Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan
Location: 31, 64 Phone: N/A DSN: N/A
Modified: October 17, 2011
Camp Leatherneck is the United States Marines base that is the home base of most Marine operations in Afghanistan. The base started out as a rather austere place to visit with few amenities for the troops, but in recent months some changes have been made to make their stay a little more pleasant. National Geographic Explorer even filmed an episode detailing life at Camp Leatherneck which first aired in January 2010.
Camp Leatherneck was officially dedicated on May 29, 2009, and originally housed around 4,000 marines and civilians in large tents with hundreds of cots in each one. Camp Leatherneck is now home to over 20,000 Marines and civilians, and many upgrades to the camp have been made in recent months. There are now one story pre-fabricated buildings that can house about 2,000 people in each building, which is certainly an upgrade to the 20 man tents this base started out with.
One of the major upgrades to Camp Leatherneck was a new 3,828 yard runway. The runway is actually built at the adjacent Camp Bastion a British base, but will allow for larger planes such as the 747 passenger planes and the C-5 cargo planes. This extended runway with a capacity for larger planes will help keep the troops better supplied since they will no longer have to rely strictly on smaller supply planes.
Another upgrade that has been made recently is more gym space. In the beginning, Camp Leatherneck had only one gym, and though it was open twenty-four hours a day it was always overcrowded. Now there are four fitness facilities each devoted to a specific use. There is now a gym for weight-lifting, CrossFit training, cardiovascular health, and one general use gym with a variety of exercise equipment.
One of the most popular upgrades to Camp Leatherneck in recent months is their dining system. In the beginning there was only one chow hall, and now there are two each capable of serving 4,000 Marines per meal. Camp Leatherneck has also received a new PX. Before the PX had only 3,000 square feet of sales floor which was not nearly enough for the large number of Marines on base. Now they have a much larger building with roughly 10,000 square feet of display area, plus more storage to help keep the shelves fully stocked.
Camp Leatherneck also has new chapels and calling centers. The base had very little space devoted to religious purposes, but there are now three chapels. One large chapel capable of seating 200, and two smaller chapels that can seat around 75 Marines. The calling centers are probably one of the most important upgrades made at this facility. There are several large shipping containers on base with phones available for the Marines to call home and keep in touch with their loved ones.
In spite of all these additions to Camp Leatherneck to make life a little more comfortable for our Marines, it is the intention to keep this base a little more austere than some of our other overseas bases. Unlike some other bases, there are no plans to add coffee shops, fast food restaurants, or other facilities.