Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor
most important part of Melinda Johnsonís six months in Balad, Iraq,
was helping keep up the morale of U.S. troops.
a sales associate in the Military Clothing Sales Store at the Fort
McCoy Post Exchange (PX), worked at the U.S. PX in Balad from Dec. 2,
2007 to June 12, 2008.
love my job at Fort McCoy," Johnson said, "Iíve been here
two years, but it is quieter and slower here in the winter months. My
boss, Chad Brazil, had gone to Kuwait to work in a PX before I went,
and he said it was an awesome experience."
I wanted to go where it would be busy, and be with Soldiers,"
worked as an assistant manager at an Army and Air Force Exchange
Service (AAFES) PX at Logistics Support Area Anaconda. "The store
was almost as large as the one at Fort McCoy. I was the manager of
half of the store, mostly working with electronics, civilian clothing
for civilian contractors (U.S. Army personnel are always in ACUs or
Army PTs), shoes, greeting cards, gifts and military items. Everything
but food," she said.
Soldiers want to talk to somebody and see a new face other than just
their buddies. Greeting us at the PX helped keep their spirits
up," she said.
"The Soldiers want to talk to somebody and see a new face
other than just their buddies."
Military Clothing Sales Store
said she was surprised at the living conditions the Soldiers and she
had at Anaconda. "I expected tents, but we had trailers, with
three separate rooms in a trailer that had air conditioning and
laminated floors," Johnson said.
said, "The air was different in Iraq. I canít explain it. It is
always thick with sand from the occasional sandstorms. The whole sky
turns orange. The temperature was 125 degrees the day I left. It is
like being in an oven."
observation: "What was really cool was the base was completely
surrounded by sunflowers outside the wire around the entire
base," she said.
there is very little vegetation.
asked if she would like to go again, she replied, "Definitely, if
I get a chance through AAFES."