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Old 01-26-2011, 04:43 AM   #1
jfh10
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sleeping naked in barracks
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what does the culture say about sleeping nude in communal same-sex settings such as a military barracks or in a tent which serves as such? When I was in Iraq last I generally slept outside on the ground or on a cot and undressed completely in order to sleep. Once when a marine came to get me for a prisoner interrogation, I was reluctant to get out from under the covers. Perhaps understanding my wish not to offend or scandalize him, he left briefly and came back after I had put something on, but now I feel in retrospect that I was being excessively shy (I was then sleeping outside on the taxiway of an airstrip and the rest were inside an armored airplane hanger. By the way, each of them had sheets or blankets hanging around their bunks so they actually had privacy though sharing the same room.). In Falluja my commander and I shared a room and after an Arab American translator ridiculed me for pulling off my underwear to put on pajama bottoms, the staff sergeant told me that he slept naked whenever he could. But it was too hot for me to sleep with him in the building and I ended up sleeping on the ground outside instead (naked there too!). On a convoy down to Iraq, I recall someone also making a remark when I changed into pajamas as I also had to strip completely to put them on. It seems such a hassle and maybe in my upcoming tour I should just strip before going to sleep and tell anyone who makes a remark to STFU. What opinions are out there on this subject? I have read that soldiers in Vietnam generally slept nude in the field (it was hot and humid there too!) and that in World War Two soldiers of the Canadian army were required to sleep nude in their sleeping bags.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:51 PM   #2
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Interesting insight into what bewitches a soldier's mind in a war zone.
If you're a hippie (with due respect, you probably are not), and sleeping in mixed-gender settings you'd doubtless be in good company with many nude sleepers who have yet to 'come out' about it. But a barracks and all the army thing is a lot more ... um, regimented... Pictures have been seen here and there of soldiers sleeping naked (with a machine-gun very close by). I have always been under the impression it is common practice (you are right that Australian soldiers particularly were not averse to stripping down in the squalid, stinking heat of Vietnam).

I reckon most here would tell you to "stuff the Staff Sergeant" (and/or the Marine) and sleep as you please, LOL! In truth, it probably isn't that easy and straightforward. But in my mind, it's a war zone, hot, sticky and constantly on edge; how could soldiers not be able to sleep as they damn well want? Who is there to offend, and what are the consequences to them, to you? And why?

Sleeping nude on a (aircraft) taxiway sounds absolutely risky. Just what happens if a transport plane mistakes you for a sack of rice and waddles over you? What a bunch of prudes they sound like to have their cots surrounded by sheets an an armoured hangar. You are none the wiser to wonder if they were liberating themselves of threads behind those secretive screens!

As a matter of curiosity, who is higher up there? A Commander, Staff Sergeant or a Marine? If one turns a blind eye or couldn't care what you want to do within reason, do they take each other to task or does one have the final say? Where does that leave you? The fact there are multiple layers of authority, passive and final in such a place makes it sound to me that it could be quite tricky getting the subject over how you wish to sleep. Your fellow soliders probably wouldn't give a squid about it. Hmmm.

It's no doubt going to be an interesting thread.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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the hangar bunker was no longer used for aircraft (Asad Airbase, Anbar Province, Iraq). It was built by the Yugoslavians for Saddam Hussein and comofluaged the same color as the khaki soil. the taxiway was therefore fenced off, though two jetfighters took off at 230 am each night on the runway. There was no risk of aircraft rolling over me, just the wind blowing away my cot and the exposure to noise. I got to wearing earmuffs to muffle the sound. The mornings were just beautiful when i arose at 530 or 6 am. Commander is just short for POC, or POint of Command although it is a navy rank, technically speaking. My POCs were usually lietenants or corporals, though I was also assigned to a Lt. Col. who commanded a base. A staff sergeant is a rank in the marines and the word marine refers to the branch of service. One doesn't call a marine a solider; he is referred to as "marine." Another clarification: I might have gotten out of bed nude and I did set up a solar shower next to the hangar on a pull-up bar. But except for the few moments between arising and pulling on my uniform, one would not walk about nude. Until recently it had been an all-male facility and piss pipes were still placed standing up from the ground at strategic points between the hangar where we lived and the hangar where the prisoners were kept and that means pretty much exposing oneself and pissing in the open.
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:06 AM   #4
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Hey JFH...I am also in the military. I have yet to deploy but unless I was in a CHU, I wouldn't be comfortable sleeping in the nude elsewhere, especially in the field. I am allergic to fire ants and I wouldn't want creepy crawlies all over me. Also, the idea that we could get attacked anytime is a big motivator to stay clothed...but during FTXs, I will change in the open if I have to. I have female soldiers as my subordinates and I have seen them in their undies...no big deal. One night, it got so hot I had to sleep in nothing but my boxers (but was sleeping in an LMTV)...however in my barracks, I have no issues being nude whenever I am in my room (only have a suitemate who i share a bathroom and kitchen with).
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:16 AM   #5
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thanks for the feedback. I spent my share of nights in Humvees, but those were generally in the cold of the winter and when we were for one reason or another just sitting on the roadside. Of course there was no thought of undressing simply because no one knew when we would be going again (and thery were cramped with radio gear and what couldn't be fit in was strapped on back of the humvee). Once at a convoy staging area in southern Iraq I slept atop the humvee hood (keep those rubber ponchos handy for rain!). The hood was a choice location compared to the seats! The worst seat was behind the front passenger seat and that was usually the one I got as a translator (civilian in uniform assigned to patrols and checkpoints). OK, CHU is container handling unit or maybe just 'container', right? Those would be rather hot most months and cold others. LMTV: Light medium tactical vehicle, right? I will be looking forward to the new elevated i.e.d. resistant 'Buffalo' vehicles that were a rarity when I was leaving in early 2007, but I wonder if there is much space in them. By the way, there are no fire ants in the Middle East and no poison ivy to worry about either. If you are in Texas, you are well-prepared for Iraq and probably Kandahar in Afghanistan too!
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:23 AM   #6
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Not Texas, North Carolina...CHU, I believe, is something housing unit...basically barracks downrange...my friends who deployed stayed in some nice one...looked like college dorms and hella privacy...asalaam alaiukum my man...
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
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Nude in barracks
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In our previous regime under apartheid,all white males were required to do compulsory natlonal service,and after 2 years national service,15 years of military camps,one month one year,three the next,and nude soldiers were a common sight.IN our company platoon,we had 6 guys sleeping naked,including myself(we were nudists).At night,preparing 4 inspection the next day(that happned every day),it was no comon thing for us to be naked.The one bloke IN PARTICULAR,always kicked himself open as he slept,with erections and all.Some mornings,some of our drill seargents chased us out of bed at 3am-4am for pt on the parade ground,and often we would have no time to get dressed,and had to do it nude.The six of us were nudists,so us being naked,was a well known fact,and respected.At shower times,we al in the barracks,prounced around naked,and had hygene inspections every second day,and that was conducted naked.When we did our camps,our Oc ordred al the platoon to sleep in the nude DURING WINTER! Sleep ware was a direct violation of orders.For us,it was normal.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:39 AM   #8
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hey thanks Kaalvoet for your own experience and perspective on this. strange thing about showers in iraq is that they were all private stalls with curtains! -- i guess this and the portajohns were the only places where one had total privacy. so it was possible if one held a towel around himself, never to be naked in front of anyone else. i did not even have that kind of privacy in college or high school. the football stadium at the university of texas, for example, had one bathroom for thousands of fans consisting of two long communal urinals on both sides of the room and one toilet at the end of the room with no barrier whatsoever for privacy. i remember a couple of sergeants in iraq who used to take off their shirts outside the tent every morning to sun themselves, but they also said that it was against the rules to take off one's shirts outside and that they were doing it on the sly. One normally wore a pair of gym shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals to the shower stall though one had to be careful about avoiding getting the clothing wet should it fall from one of the poor excuses for clothing hooks by the showers. so the culture of modesty seems stricter than what you experienced in S.A. We Americans have got to fight this!
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #9
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Sounds like a gay porn to me.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:30 PM   #10
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The first time I deployed, we were living in tents and I was in charge of four guys. The five of us lived in a small A-frame that was connected to another small A-frame that the first sergeant and commander slept in (I was the OPS sergeant).

It was SO HOT, even at night. We couldn't sleep in our clothes OR in our sleeping bags, and we didn't have sheets yet. (It was the beginning of the war.) Sometimes, when Top was feeling generous and if our generator was running at night, we had his oscillating stand fan to move the air around a little bit. So anyway, my four Soldiers and I slept in our skivvies, on top of our sleeping bags. We weren't nude, but close enough for a mixed-gendered tent. At a certain point, modesty steps aside for practicality.

And for those who were wondering-- A CHU is a containerized housing unit, and they come with a/c and heat. Some of them also have latrines in them, and those are called wet CHUs. That is the most common housing situation for troops in Iraq these days. Some still sleep in tents, but they are generally air conditioned and partitioned in some way--not all of them, but most of them.

I just returned from my latest deployment to Iraq and had the luxury of living in a hardened building. I had a roommate, but we had wall lockers that we set-up between the beds for privacy. I slept in the nude a lot this past year.

I guess it depends on the situation and the people you are sharing a space with. I have found that guys generally like to sleep in the nude, and it usually isn't an issue with their room/tent mates. The females, on the other hand, tend to be more skittish about it, and get embarrassed more easily by other people's nudity--in shower room situations and especially in sleeping areas. I don't know why, but it is what it is.
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