• Today's Daily Devotion
Primer 3: From Base To Outpost
Captain Mark Braswell provided me with a primer on base structures, from the well-developed Air Base and Camp to the rough and tumble Forward Operating Base (FOB) and Combat ...

Primer 3: From Base to Outpost

Capt. Mark Braswell, United States Army

Captain Mark Braswell provided me with a primer on base structures, from the well-developed Air Base and Camp to the rough and tumble Forward Operating Base (FOB) and Combat Outpost (COP). Air Bases have sophisticated buildings, amenities, and fortifications.

“For example, air bases are developed with paved roads, reliable electricity, hard buildings, multiple dining facilities operated by Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) with televisions and next-day laundry service by KBR, shower trailers, and flushing toilets. Sometimes they are isolated from urban areas,” Braswell explained.

Camps are the next step down from an Air Base. Rudimentary Combat Outposts are located in insecure territory with no services provided by KBR, fewer life support services and facilities, no showers, and only burn-out latrines like those used in the Vietnam War.

“There are no fixed buildings or Hesco barriers, which are folding mesh-metal barriers that are set-up and filled with sand for protection, or concrete T-walls,” Braswell said. Outposts move with the battle.

Led by Braswell, the 340th Quartermaster Company established field services for six FOBs in Iraq, mostly stretching in the dangerous western Al Anbar Province. Built in secured locations, FOBs had an aid station rather than a hospital and a helicopter landing zone rather than an airstrip. Soldiers prepare and serve only two meals a day without a luxurious KBR dining facility. FOBs support tactical operations of COPs. FOBs are highly beneficial because they reduce reaction time for medics treating injured soldiers and for Quick Reaction Forces to respond to soldiers in combat.

In its most basic form, FOBs include triple strands of concertina wire surrounding them, interlocking fields of fire for crew served weapons, guard posts, and heavily guarded entry control points.

“More advanced FOBs feature additional protections such as Hesco barriers and amenities such as telephone and Internet cafes, porta-johns, and perhaps a Hajji store where soldiers can shop,” Braswell added.

Many life changes take us out of our comfort zone and into a “forward operating base.” College students rely on the support of home while the university gives them a semi-permanent stop on the road of life. Getting a new job and moving to a new town requires new infrastructures, such as new doctors and schools. While not the same as combat, life’s transitions rely on everyday courage until the forward operating position becomes a permanent home base.


Father, thank you for carrying me through life’s transitions, for those forward operating bases that give me enough support and security to get to the next stage in life.

Other Items In The Battlefields and Blessings Series

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