Dioxin, carbon monoxide, the smell of burning flesh? Hey, they signed up for it

“There’s not one commander I talked to in theater or preparing to go to theatre [who] has any idea what he’s going to do with his waste other than take it to the burn pit.”
— Kurt Kinnevan, division chief of the directorate of environmental integration at the Army Engineer School

What’s a few fumes? It’s all part of war. Unfortunately, reports Kelly Kennedy at the Military Times in an article whose understated title fails to do justice to the severity of the situation. . .

Burn pit at Balad raises health concerns


And even though the military now has three clean-burning incinerators operating there, officials acknowledged that as of midsummer, the burn pit still was taking in 147 tons of waste per day. …

The burn pit at Balad has consumed Styrofoam, unexploded ordnance, petroleum products, plastics, rubber, dining facility trash, paint and solvents, and medical waste, including amputated limbs. [Emphasis added. — Ed.]

After spending 4½ months working as a surgeon at the Balad Combat Support Hospital from September 2007 to February 2008, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Bowers said his headaches got so bad that he sought an MRI when he returned home.

“You don’t just come out of that environment and recover,” said Bowers. … “I had headaches for three months after I got home.”

Guess the military just wanted to provide them with a little something to take their minds off their PTSD.

1 reply »

  1. Oh, that beautiful burn pit at Balad (LSA Anaconda)…it must truly be experienced to be appreciated…there is nothing like the particular flavor and color of your vomit as the cloud settles over the base in the evening…I’m surprised this feature hasnt made it into the tourist brochure, along with the fireworks created by the guns shooting down mortars and rockets, and the dust storms that turn everything a beautiful biege color…maybe I should have had to pay the military for such an elegant stay….(I hope the sarcasm came through)