Sunday, February 18, 2007

Camp Lemonade

The base is called Camp Lemonier, a name given by the French Foreign Legion when they owned the place. Regardless of what a Francophone would say, troops here pronounce it as Camp "Lemonade" but without the "d" on the end. And they do jokingly refer to it sometimes as Camp Lemonade.

Our tour of the base started with a climb to the top of a watch tower (no pictures allowed there) where we could see the scope of the base, as well as the outlines of its planned expansion. Most soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines based here live in large, 16-person tents. Stay here long enough and you may move up to a tiny, mobile-home like, container living unit--referred to as a CLU by the acronym lovers here. From the watchtower we could see hundreds of new CLUs ready to be opened in hopes of moving most people out of the tents.

The camp has a chapel, cantina, dining hall, PX, cinema, gym, and other facilties. The central path, known as Broadway, feels a little like the main street of Small Town, U.S.A. And the "mayor" is Camp Commander Robert Fahey.

Although this is a "Joint Task Force" base, the command structure of Camp Lemonier is Navy. Captain Fahey compares the installation to the Navy's sprawling Jacksonville Naval Air Station. Even though the base is on what the Navy refers to as "shore," a number of signs on base remind you about the rules for doing this or that "while aboard Camp Lemonier."

As interesting as things are "aboard" the camp, the real story is the unique work being done out of here by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. More on that to come.

--Keith Porter

1 comment:

Christy said...

hi! just wanna ask where do contractors live here? in CLUs as well? im considering to work here and as a woman, my needs for more privacy is an issue for me, thanks alot!please email me for ur answer at