It’s Not Just What You Wear, It’s Why You Wear It…
The heat out here is something else. It’s hard to express how hot it gets. And how hot you get as an individual in it. When the ambient air temperature is greater than body temp…that’s wrong. It means that at times it’s physically impossible to get cool. I have seen people purposefully jump into an irrigation just to get some relief from the heat. It’s not advisable to do so…the smell alone can often put you off and you never know WHAT might be in there…remember we are in a countryside without sewers…
Most of the time though, we are NOT on a patrol. People in the PBs and CPs can relax and try and find a way of getting cool. People sit outside their tents in shorts. Some of the more enterprising ones have had paddling pools sent out from home which they fill up with water from the well. Most of the time you wear shorts and a tee-shirt.
The other day we had a visit from a General. And because Generals can’t see people in shorts for some reason, our relaxed dress of wearing the issued Multi-cam shorts and sandals with some sort of military tee-shirt was stiffened up to mean we had to wear trousers, socks and boots. Thankfully we could still wear our normal tee-shirts, but the difference in the comfort level when in long trousers to when in shorts is amazing.
Here’s a bit of a secret. It’s so hot that most people out here don’t bother with underwear when cutting around camp. It just gets hot and sweaty…But of course, once you go out of the gates on a patrol things change. Obviously you can’t bomb around Afghanistan in a pair of flip-flops and some beech shorts. As soon as you go out, you are fully dressed up in all the gear you need to keep you safe. All that kit has a dramatic effect on you in the heat and the level of effort you have to put in to move about. It raises the very serious risk of heat injuries. Whilst in the base you are safe to get your flesh out. You go out almost virtually covered. Helmet and body armour is the obvious. But then there are the gloves you need to wear. The eye-protection. Hearing protection. A big pair of boots. Bomb pants.Whoa…Bomb Pants? What? I hear you ask. Well. ..
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