After nearly a month without any mail, soldiers at Combat Outpost Baylough finally got a small reprieve, which swooped in hanging from the underside of a huge Chinook helicopter on July 26.
Along with needed repair parts, combat equipment and dozens of new mattresses, a crate of letters and care packages arrived as well. Despite receiving some very fancy, very classified, and very expensive equipment that will help them fight the Taliban, the mail was the most visibly appreciated.
Baylough is in mountainous Zabul Province. Because the Taliban can mine the roads unobserved, the base is accessible only by air, though helicopters are few and far between.
When soldiers ask me how long I am staying at Baylough, it is impossible to give a specific answer, since that all depends on the helicopters. It's not inconceivable to wait two weeks for a flight out.
After putting their new equipment away, soldiers dispersed to open their care packages.
After nearly a month without receiving any mail, soldiers at Baylough finally got a delivery — probably a smal fraction of the mail that is waiting for them.
Soldiers got many new toys to play with, including a Puma surveillance drone.
The Chinook pilots had to make several landing attempts because of the blinding dust clouds kicked up by their rotors. Chinooks are nicknamed "Big Windy" by infantrymen who must endure the cargo helicopter's gale-force winds.