Laundry is a different experience in Iraq. Your options depend entirely on where you are. On little Forward Operating Bases, soldiers hand wash their laundry and hand them up to dry, the old fashioned way. Or they wait to cycle back to the larger bases and turn the laundry in.
KBR does a great job at cleaning the laundry, but the whole process is a bit embarrassing. We take our laundry in to the drop off point and dump everything on an inspection table. The smell is something else, as some sweaty socks spend up to a week fermenting in a dark damp place. No doubt someone has had to explain some curious undergarments, there’s no spot to annotate leopard print banana hammocks or sequined wonder bras.
The folks working the laundry facility are Malaysians, and they love 80’s pop music. I can’t explain it, somehow Prince and Michael Jackson dominate the Malaysian mind. Today one of the fellows sang along, perfectly, to Cindi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” I’m not entirely sure he understands the words. There was a moment where I wanted to tell him what he was singing, but why ruin that magic? I loved Ramstein until I read the German to English translation to half their songs.
There’s a 72 hour turn around, and the clothes come back plenty clean and folded. A danger for soldiers is if they leave thumb drives or jump drives in their clothes. If found, those go to CID (the cops), because SECRET information on a thumb drive out of positive US control is what we like to call a ‘bad thing.’ What’s even worse is if CID finds classified material and porn on the same thumb drive. Naughty naughty!