Soldiers improvise while roughing it miles from any mall

How do you decorate an Army observation post when the nearest mall is somewhere between Forget About It and Can’t Get There From Here?

You improvise.

Clinking in the wind just outside the command center of Bravo Company’s perch high in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan is a wind chime made of sticks, string and spent shell casings.

Speaking of Yankee ingenuity, the makeshift shelters at the observation post also offer a lesson in recycling.

The wooden supports in the structures come from pallets that are used to drop supplies every few days from small aircraft that swoop in low over the mountain.

The nylon sheets protecting the soldiers from the elements are the remnants of the supply-drop parachutes.

Roads named after Medal of Honor winners from Maine

Capt. Paul Bosse of Auburn, Bravo Company’s commander, majored in history at the University of Maine. And it shows.

Since arriving at Combat Outpost Dand wa Patan in March, Bravo Company has been free to name any unidentified roads in its area of operation, for easy reference by other military units.

“So we decided to name them all after Medal of Honor winners from Maine,” Bosse said.

The list so far includes Civil War hero Gen. Joshua Chamberlain of Brunswick, World War II Army 2nd Lt. Edward C. “Eddie” Dahlgren of Blaine, Korean War Army Capt. Lewis L. Millett of Mechanic Falls, and Army Master Sgt. Gary Gordon of Lincoln, who died in the Somalia conflict in 1993.

“I just thought it would be cool,” said Bosse, who also named the concrete black bear outside Bravo Company’s headquarters after Millett. “It’s our way of putting a Maine stamp on the war.”