We love sharing stories from the field and this is a good one. The Pat Tillman Memorial USO at Bagram Air Base found a creative solution to a vexing problem…
Picture a dingy room gazing into fields of nothing, each room has a different view. Your job is to stay awake for 10-12 hours and stare and watch for anything out of the ordinary. You are not allowed to bring your iPod a book or anything that could distract you from your job.
Keeping morale high could be a hard thing, right?
Well…that’s where the Pat Tillman Memorial USO stepped in. We were notified by a volunteer, A1C S. who works in Charlie Sector, that they really could use the USO’s help with procuring radios. I asked him how many towers where in Charlie Sector. There the plan was hatched. We then hit the on base PX and ransacked the electronics department (now when I say department I mean 3 shelves) and purchased the corresponding number of Radios for each tower. Those apparently turned out to be all the radios on the shelf.
After the purchase we loaded up the truck and blazed the main road on Bagram Air Field going a full 25 KPH! (Max on-base speed limit.) We traveled on the pot-holed filled roads around the perimeter (at times there was no road) to get to each Charlie tower.
Surprise! You just received a radio courtesy of your local USO! The Airmen at each Tower were ecstatic and very appreciative of this delivery. It was like Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa all over again. These radios have the capacity to play CDs, MP3s and of course your local radio stations. Since it has MP3 capability, Airmen can download music or lectures onto thumb drives and plug it into the radio, thus filling the hours of previously stale air with their favorite jams or podcasts to help keep their eyes attentive and spirits lifted.
After all…improving morale is a USO specialty.