Generators vex Marines as temps soar in Hell-mand


Marines with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines work on broken generators at Patrol Base Sharp in Garmser. (Photo by Gina Cavallaro)

Garmser District, Afghanistan – The heat of southern Afghanistan radiates the same way as if you had put your face in front of an open oven door with no room to recoil.

It cannot be escaped.

The temperature soars to 110 quickly and has spiked to close to 140 from time to time.

And while the U.S. may be spending $20 billion on its power bill for operations in Afghanistan, according to a published report, it’s not because all the generators are humming along keeping everyone cool.

Breakdowns are routine and generator mechanics are in short supply, so it’s easy to go to any Marine Corps base and spot a gaggle of Marines jumping a generator with their MRAP or that one Marine who grew up on a farm and knows something about generators sweating over a greasy, tired-looking generator that isn’t working.

Sgt. Jacob Abrahmson works on a generator in Marjah.

“On my last deployment in Iraq, I got conned into doing this because if we didn’t want to live like cave people we had to do something,” said Sgt. Jacob Abrahamson of 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines. He cannibalized another generator for a part he needed to get theirs going.

Granted, this war is by far the most energy-hungry war in history and everyone needs an outlet on the power strip. My computer is plugged in right now and I’ve got a blast of cool air blowing my hair around.

But down the road from here and across Helmand there are uncharged radios, dormant air conditioners, blank computer screens and thousands of bottles of hot drinking water, victims of the generators that can’t take the heat.


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  1. …and to think I bitched about the 95 degree temps in Colorado today…sad statement for sure when we consider all the sons and daughters who suffer daily with the sun and dust in Afghanistan..

  2. I am an out of work electrician with a strong mechanical background and I want to leave the states and get out to the marines and be an electrician and supplemental generator mechanic. Or men need power and I am too old to join the corps, so I thought this would be the next best thing I can do to help. I know that if I can secure good living and power condition for our men via hot and cold air, and also power, I will increase survival and comfort rates. Does anyone have advice on how I can move foreword with the generator training and also some suggestions on how to best integrate myself as fast as possible to get in theater as an electrician? Thanks, David

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