Summer Ends; the Weather Changes

I awoke and began my ritual of gathering toiletries and a towel for my morning shave and tooth-brushing. En route to the trailer bathrooms, sweating from the staggering heat, I looked up and noticed clouds.

A sandstorm blasts into Al Taqaddum, Iraq during late afternoon of August 21, 2006. (Higginbotham -- Unit Photo)
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A sight neither I nor the others had seen in months, except those just returned from two weeks of R & R leave in the U.S. Here in Iraq, we have gone without even a wisp. As I viewed the cloud-filled sky, I ran into Mr. Higginbotham, with whom I was to fly later in the evening.

"Well, you know what that means," I said, pointing skyward. "We aren't going to fly tonight!"

Dave's response: "Whatever."

"I'm serious! There are clouds, which means there will be a dust storm!," I returned, half-joking.

From the photos below you will see my comment was dead-on. No fewer than 30 minutes later, Dave and a few others caught this dust storm on its way to cover every last crevice with powdered dirt. Dave and I did not fly.

A sandstorm blasts into Al Taqaddum, Iraq during late afternoon of August 21, 2006. (Hicks -- Unit Photo)
View Enlarged Photo

By Bert Stover |  August 26, 2006; 8:19 AM ET  | Category:  Al Taqaddum, Iraq
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Thanks for the absolutely terrific photos. I've never seen this phenomenon before.

Posted by: Karen | August 30, 2006 10:58 AM

Well written. Short and to the point.

Posted by: Bob Jordan. | September 1, 2006 02:11 PM

From Andrew Sullivan's blog...

Marty Lederman examines the military detention bill the White House has offered to the Congress. And, yes, it actually includes a formal legalization of cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation techniques - some of which were innovated by Stalin's KGB - to be used by the CIA. That includes "waterboarding." Here is the formal CIA definition, as laid out in my forthcoming book:

"The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt."

When will the press ask the president straight up whether he approves of this practice; whether he believes it's torture; and whether he has personally authorized it? The headlines are that the U.S. is finally complying with Geneva. The truth is that the administration is asking the Congress to legislate our renunciation of them. Marty predicted such a maneuver a while back. Sources tell me that McCain sees the ruse, but Graham may take the Cambone bait.

Now Goerge, Dick and Rummy will have American troops commit 'torture'

-Go America, Go!

Posted by: dave | September 6, 2006 04:57 PM

Great post & photos.

Dave- War is hell, and it sure is not a popularity contest.

Enough of the drama with the comparisons to Stalin & KGB. Do some research on your own instead of using the demo talking points.

There is no similarity to the KGB & you should be ashamed for trying to make a connection.

And, yes, GO AMERICA GO!!!!!!!

Posted by: Kirk | September 7, 2006 10:55 AM

Kirk, of course, in your black and white world, there is no comparison... so lets be clear, then... The KGB pioneered the practice of waterboarding, and the US just 'borrowed' the technique

i stand corrected

Hooya, Huzza, and Bring 'em on!

Posted by: dave | September 7, 2006 11:06 AM

Bert, thanks for the posts. They are great. Enjoy a little bit cooler weather, but continue to stay safe.

Get the rest up need, take care of your crews and we'll enjoy celebrating once you are all back home.

Posted by: wife of 224 pilot | September 7, 2006 12:04 PM

Too bad the photo was taken on the 21st at 4:19 pm with a FinePix A345 and not on the 23rd.

Posted by: Dan | September 12, 2006 10:09 AM

Dan was right; It was the 21st and not the 23rd. Dan might also be right about the time the camera stated, but the camera was actually wrong. The storm rolled in about 1700, and all my pictures are time stamped between 1710 and 1730. But who cares, right? It happened, the CWO2 and I both lived through it, so the time and date don't seem to matter that much.

Posted by: Kurt (TQ contractor) | September 16, 2006 01:39 AM

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