Fasten All the Triggers (or, What It’s like to Live near the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms)

We’re 20 miles away from the 29 Palms Marine base as the raven flies. If we’re being technical, the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, the largest Marine base in the country.

Twenty miles is a long way away, but at certain times of the year, those Marines blow up a lot of shit as part of their training. During those times, the windows of our house rattle for hours on end.

Our house is in the Joshua Tree Highlands, so we have an unobstructed view of the Joshua Basin, and we can see some of the places where the training takes place (with binoculars). Most interesting is a fake city called “Hue City.”

Hue City is a MOUT or Military Operations in Urban Terrain setup. It’s very elaborate, like a giant outdoor Hollywood backlot, and they do a lot of training there. Sometimes they drop C130 Illumination Flares that hover in the sky like alien ships. Google that. It’s crazy.

But mostly, they just blow shit up. Lots of shit. For hours and hours.

When we moved here, I wondered what the hell was going on, and when I asked a neighbor, they just said, “The base.” As if no other explanation was necessary.

And I suppose no further explanation is necessary.

day 17


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