Life at Camp Leatherneck

Explorer: Camp Leatherneck Premieres Sunday January 31 10P et/pt
Videos & Photos >>

Leatherneck, end of Week 1

Sent September 1, 2009

Hello Everyone,It’s been a week at Leatherneck – and we have also been in the surrounding settlements.  Here are a few pictures.

blog post photo

Director of Photography Thierry Humeau films in a poppy field near Camp Leatherneck. Afghan poppies, of course, are the source of much of the world’s heroin. The mark on the bulb in the foreground is where the opium tar was scraped from the bulb. Now the field is dried out and the owner has moved on.

blog post photo

Fruit (lower right) grows in the unlikeliest places.  This is not a natural river, but a man-made one – literally.  It comes out of Camp Leatherneck and we’ll leave you guessing about its source.

blog post photo

Camera cases, body armor and sandbags outside the Press Tent, where National Geographic has a large footprint.

blog post photo

That’s me (foreground) and Afghanistan (background).

Bye for now,



Labor Day at Fiddler’s Green

Sent September 7, 2009

And we celebrate Labor Day by working! Everyone is doing well.  Here are some pictures:

blog post photo

Meet “Big” – he’s a bomb-sniffing dog, wounded right front paw and all.  The EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) unit uses Big to sniff out bombs.  His handlers say he loves his work.

blog post photo

“Big” has a rival – the EOD robot. Remote controlled, camera-equipped, it can sneak up on anything, eyeball it, and grab it with its claws (left).

blog post photo

A helicopter lands and takes off from inside Fiddler’s Green on their new helipad. (Like everything else, this one is made out of dust.) Previously (such as when we arrived) helicopters would have to land outside the camp, with full body armor and security escort in.  As of today, they land inside the wire.

Best to all from the crew!



Sent September 23, 2009


Greetings friends,


We have made it to Command Outpost Castle, the furthest outpost south in the American Area of Operations.   We have been rewarded with some very good footage. We are with Delta Company of the 2d Light Armored Recon (LAR) with whom we went on a re-supply mission yesterday.  Difference between them and the other units we’ve been with? They drive fast!  Much faster than the heavily armored units we’ve been with at other units.  We are hoping our 11pm chopper tonight back to Leatherneck will pan out. Here are some pictures.

blog post photo


COP Castle as seen from the marketplace just outside the South entrance.

blog post photo

This is the home of the National Geographic crew during our stay at Castle.  Inside this little shack, with a green parachute for a roof, we will live during our stay. We do have intermittent power. If you drag your cot outside you are treated to cool breezes and a brilliant star show – the Milky Way is fully lit straight overhead.  But inside, the bugs don’t bite as much!