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

  • March 01, 2006
  • Dr Stephen J Gerras, Dr Leonard Wong

The situation in post-war Iraq is producing combat veterans accustomed to a perspective of combat that differs greatly from past wars. The Forward Operating Base (FOB) has become the mainstay of the U.S. presence in Iraq. The authors explore the facets of fighting from the FOB. Their research shows that the FOB gives soldiers the unprecedented advantage of gaining a respite from constant danger, minimizing the wearing effects of hunger and fatigue, and reducing the isolation of combat. As a result, many of the factors of psychological stress typically present in combat are greatly reduced. They also point out, however, that technology on the FOB allows soldiers to communicate frequently with home, shifting the family from an abstract to concrete concept in the minds of deployed soldiers. As a result, the competition between the family and Army for soldier time, commitment, loyalty, and energy is renewed.