By the first week in December of 1990, we had to move. The beach that we were camped out on was supposed to be underwater soon as the winter tides changed. We piled into a bus that was an eye opener for me — the last quarter of it was boarded up with plywood. That section was for the Saudi women, so the men wouldn’t have to look at them.
We passed sand dunes blown perfectly smooth by the wind. It would be the only time I’d ever see sand dunes in Saudi Arabia like in the movies. Every other place was simply flat, flat, and more flat. Miles and miles of miles and miles.
Our new location was called Cabin Village, which was controlled by the Air Force. The name came from the structures, which were collapsible cabins that could be packed on a plane. Once they were off-loaded from the plane, they were stretched out accordion like to making living quarters. The Air Force had it seriously lucky. We discovered that the cabins were air conditioned.
The latrine and shower tent was also indoors. The toilets flushed, and the showers had warm water. After nearly 30 days with what the Army had provided us, this was a luxury!
But this was my first reaction, December 6, 1990:
“This new location we moved to is almost like a prison. We’re living in Air Force hooches, and there is a fence surrounding us.”
Cabin Village was encased in cyclone fence topped with barbed wire and reinforced the fact we really couldn’t go anywhere. The Air Force also didn’t like us being there. We carried rifles, which were quite frightening evidently to them, and gas masks, which were even more frightening. Um, hadn’t they read the same news stories we did?
My commander agreed we could store the rifles in a cabin that had been turned into the arms room, but he said no to the masks. The Air Force zoomies were just going to have be nervous.
This time, all the women were put into the same cabin, much to the chagrin of the women from my platoon. We didn’t get along well with the women from the other platoons because of the age difference. They were all 18-20 years old, and we started at 26. That’s a big age gap. The men in our platoon were more closer to our ages, so we could relate better to them. Instead, we now had to listen to the 20 year olds intently discuss the shower habits of some of the men. None of us wanted to know why this was so important, or worse, how they were getting their information.
Alas, air conditioning, flush toilets, and warm showers were not in our future for very long. We were off to our next location soon after we arrived.