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"Iraq, The Story Unfolds" -- How we Live

Today I am going to talk about the living and working conditions for my unit here in Iraq.  Before I start this blog I first need to say not to assume that this is the way that everyone lives or works, every unit is different . . and I mean that literally, every unit lives differently, has different "anemities", different schedules, different jobs, so this is just for one simple unit in Iraq.

  The Camps, or FOB's -- We started our tour working in a huge building in Camp Victory . .one of the biggest, nicest bases in Iraq.  Many would say it is a resort compared to the others.  In fact I know several units that send people to Victory for rewards, for a few days off.  Camp Victory is attached to Camp Liberty, Stryker, and BIAP (Baghdad International Airport).  The three are connected so you do not "leave the wire" to travel to the next.  Many people have normal vehicles to travel in, mostly you see Ford Explorers and Chevy Trailblazers.  There are several swimming pools, several movie theaters, several dining facilities (so far the best dining facilities in Iraq (my opinion)), several small "PX's" (post exchanges), similar to a convenience store, and one very large PX, similar to a super wal-mart.  They also have several huge gym's, and other various places for morale. 

   Later we moved and are now at a different much smaller FOB.  This one is about 2 miles wide by 1 mile long (est.).  We only have 2 dining facilities, much smaller less selection.  We have 1 PX located in the back of a tractor trailer and 1 that is about the size of a small gas station.  The selection of stuff is very limited and usually out of stock due to the massive amount of troops vs. the very small shipments that they receive.  As of right now most of the stuff that i need to buy I just order on line or have my wife send me.  We have no chapels here on camp yet, one is coming soon, right now we use the dining facilities between meals.  We also have 2 very small gyms, one with and one without AC, (which is one amenity that you cannot live without over here).  That about covers it for the bases.

  The work areas (unit specific) -- Some would say that I got lucky this tour (in fact almost everyone but me) says I got lucky, im in an office.  Here's what I can say about the work area's.  We started in a really nive big headquarters building.  We had office space simular to what you would see in a movie . .cubicle after cubicle.  Not really much to say about it.  Not as clean as you may picture as sand storms and dust collect so quickly that it is almost impossible to keep everything clean.  This includes computers, they need to be dis-assembled about every two months to ensure the vents are not clogged.  other than that it is the typical office with cubicles. 

  When we moved it started the same way, we were in a large building full of cubicles again.  Since then as our unit was deemed not important enough (I suppose), we moved into what we call "our little trailer park".  We found some make shift trailers, and luckily we have a Carpenter on staff.  We found little pieces of scrap wood all over the camp and have used it to re-make our floors, desks, shelves, anything else that is needed.  Talk about finding a way to make anything work.  It actually looks pretty nice.  Kinda funny since it is the same wood, the wood matches the flooring (with the exception of my trailer, we found real flooring for it).  Here is a pic of me in the office.

My Office


The living areas -- This was the most drastic change for us.  We started living in "CHU's".  Central Housing Units.  They are nice . . . two person rooms with just enough room for two single beds, two wall lockers, and a shelf with a tv on it.  I'd say about half the size of your typical hotel room (well a hotel room on my budget).  However when we moved half us got to move into CHU's here, the other half (myself included) live in tents.  Tents . . . in the middle of the desert . . . well it could be worse.  The tents were originally from the British and had what was called "coffins" for your bed.  They were small bunkers in the floor with concrete blocks surrounding it . .I guess it was safe but not very comfortable.  Anyway there are about eight people per tent so its not real bad but no privacy anymore . . .not like I expected any when I joined the military anyway.  But it is livable. Still cant wait to get back to real houses and real stores and most importantly . . .my family.

My "Coffin"

Hopefully this gives a bit of insight to the living conditions . . .any questions feel free to ask.  I tell you what I can.  Anyway, thats all I have for today . . see you in the next one.

Nicholas S. Bush


Keller Williams Realty

Knoxville, TN


Comment balloon 21 commentsNicholas Bush • June 02 2009 07:26AM


Nicholas, I am thrilled to find your post and wanted to tell you to be safe, keep writing, and thank you for doing what you do.

My youngest son (also named Nicholas) spent some time touring the lovely area courtesty of the US Army and the memories are still so fresh for him (and for me!)

Bless you.

I also had to laugh when I read about what you do with scrap wood.  That and US Army issued duct tape works wonders!

Posted by Kris Wales, Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI (Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center) about 11 years ago

Thanks for keep us posted in Iraq and I enjoy your posts. Be safe my friend

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) about 11 years ago


Wow, talk about "using what you have", huh?

And I image you one day sitting in a posh office, big fancy desk with your feet propped up...missing your duct taped, "trailer park".

One can dream, right?

Thanks for sharing....and thanks for what you do for us!

Posted by Sheila Moran,, RE/MAX Access, 210-32 (RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels)) about 11 years ago

Thank you for sharing about what life is like for you over there. I appreciate the service you (and the others) are doing for our country!!

Posted by Dave Edwards (Dave Edwards Realty) about 11 years ago

Wow...I'm glad that I've hit this post too.  Thanks for defending our country and me personally even under your circumstances.  I've prayed for you, your wife and family and for your safety.

Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) about 11 years ago

Thanks for sharing this information. And thank you very much for your service!

Follow me on Twitter:

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 11 years ago

I was very impressed with your post this morning. Thank you very much sharing it with AR. I always enjoy your posts. Keep up the great work.

Posted by Eric Villaverde (DoubleTree Home Inspection Services L.L.C.) about 11 years ago

Wow quick replies . . oh yeah its morning time for you all, I usually post in the morning (or well the middle of the night for you all).

Roy - sorry I cannot follow you right now, Twitter along with many other well known sites are blocked on military servers.  I dont know whether to say if its a good thing or not that AR is not blocked. . . it probably will be soon with my luck usually blog sites are not allowed.

Any thats to all that support I always say this and it never gets old . .we cant do it without your support

Posted by Nicholas Bush (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago

I found your post very informative this morning. I always enjoyed reading your material. Have an outstanding day and make it happen.

Posted by Katiejo Franks (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 11 years ago

Nicholas - Your posts are very informative, well written, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences in Iraq. This puts some perspective on how many things we take for granted on a daily basis.  Thanks for your service and for sharing your story. Stay safe and keep us posted.   

Posted by Judy Jennings, Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA (The Green Company) about 11 years ago


Thanks for sharing your experiences. Get through this tour safely. I have many young friends that are serving. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Keep sharing when you can.

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, (Meyers Realty) about 11 years ago

Hi Nick, thanks for the look into your life! Big wake up call for what we take for granted here. Thank you for all you do. Stay safe and I will see you on your next post!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 11 years ago

Nick, I almost missed this and your last post which I'll get to after this.  Good thing I subscribed to your blog.  I imagine writing these articles is cathartic for you and it certainly puts a different perspective on our troops over there for the rest of us. 

Stay safe.

Posted by Geri Sonkin, Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert (Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103) about 11 years ago

Your posts are so very interesting, Nicholas.  Thanks again for writing!  Do you have fans or anything to help stir/cool the air in your tent?

Posted by Dianne Deming (RE/MAX Realty Group) about 11 years ago

Definately sparse living conditions.  Glad you guys were able to find some stuff and improve your conditions at least.

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Nicholas - Thanks for keeping us up to date. I always look forward to your next post.


Posted by Mike Eddy, Maui Real Estate Broker (Coldwell Banker Island Properties) about 11 years ago

keep em coming for as long as you can...I always check for your updates in my blogroll, glad to see you're safe and still able to blog away

Posted by Brian Kuhns, Fort Wayne Real Estate by Brian Kuhns (Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber) about 11 years ago

Nicholas, thanks for sharing your life with us. My son is on the Ike, the living conditions are tight. The beds are stacked up 3 ways on each side with no head room. I would be claustophic.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 11 years ago

Hey, Nick!  Are the tents air conditioned at least? 

Your descriptions are just amazing!  When we tell someone thank you for your service, you're helping all of us to understand exactly what that entails!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 11 years ago


I'm certain many of us would love to send a care package. You mentioned items that are in short supply. What are some of them? What is your APO address?

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) about 11 years ago

hey nick its kayla i just wanted to know how you have been any way when ever you get the time plz txt or call me 606-875-7710

-love you bye

Posted by kayla about 11 years ago