BAQUBAH, Iraq (Army News Service, Oct. 31, 2006) - When Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, arrived at Forward Operating Base Warhorse early this month, many wanted nothing more than a warm bed and a place to call home. They may not be "home," but they do have a place to make their own.
The Soldiers will live in containerized housing units, or CHUs, which are shipping containers that have been modified with hard floors, windows and air conditioning. Each CHU can house up to three Soldiers, and most are equipped with beds and refrigerators.
Some 3rd BCT Soldiers are building what they can to make their CHUs home, while others just want to hang pictures and posters to make their living spaces theirs.
"All I'm going to do is hang up pictures, flags and music posters on my walls," said Pfc. Nicholas Towler, Company B, 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd BCT, and a native of Mustang, Olka. "I'm going to put up what ever reminds me of being at home," he added.
Spc. Robert Smith, Spc. James Szobota and Spc. Daniel Kawakami will room together for their year in Iraq. All part of Company D, 1-12 CAB, they've agreed their CHU's best feature is the front porch built off the front door.
"The best thing about the room is the porch," said Smith, a native of Roseburough, N.C.
"That and the air conditioning," added Szobota, a native of Hickery, Pa.
The porch was crafted by previous units who added their own personal touches to the CHUs. It has high ceilings, and mosquito nets surrounding the walls keep air flowing in and pesky mosquitoes out.
"Sitting on the porch here really isn't any different from sitting on a porch back at home," said Kawakami, a native of Almyra, N.Y., who spent half of his last deployment living in a tent. He said he hopes to soon build a tree stand that will keep their gear off the floor.
The Soldiers all agree that where they are living might not be the Hilton, but it is better than living in tents for a year.
"When we arrived at FOB Warhorse I expected us to be living in tents," said Szobota. "So this is a nice surprise."