Tuesday, March 30, 2010


As I mentioned, the dimensions of the living quarters (RLBs – named after the company that makes them) - we are living in are approximately 9ft x 20ft x9ft; think about the size of a railroad car or a cargo shipping container. Typically there will be two soldiers per RLB unit (or cell), but right now some have three or four soldiers during the ‘out-with-the-bad-and-in-with-the-good’ (just kidding, 82nd: you did an excellent job in preparing for our success and we will do our best to pay it forward) phase of the transfer of authority (TOA) transition process.

Because I am fortunate enough to have a great Platoon Sergeant, there was an empty cell ready for me, and one of my platoon members, the day we arrived. This was no mean feat as the ratio of soldiers to bunks will be a tad weighted toward the soldiers until the TOA is complete.

The difference between soldiers and bunks is equal to the surface of the inside of the transitional tent where soldiers sleep on cots and live out of their respective rucks, duffels, and personal bags. It is a drag to have to spend either your first bit of time, or your last, in a tent, but it shouldn’t be too long before the ratio will swing back to the bunks and most everyone remaining here will be like my roommate and me with a twofer cell.

Like convicts or people from NYC, soldiers learn from Basic Training how to establish zones of privacy when living in very close quarters. No one hungers more for privacy than a Private. Depending on things like the size of space, furniture available (or materials available to build furniture), and their respective personalities, soldiers will establish a balance of interaction and privacy.

Some of the soldiers here have upper/lower stacked their beds and made the whole unit communal; others have halved or screened sections of their unit with everything from poncho liners to TK-made plywood bookcases. Other soldiers have fashioned habitrails not understandable by anyone else outside of their RLB; and still others have done nothing at all to their respective cell’s layout.

My roommate and I are going the split-in-half route with some furniture walls – partially because we are working different shifts and physical barriers are very helpful with light-discipline and partially because I think we both enjoy having our private(cy).


David: Thank you for the well wishes; mine go to your son as well. My advice to him, and anyone else taking a Kindle "forward", load up as much as you can before deploying as currently most theaters are outside of the Whispernet range and your ISP/IP address needs to be from a country serviced by Kindle in order to load new books.

1 comment:

  1. Sgt. Corbin:

    Please clear up some confusion. My wife grew up in an 8x35 mobile home. She is trying to figure out what your RLB quarters are like, specifically Air exchange (windows and the like) door placement and the like. What are the heating/cooling arrangements? I suspect that toilet and eating facilities are separate from the living quarters, but don't really know. I tried to find some information on line, but haven't done so well.

    I did see some concept drawings of what looked essentially like cargo containers stacked 2 high with doors on each end. Actually looked like a fairly efficient arrangement for putting lots of people in small spaces.

    If you would prefer to discuss some of this stuff in a blog post, that would be great. no need for personal response.

    Of course, there is always the "If I tell you I'd have to shoot you" angle. I really think that may be why our son joined the Navy - so he wouldn't have to answer so many of his mother's questions :-).

    So far, both my wife an I have found your posts a good insight into the "non-political" side of this mess you and your compatriots are in.