Archive: 4 Day R&R Pass, Qatar

On the Town in Doha, Qatar

My recent blogging hiatus is a result of being on pass in Qatar again. For the second and last time during my deployment, my command gave me time to enjoy activities other than those associated with aviation. Thanks to said aviation duties, my pass was delayed by a couple of days, and I missed my original flight out of TQ....

By Bert Stover | September 10, 2006; 09:38 PM ET | Comments (5)

Back to Iraq, Back to Work

Many have called their travel for the R & R pass program exhausting, lasting hours due to cancellations for weather and maintenance. Some have traveled 50 hours to get to pass, and others have spent eight days getting back. My own flight to Qatar lasted an hour, and the return trip took about five hours. For anyone using this as a gauge for your pass to Qatar, I warning you that it may not be so simple....

By Bert Stover | July 11, 2006; 07:26 AM ET | Comments (36)

A Day at the Beach, Qatari-Style

I slept in again, then got ready for my trip to the beach and headed to the pickup point. Those of us on the day-trip had our names called from a list, were given a safety brief, and got inspected for dress-code adherence, the same routine as preceded the tour of Doha. We piled into four SUVs and set out for the dunes....

By Bert Stover | July 5, 2006; 07:24 PM ET | Comments (1)

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; 09:12 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; 09:09 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; 09:03 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; 05:48 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; 06:50 AM ET | Comments (16)

 

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