The battlegroup arrived to Sibut at the end of the day. Another unit was already there and established a temporary base. Until the platoon chief went to the debriefing, I refilled the car and positioned it to our designated area. Back in the FOB in Bangui, I changed euro to Central African Franc and bought banana from the local people. A corporal of my platoon have already done some other OPEX and knew how to deal with Africans. I was pretty excited to taste some local food I could directly buy from people living in the country. The banana was smaller and sweeter than the one I got used to in Europe.
Tension in the village
The platoon chief came back from his reunion and told us that we are going to pass the night in the vehicles, because we’ll leave early in the morning. He also gave us an update about the current tactical situation in the area.
Apparently, a militia from the ex-Seleka rebels were harassing the population around Sibut. During the afternoon, just before we arrived, an infantry platoon got into a short firefight somewhere in the village.
The result: we had to sleep in the vehicles in our full combat gear, since the temporary base didn’t give us any protection.
A horrible night
It wasn’t my worst night ever, but it’s still in the top 10. I woke up every 30 minutes. We clearly didn’t have enough place for two. I couldn’t put my head anywhere comfortable with the helmet and during the night the platoon chief stole my pillow I picked from the plane.
Until morning I felt like I just lost a 12 rounds box match. I woke up 20 minutes before everyone so I had time to prepare a coffee before the morning radio check. Drinking something hot was a great feeling, even if the outside temperature was around 20 degrees at 4AM.
The next day we separated from the main part of the battlegroup and continued the journey to the Eastern part of the country. The other platoon from the company was already in Bambari. We were supposed to join them for the upcoming weeks.
An old school building
Two days later, we arrived to an old building where the other platoon stationed with an infantry unit from the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade. Probably the building was used as a school some years ago, but the others transformed into a reinforced temporary base.
During the journey from Sibut, the platoon chief told us that it would be totally insane to shave while we are on operation. We just can’t allow us to waste drink water – he said. We only had 4 bottles a day to drink, but also to shower.
The platoon arrived to the temporary base and the lieutenant went to report to the captain about the last days’ events. Before he could put his feet in the room the captain used as his office, the company commander started to shout on him why we aren’t shaved. He told the lieutenant that he wants to see everyone’s face ass smooth as his wife’s ass. And all this before doing anything else, because it’s unacceptable that his legionnaires look like tramps.