosphere here is
very hetero, hyper-masculinity everywhere. Sometimes it’s funny just
to watch people and hear the stories they tell, but I have to say I don’t
even look at people here in any particular way. From my perspective I’m
here to do a job and get the hell home to Charlotte. Life is not bad, training
is hard at points, but life is totally safe now, at least for another five
days until I get up north. Missing you all.
Soon to be reporting from Iraq, your friend and soldier from Charlotte.