Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Forward Operating Base Goode near Gardez City in Paktya Province. Based on feedback I received on my post about living conditions on FOB Salerno, I decided to share a few of my observations of the base.
Forward Operating Base Goode is divided into two sections, and I've stayed in both. The first time I visited Goode I stayed in the base of a tower in what's called a Kualt. It literally looks like a medieval mud castle. An old Afghan cemetery was located right outside it's walls. I kind of felt like I was in the middle ages. On that side of the FOB they generally have wooden buildings and they've placed some of the housing for Soldiers in the inner walls of the Kualt. They have pretty descent bathrooms and showers. The internet is pretty much the same as on Salerno.
I've never seen a base with these kind of structures. There are two Kualt's on the base, one with housing inside it and the other with a sort of garden.
The second time I visited Goode I stayed on the other side. That side primarily has tents. There are a few wooden buildings for offices but otherwise it is all tents. The chow hall is located in a tent, however, the inside is pretty nice. The food is not the worst I have tasted. The first night there they had shrimp scampi and I almost went back for seconds. The only complaint I really had was the beverages never managed to get cold. They have two gyms, one for cardio equipment such as elipticals and treadmills and the other for weight lifting. There bathrooms are in what is basically a storage container. They do have running water... most of the time. Of the four days I stayed there, they had cold water one day and no water on another. The shower facilites are shared by both male and female but there is a schedule alternating when each can get a shower. For example, females can get a shower from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and males have the shower from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. It rotates like that throughout the day. It took a little getting used to and I was always afraid if I went too early or late in the hour I'd walk in on a guy.
The bazaar had some familiar names like Walmart and Radioshack, but the goods sold inside are different their normal fare. People here have an odd sense of humor.
Goode is located about 8,000 ft above sea level so it will take a little getting used to. Walking from one end of the FOB to another left me out of breath, and I'm used to walking everywhere. Because it is so high, it gets very cold there. Unlike Salerno it actually gets a winter. The area surrounding the FOB is pretty nice. There are 3 other FOBS that are located right next to Goode.