September 24, 2007
Patrol Base Olson, located in the northwest corner of Samarra, is home to Charlie Company 2-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina's 82nd Airborne Division. The unit, whose Company-plus sized unit of paratroopers arrived at the beginning of August 2006 and has now been there for nearly fourteen months, is responsible for the 20 km2, 170,000-person city of Samarra, as well as for a large swath of the surrounding countryside.
Replacing a company from the 101st Airborne, Charlie Co. arrived to an austere Patrol Base which had very little necessary equipment, and even fewer amenities and comforts. Over the course of their time here, the unit has done a great deal of work renovating, building up, and improving the base, which is laid out around one main building, called the "Casino" based on its function before the war.
Below is a pictorial tour of the Patrol Base.
The living situation would be considered austere by most at home, but Charlie Company's paratroopers make the most of it. Inside the Casino is a pair of cubbyholes housing five computers and five pay-per-use telephones that all of the occupants of PB Olson share. There is also one small, grainy television which plays the Armed Forces Network 24/7, and around which the paratroopers crowd in the early morning on Sunday and Monday to see football games.
However, the top priority at Patrol Base Olson is not comfortable living, healthy eating, or watching sports -- it is maintaining readiness and performing daily (or more) missions into the city of Samarra.
- At 9:53 AM, said...
Thank you for what you do. It is great Americans like you that help us at home understand our soldier's delima's. Thanks for the great photos. Keep up the good works.
Paula in Sparks NV
- At 4:56 PM, membrain said...
Really great work Jeff. Thanks so much. Please let the Partroopers know much their work is appreciated.
- At 10:44 AM, said...
I so appreciate the pictures. My son has been at Camp Olsen since August 2006. I've been wanting to know what his living conditions are like and what the facilities look like. From a grateful Mom
- At 12:17 PM, said...
Thanks so much for giving us at home a picture of where our troops are living... GOD Bless 'em! We are thankful for their presence there and their willingness to put their lives on the line.
- At 11:20 AM, said...
Wow the American public has no idea.I really appreciate all that the troops do to protect and serve.I look forward to your safe return home. Ms Shauna
- At 7:33 PM, said...
Hey Jeff, I SSG Olson was 1st squad's squad leader when I was there, I was out on patrol the night he was hit by the IED...anyways, I've been wondering what things were like there since we left, you guys have really done a nice job on the upgrades! Any "other" pics from the area and inside would be awesome. I'm heading back over in 2009 sometime and hoping to get over to Olson, but if you could send some pics to firstname.lastname@example.org I'd definatly appreciate it. Keep up the good work!