FORWARD OPERATING BASE HUNTER, Iraq - The Long Knife Brigade is building its second forward operating base in the first few months of its deployment to Iraq.
The two bases, FOB Garry Owen and FOB Hunter, are the two largest posts in an otherwise vast desert that weapon and contraband smugglers have used to transport lethal goods into Baghdad.
FOB Garry Owen, the first new Long Knife base, is adjacent to an Iraqi Army compound; the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment's FOB Hunter is being built on an old Iraqi airfield with only bombed-out aircraft hangars supplying shade for the Soldiers assigned to the Head Hunter Squadron.
FOB Garry Owen is the logistical hub for FOB Hunter, as well as smaller bases along the Iraq-Iran border.
"They bring supplies here, and then we load up our trucks and bring them to FOB Hunter," explained 1st Lt. Robert Duane, the leader of Troop D's distribution platoon. "We also provide security for civilian truckers so our troops can get supplies. This way, they're not living from shipment to shipment."
The Head Hunter Soldiers at FOB Hunter are surviving in what a four-time combat veteran, Sgt. Martin Borgers, called "pre-OIF I" conditions.
"When we moved out here this time, we had nothing," said Borgers, one of Troop D's refuelers. "Some of the bunkers are from the Iraq-Iran war in the '80s."