Above is sunrise at our can city at Camp Ripper. I am getting used to living in the cans. It is not so bad.
They don’t give metals for what Colonel Malay did, but his decision will save American lives and improve RCT’s performance. The Colonel decreed that every Marine everywhere in Western Al Anbar have access to icy water and instructed that we buy and deploy enough coolers and freezers to make it so. (They already have plenty of water, BTW. The difference is the temperature.)
He calls the program “Joe Cool”. The name is clever and has given the program a boost. He had to face some skepticism. Marines are tough and proud of it. The idea that they need this sort of “luxury” grates just a little. Having ice in the desert seems a bit of a luxury, but they also understand that having cold water to drink means that Marines at isolated posts will be more refreshed and ready to take on anything.
The relentless harsh dryness of this vast desert has desiccated whole armies. Bringing ice here is really an astonishing achievement. We all know the stories about the Roman legions carrying chests full of ice into the desert or Saladin bringing ice and snow down from the mountains, but these were novelties that only the few enjoyed. In this case every Marine has access everywhere.
Even far away from camp. Colonel Malay wants to put freezers and generators on seven-tons to bring the ice and cold water to the most isolated Marine units. The Colonel emphasizes heat related problems will cost a lot more than the price of the cooling units and that a life lost to the scorching heat is beyond price.
Napoleon famously said that an army travels on its stomach. Even more urgent than food is water, especially in a place like this. Cool water can make the difference between life and death and certainly between comfort and misery. Yes, Colonel Malay deserves a metal for doing what he did. He has saved some lives and made many others a lot better.
From my own point of view, I am happy to have the coolers on every MRAP & Humvee because I can put my cans of Coca-Cola in them and keep them cool. I am not a big fan of water. I drink it if I am really thirsty or if there is nothing else available, but ice cold Cola-Light is the way to go if you have a choice.