Signs of the Times

There are many signs all over this base. They serve very little purpose, and are mostly ignored.  Every street has a name, and every building has a number, but these road signs are routinely ignored because they are just not that useful. It is much easier to say “I’m in the blue building across from the Hospital,” “Go to the intersection near Provider Chapel and look for the castle building,” or “the building near DFAC (Dining Facility) #3.” Nobody would say “I’m in Building 7235 on Pennsylvania Avenue (where I work).” It’s amazing that anyone can find anything, given how useless the road signs are here. And for security reasons, the military doesn’t publish good maps. That might show the bad guys where to shoot rockets.

 So the road signs don’t really irritate me, because they just get ignored anyway. There is one sign that amuses many, see below and you will figure out why:

 David Letterman Loop

David Letterman Loop is in a remote part of the base, on the West Side, close to the 15-foot high fence that is the boundary of Joint Base Balad.

 There are other signs that are just weird. Here is one example outside the Victory Base DFAC (far left):

 Random AntiTerrorism

The question I asked is: “What is random, the terrorism, or the measures?”

 The weirdest sign on JBB is this one, it stands alone in a field of gravel close to the Mosque that is by the movie theater:

 Complacency Kills 

Here is a picture of some signs outside DFAC #1 (with a Ugandan guard keeping watch). Note the great number of rules that must be obeyed to get in to eat. Two of them include you MUST NOT have a bag of any kind (so that you can’t carry a bomb into the DFAC), and you MUST carry a weapon in order to get in. If you try to enter without a weapon, you are kicked out!! That happened to me once while trying to get in to eat after going for a run…


 DFAC Rules

Here is a nice sign. Catfish Air is the Army Blackhawk helicopter terminal, where you can catch a flight to many parts of Iraq on a chopper:

 Catfish Air

At my office, there are a few signs that are interesting. First is the introduction to the office, where we have this cardboard cut-out figure to greet people:

 LA office directions

The bathrooms on this base have two signs that are a little unusual. The first is this one which is at the bathroom at my office:

 TP Sign

I think the purpose of this sign is to encourage people to push down on the toilet lever, so as to allow the water tank to fill up and avoid having the toilet run continuously. We have a strange “pull-up” flusher on most toilets on the base (see below). 

The second sign is this:

 MWR East stall

MWR East sign

The purpose is obvious. Apparently a lot of the TCN’s (third country nationals) from places like India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, would actually stand on the toilets. In their countries, a sit-down toilet is very rare, and most are used to squatters where you stand over the toilet, so the sign was necessary to prevent people from standing on the sit-down toilets.

 There are thousands of other signs on this base, and this story gives you just a small taste of what we have here.


One Response

  1. Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…

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