Helmand Province, Afghanistan — It's not even officially winter here at FOB Hassanabad, yet temperatures routinely fall below freezing at night.
The tents that house young Marines have no heat. The only water jets from a 3-inch-wide hose. It's cold. There is no hot water.
There are sun bags that can warm water to a tolerable temperature, but they're used outside in a small wooden enclosure where the wind can wreak havoc on the bathing experience. Some of the men go for a couple of weeks without a real bath, using cloth sanitary wipes. Many just use the cold water from the hose and get clean as fast as possible without succumbing to uncontrollable shivering.
Meals come in a box. And after a few days, they all taste the same.
Mice are everywhere.
The camp is nirvana for thousands of field mice from the cornfields surrounding the camp.
The men have adopted several kittens, who crave the attention and the mice.
But the Marines of Golf Company are young. Most shrug their shoulders at the austere conditions and say they don't like spending much time in the base camp anyway - they'd rather be out on patrol chasing the bad guys.