'Prisoners receive better care': Serviceman decries Army's efforts to contain coronavirus
US troops arrive at the airport in Swidwin, Poland on April 23, 2014, after Washington said it was sending a force of 600 to the Baltic states as the Ukraine crisis deepened (AFP Photo/Janek Skarzynski)

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast published an account of a servicemember who did a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and found himself in coronavirus quarantine.


The soldier, who was referred to by the pseudoym "Henry Chinaski" to protect his identity, was frustrated by the draconian measures he found himself under.

"His second tour in Afghanistan over, Henry Chinaski stepped off a plane on Sunday not into the waiting arms of his family, but the U.S. Army. Along with three other soldiers in a 15-by-15 foot room he likens to a prison cell, Chinaski has spent the past three days in quarantine as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus," wrote Spencer Ackerman. "Except Chinaski and his fellow soldiers aren’t tested for COVID-19. Medics come by once a day, take their temperatures, and move on."

Ackerman continued: "Until Tuesday, they weren’t even allowed to leave their room at Fort Bliss — not to exercise or even just enjoy a gulp of fresh El Paso air after the crucible of Afghanistan. They get two meals a day, two bottles of water, one bathroom between them and no further information about what they’re supposed to do during their 14-day stay in quarantine."

"About the only thing occupying Chinaski’s time is his phone. He’s been able to notify his family that he’s OK and stuck on Bliss," wrote Ackerman. "Since officers on the base aren’t permitting the quarantined soldiers access to material from the Morale Welfare and Recreation services — movies, paperbacks, games and other entertainment to pass Army downtime — he’s playing chess on his phone between watching Hulu and Netflix and listening to audiobooks. (In his queue: Tolkien, William Gibson, and Steve Coll’s two Afghanistan books, Ghost Wars and Directorate S.)"

169 soldiers and civilian employees of the Defense Department are reportedly subject to this quarantine.

“Prisoners receive better care and conditions than that which we are experiencing at Fort Bliss,” Chinaski told The Beast. “The Army was not prepared, nor equipped to deal with this quarantine instruction and it has been implemented very poorly.”

“This is no way to treat soldiers returning from war,” he added, “and it has undoubtedly changed my view of remaining in the U.S. military following this deployment.”

You can read more here.