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Friday, April 13, 2007

Qatar Trip - Part 1

There are very few positives of the additional 4 months that got added to our time over here. One of them is that we are now eligible for a 4 day pass to Qatar, a small country down on the Eastern coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Actually, we were eligible for this before but due to manning requirements our Brigade didn't allow anyone to go. Once we got extended they opened it up and most everyone will have the opportunity.

I was fortunate in that SSG Johnson and I got to go on the same day, so I had a travel partner for the whole trip. It is about a 2.5 hour flight from Anaconda, and luckily we went nonstop. Unluckily we took a C-130 which is a prop driven cargo plane. You sit on netting and it is quite uncomfortable. Since this was military transport, our 2.5 hour trip took about 12 hours all together. You don't just show up 45 minutes before and get on a plane. We reported at 0400, took a roll call, and told to hold tight until 0600. At 0600 we were told to go get breakfast and come back at 0830. At 0830 we were told to hang out until 1030. Somewhere in there we finally got on the plane, and sat on the plane in the sun on the tarmac for another hour until we took off. Here is SSG Johnson on the plane.


After the flight, we went through customs in Qatar where they searched our bags for ammo and other contraband, and then we took a bus from the airport to Camp As Sayliyah. We got our in brief on the dos and donts, and then were blissfully released to do our own thing. Our only time hack for the entire 4 days was to be back at 2100 on the last day to check on our flight home. The first night we got in kind of late, so we went right away and got our allotment of 3 beers (I had Fosters on tap) and then went to Chilis for dinner and then to bed. Luckily, the travel day doesn't count as one of your 4 days so this was basically a free night for us. I think this is a picture of me at Chilis, wearing civilian clothes felt pretty good after being in nothing but ACUs and PTs.

They had a miniature golf course at the gym that we played. I got out to an early 3 stroke lead but SSG Johnson came screaming back and beat me by one. I had about an 8 foot putt on the last hole that I needed to tie but I misread it and pushed it left. Sad night.

They also had a combination Dairy Queen/Orange Julius right in the gym. They would even add a scoop of protein into your Julius for that post workout pump.

More pictures to come over the next few days after I dig out from under the pile of emails that were waiting for me.

105 comments:

DagneyT said...

I wanted to share this "thank you" from an Iraqi with you. He and I have been communicating from some months now, and I was happy to post it, and to let as many OIF veterans as I can find/tell/show his gratitude;

http://dagneysrant.com/2007/04/12/a-message-from-an-iraqi.aspx

I know the extension of your duty is not good news, but if I remember from my generation, 18 mos. in Viet Nam was the usual. Hang in there. This time, the American people are behind you, regardless of what MSM wants you to believe.

Sack said...

When we get to complaining too much we remind ourselves that WWII vets served for the entire conflict, so it could be worse. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that comment, I'll let my fellow soldiers know about it so they can check it out.

Anonymous said...

WOW, I almost didn't recognize you in your civilian clothes!!! You look good and relaxed. Glad you were able to get away and have some fun, let your hair down, and enjoy those (3) beers!!!

Sounds like Beans is next on the list. Just got off the phone w/ him and am really excited for him to go. I know this is "vacation" for you guys and you certainly deserve it!! I've enjoyed reading about yours and Hanseling's experiences (and the pix), so I can't wait to hear about Brent;s experiences.

It may sound silly but you guys are sharing with us a different (good) part of the world that we'll never see in our lifetime, so it's a good thing you guys were able to go and hang out for a while. That had to be a good morale booster!

Take Care,

Ma Beans

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