R&R in Qatar...
These two photos are of the movie theater at LSA Anaconda, south of Tikrit about a few hours and, I think, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. It was a nice thought, but, while I was there for two days waiting on my flight to Qatar, the power kept going out and we couldnt get even an hour into a movie without it stopping. Oh well...
I remember one of the movies at the time was "Friday Night Lights". Never did get to finish it before heading to Qatar.
Pics of the flight line and us getting onto the planes. I took these pics illegally. They didnt want us taking pictures at this point but I wanted some so oh well! The third one is me after sweating off a gallong of sweat. We didnt get onto that C-5 or whatever it is in the background. We rode a C-130. It's engines were on and running and the prop wash was bout 200 degrees F I swear, Damn was it hot! Combine that with having to wear all of our gear and it was damn near unbearable! It was worth it once we got to Qatar for our 4 day sof R&R though.
This series of photos is of the mall in Doha, Qatar. I especially got a kick out of the indoor bowling alley, ice scating rink, and water park. We were told there was a go-kart track in the very lower level but we never made it there. As you can see, Qatar is a very Westernized country and considered friendly....for the most part.
More shots from the bus on the way back from the mall to Camp Doha. Camp Doha, previous to OIF, was command center for USCENTCOM. It may have still been although I think the war was being run from Florida?
This was on the second to last day in Qatar for me. We went on a 4 wheelin Sand dune riding adventure through the costal desert near Doha. It was pretty fun as the drivers were really aggressive on the hills and slopes. At some points, I thought our SUV would tip over. We ended at the coast where they made us an ethnic dinner. Lamb and veggies and some other stuff that I can't remember. We then tried our hands at "Sand Skiing". It wasn't very fun. Before we left, they let us swim in the Persian Gulf. That water musta been about 90F. The only problem was it was littered with stinging jelly fish with 10 foot long tentacles. The locals swimming there warned us. I almost made it without being stung but one finally got me on my hand on the way back to shore. It felt like someone scraped my hand with 60 grit sand paper. The pain went away the next day. Again, it was worth it to be able to claim that I swam in the persian gulf.
This is the chilies restaraunt at Camp Doha. It was usually packed and had the exact same menu as Stateside except there was no pork. We also lucked out in that the USO was paying for the girls of the hooters calendars to tour the warzone. They were there and gave us quite a show while we were there. We were also allowed to drink up to 3 (IIRC) alcoholic beers per night while we were there. They made you pay for tickets to give to the people serving but some soldiers/marines/airmen (cant remember) bought unused tickets off of others. there was one guy in particular who got absolutely hammered and got into some serious trouble.
This last picture is of Saddam's palace on the shores of the Tigris in Tikrit. The blackhawk I was on had made a short layover at Firebase McKenzie to pick up some VIP's (Full-Bird Colonels and a Brigadier General I believe). We dropped them off at this palace. I have a quicktime movie of the helo flight back from LSA Anaconda/McKenzie/FOB Speicher. it was quite a ride. The helo flew about 50-100 feet at most times only rising high enough to get over high voltage power lines. At one point while flying over a desolate area of desert, the port gunner opened up on a sand burm with his M-240. It surprised the hell outta me but it was cool.
All in all, it was a good time. I lucked out with my Qatar trip as I was in the first group to go. About 6 months into our tour in Iraq, our command cut off our R&R trips to Qatar becaue the journey there was too dangerous. They started sending troops to a lake in northern Iraq I believe but people who went there said it was really no different that Speicher.
until next time, enjoy.
Stupidity can be cured. Ignorance is for life!