Archive: June 2006

Day of Rest, Day 2

Woke up late, around noon. Got dressed. Walked over to sign up for one last venue before leaving Qatar. Bought coffee and sipped it while I waited in line. I wanted to get on either the water sports trip, offering jet skis, water-skiing, etc., or the Dhow cruise, a laid back ride with swimming. When I got to the front of the line, the only thing available was the Desert Safari, a ride into the desert in four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a stop at the beach to swim at the Inland Sea....

By Bert Stover | June 25, 2006; 9:12 PM ET | Comments (62)

Trip to Doha, Qatar, Day 1

I sat down for roll call with my coffee and danish. We were given a safety briefing and inspected to check that we had followed the dress code. We, and particularly the women, had to have on long pants, and couldn't wear anything indicating our U.S. or military affiliation. The idea was to keep us from drawing attention to ourselves. (As if the blond buzz cuts didn't make us stand out!) We were told never to take pictures of women and to ask before photographing a man....

By Bert Stover | June 25, 2006; 9:09 PM ET | Comments (2)

Finding Out What to Do On Pass, Day 0

Waking to a booming sound, I forgot I was in Qatar. My heart raced, pumping adrenaline, as I anticipated hearing the sirens that signal mortar attacks. There were voices in the hallway, then another boom. After about 40 seconds I remembered I where I was, figuring out that more people had arrived for pass and had moved into the room next to mine. The boom was just their door slamming. I dozed off until my alarm sounded at about 08:30....

By Bert Stover | June 25, 2006; 9:03 PM ET | Comments (2)

Pass, Getting There

I hitched a ride, with our sister company, Bravo, from TQ to Al Asad to catch a flight to Qatar. (Thanks for getting me and putting me up for a few hours while I waited for the flight.) After a 12-hour stay at Al Asad, catching up with friends in Bravo Company, I boarded the plane for the one-hour flight. There was some excitement at take-off when the C-17, loaded only with passengers, powered its engines to full throttle with its brakes set. I could not control my body when the brakes were disengaged, aven though I knew it was coming, and was tossed toward the rear of the aircraft. For the next five minutes, none of the passengers seated along each long side of the fuselage, facing the center of the plane, could control their posture. The opposing forces were just too great, making for a roller-coaster feeling....

By Bert Stover | June 21, 2006; 5:48 AM ET | Comments (11)

Looking Forward to a Four Day Pass

As I described in the posting 'A Decision to Save My Leave', I plan to take two, four-day passes during my tour in Iraq. A pass allows you time off from work without being charged for leave. It's kind of like comp time in the private sector....

By Bert Stover | June 20, 2006; 6:50 AM ET | Comments (16)

Getting Internet

Through some negotiations, the battalion was granted a waiver allowing the purchase of commercial Internet access. The largest concession made was for the battalion to observe the electronic blackout periods required to maintain Operational Security (OPSEC). We are now allowed to purchase a system for use in our personal living space....

By Bert Stover | June 15, 2006; 8:05 AM ET | Comments (56)

The Heat Rises

I've finally rotated to the day shift for the first time while at TQ. Though it is almost over and I am about to return to the night shift, the day shift adds a bit of relief to the hectic schedule....

By Bert Stover | June 1, 2006; 7:56 PM ET | Comments (18)

 

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