Members of the Female Engagement Team attached to the 1st Battalion 5th Infantry Regiment pose for a photo with the sign outside the '"resort" the soldiers of Charger Company created for them. Copyright 2012 Cheryl Hatch

Members of the Female Engagement Team attached to the 1st Battalion 5th Infantry Regiment pose for a photo with the sign outside the '"resort" the soldiers of Charger Company created for them. Pictured from left: Mary, the FET language assistant, Spc. Malecia James and Pvt. Liliana Nunez. Copyright 2012 Cheryl Hatch

Khenjakak is a remote strong point in the Panjawa’i District of southern Afghanistan and home to  the approximately 140 male soldiers of Charger Co. 1st Battalion 5th Infantry Regiment.

All men. Not a single female soldier.

So when the soldiers of the Female Engagement Team arrive for a mission, the men have to make accommodations–and they have to create accommodations for the women during their visits.

I’ve been to Khenjakak several times. The first time we arrived, we stayed in the game room and we slept on USO blue bean bag chairs and rattled in our sleeping bags because there was no heat.

The second time we had cots and the heat still didn’t work.

Third time’s a charm.

When we arrived a couple days ago, the soldiers had created “Khenjakak Resort.” They constructed a plywood wall divider in the game room to give the women a separate living space. They lined up cots with mattresses. Each mattress had a blanket and an assortment of hygiene items laid out it. Each USO table next to every cot had a book on it. There was even a table and chair to serve as a desk/workspace, which I especially appreciated.

The soldiers of Charger Co. left an assortment of hygiene products and goodies for the soldiers of the Female Engagement Team during their recent visit for a mission. Copyright 2012 Cheryl Hatch

Each bed in the Khenjakak Resort had USO table next to it with a book carefully placed on it. Copyright 2012 Cheryl Hatch

I asked around to learn who had envisioned and created the “resort.” I was told the resort was just “soldiers having fun.” Perhaps an infantry inside joke.

And yet, the soldiers took time and care to go to the effort to put that room together. And to put the extra touches of the shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and foot powder. Right down to the USO shower slippers and the book on the cot-side table.

And the heat worked.

I’ll admit that the idea of a resort in Khenjakak is funny.

If the soldiers were having fun, they succeeded. I smiled.

And if they were secretly being thoughtful, they succeeded. I can’t stop smiling at the thought of the soldiers arranging that room for us…and their attention to detail.

Thank you, Charger Co.

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