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U.S. Army War College >> Strategic Studies Institute >> Publications >> CU @ The FOB: How the Forward Operating Base is Changing the Life of Combat Soldiers >> Summary

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CU @ The FOB: How the Forward Operating Base is Changing the Life of Combat Soldiers

Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong, Dr. Stephen J. Gerras. | March 2006

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SUMMARY

The Forward Operating Base (FOB) has become the "home away from home" for the American soldier. It has evolved to a place where many of the stresses, frustrations, and discomforts commonly thought endemic in the combat soldier's life are mitigated. In addition to being a base for launching tactical operations, FOBs have become refuges from danger, places of renewal for physical needs, a respite from the mental stresses of battle, and finally, a means for soldiers to stay connected with the world outside Iraq. On a FOB, soldiers can renew their fighting spirit and also find a psychological escape from the rigors of battle. Soldiers appreciate creature comforts like the good and abundant food, refreshing air conditioning, hot showers, and safety afforded by the FOB. Because of advances in communication technology, however, soldiers are also experiencing competition between the institutions of the family and the military for a limited amount of attention, time, and emotional capital. The competing demands of the family and the mission require the attention of commanders and policymakers.