Here's a note from a soldier about "COB" locations like these guys are at:
...soldiers that are living out in the very austere Combat Outposts (COP) are the center piece of General Petreaus' surge plan. These Soldiers live and work VERY close to the Iraqi citizens as opposed to on large Forward Operating Bases (FOB) like the one I live on here at the Airport. Because these places are small and house only a small number of Soldiers, the amenities that we get here are simply not available. They get 1 hot meal per day (sometimes none), they get a shower once a week (sometimes 10 days) and they have no TV, limited internet and they feel extremely isolated. In addition, the threat the Soldiers live with is huge. In my 4 visits to this particular COP, the place has come under some sort of attack EVERY time. Mortars and sniper fire is DAILY business for these Soldiers. Life is HARD for them. The upside is that they become the tightest of squads and platoons, and contrary to what one might expect...morale is HIGH. These Soldiers are on the front line of this war, and on their shoulders rests the total weight of our success or failure.