This was the worst part of Iraq/Kuwait when I was there:
In the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle, the still air soars to 130 degrees and sweat stains the soldiers’ desert camouflage uniforms as they patrol central Iraq, hunting for insurgents.
When the ramp door drops, the soldiers scramble into the blinding sun and a hot wind fails to cool them through body armor and helmets. The only thing cold is the reaction of Iraqis whose cars they search.
The unrelenting heat, the ambiguity of their mission, the longing for home and the indefinite duration of their deployment has crushed morale, the soldiers say.
I was a tanker on an M1A1, so to add insult to injury, I got to wear this gem, the scratchy CVC suit. It was so damned hot that while we were there, we initially had a buddy system for when soldiers wanted to urinate. Your buddy had to watch, and if your urine was yellow, you were put aside to drink more water, because you could overheat that quickly. Maintenance was miserable, too, because your tools would get so damn hot you would burn your hand if you did not wear gloves. It was also so dry that perspiration dries immediately, and at the end of the day you would have salt caked all over your body. Since showers were sparse or non-existent, this would build up in your armpits and other areas, and you would get rashes if you didn’t wash carefully. The best description I have for what it is like:
Close all your windows. Turn the heat on in your house. Turn your oven up to 500, sit right in front of it, and then occasionally have a friend throw sand in your face. Enjoy.