2007, F350,6.0 PSD,4X4, Lariat, CC, DRW, SCT, Garrett Powermax, Banks turbo back, ARP's, ITP RR, Airdog II 130/75, Firestone air bags, Autometer gauges.
2002 Explorer 4.6 Eddie Bauer
"Whatever You Are Be a Good One". Abe Lincoln
I arrived in country Monday April 16th. after spending the weekend in Dubai, UAE waiting for the flinal flight.
Spent almost a week at a transient camp facility before getting to this Forward Operating Base.
I was told about 5000 employees a month were passing through the transient camp, this includes new-hires, those coming & going on R&R, and those leaving employment. I was in a very large 'circus' style tent that I figured could hold about a 100 bunkbeds. That tent is scheduled to be replaced, but until then the leaks due to the seasonal rains are soaking many mattresses and is some places no bunkbeds were set as the leakage was deamed too much.
Now that I'm at a Forward Operating Base (FOB), I'm fortunate in that I have a private room in an Alaska Tent, while others live in these tents in an open bay bunkbed arrangement. My room is simple, about 7' high plywood walls with open tops, a bunkbed so I can store stuff on the upper bed, a latteral file cabinet as my dresser, a plastic three-drawer on casters as a night table, and a small lockable cabinet for valuables.
Four of us have a bunkroom in the back of this tent, the front of the tent is the office where I work. In comparison others around here have their office in their room, so their bunkbed is behind a sheet as a curtain and their desk is between their bed and the door.
Its a couple hundred yards walk to the Dining Facility (DFAC), about a hundred to the shower facility and decent toilets (port-a-johns are interspersed), laundry is a short hike. Considering when I was in-country back in 2010, I have better sleeping quarters but a much greater hike to everything else; the food here is better than at the transient camp but not as good as back then.
Afghanistan is already winding down. I'm told that the DFAC will close down early this Summer and my group will be one of the last to leave later this Summer. I'm told my job is in high demand and so I'll be reassigned, that suggests that many may be released before their year is up due to 'lack of work.' When I arrived in-country we were briefed that we came onboard at the end of the hiring phase, that going forward recruitment would drop off.
On the news yesterday I read that Afghanistan and the U.S. have aggreed to a security pack that picks up from 2014 to 2024. Iirc the US will maintain a few bases here and not involve itself locally nor use Afghanistan as a launching point, I figure that mean the U.S. stays here to protect Afghanistan from whatever external threats that may arise. I suppose that my job would continue on but at a lower total compensation as I'm presuming that by then the country would be reclassified as less hazardous.
Compared to my job the last time I was over here, this is as dream job.
My work day is 13 hours straight hours, with an hours time to go eat versus 10 hours stretched across the 24-hour day. I still have time to get other things done too thus my off time is not booked up with too much other stuff that I need to take care of.
I spend the majority of my time in the air conditioned office because the equipment outside doesn't need much attending to. I work the night shift and so I'm about in sync with family hours back home, just as I'm posting now.
Now that I'm settled in, I'll try to get back to more frequently.
We actually make less on our 'weekend' (last two days of the payroll week).
This is because of the way my company pays us.
When I worked aviation contracts state-side I noticed that for a particular job skill the overall prevailing wage is about the same country wide, but the taxable wages versus per diem wages on an hourly basis varies.
The higher the per diem in an area then the lower the 'basic hourly rate' and when added together mostly comes out the same.
Ovetime was all taxable and had a multiplier.
The company I'm working for this time does it as follows:
We only get 'uplift' (i.e. paid for the situation over here) for the first five days of the work week and then only for the first eight hours of those work day.
The remaining four hours of the regular work day is at the base hourly rate (no uplift) which is recorded as overtime hours for accounting purposes but there is no OT multiplier like time and a half.
The last two 12-hour days of the payroll week are booked as overtime, and without any 'uplift' and without any OT multiplier.
The 'killer' wages accumulate simply because of all the hours worked plus the expatriot tax advange taken toghether affords one a greater take-home pay.
If my residency was in a non-income tax state I'd be even better off.
The base wages on an hourly basis are real low compared to what a similar skill would be paid in Connecticut.
I might make more back in Connecticut than say working in the gulf coast states with the nicer situation there, and with that the government doesn't afford the employers to pay as much up-lift.
We only get paid well because the government's contract with the employer stipulates the rates commensurate with the overall situation.
These up-lift rates are uniform across the country, when I go on MRE's I don't get additional compensation.
Call it what ya want, Divine intervention works for me.
I was told to go to the company's clinic right after I get back to the main base.
Get to the base mid morning, sick call by one posting was at 2 in the afternoon.
Took the shuttle over and get to sick call and there I get the run around.
First its the wrong tent, this tent is for annual medical renewals.
I'm led over to a building where I'm promptly thrown out.
Sorry they say, the 2pm posting is in error, innoculations are now and sick call is at 4 pm.
No I can't hang around, I have to come back later.
I then asked to you attend to dental issues, and they said nope.
I ask what are you going to do about my tooth later that you coulding do now.
Nothing they replied, so I said great and your telling me to come back later for Nothing!
They call the shuttle to make a special trip to pick me up.
I'm told of a private practice dental office on base and I get dropped off there about 2:30.
They said I have the best insurance options, and they have an opening at 4 pm.
The dentist checks me out, gives me good news that my lower tooth is intact and its a simple job of giving me a new permanent filling while I'm there.
The dentist says, plan on a crown when you get the chance.
I paid $99 cash out of a ~$600 bill.
I was told the clinic is expensive for the services they do provide, but that's much cheaper than the free flight to Dubai after which you put yourself up at your expense until you get patched up and sequenced in for the free flight back.
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