Sunday, July 11, 2004

Waiting in Kuwait

As per usual, my arrival in Kuwait was followed by much running around and waiting. We off loaded the plane at Kuwaiti International Airport and boarded buses bound for Camp Doha to the north. Our duffle bags were loaded indiscriminately into large conexs on the back of two flat bed trucks. Our arrival coincided with the arrival of other soldiers, sailors and marines on their way to various locations. There were over 600 people wandering around trying to figure out where to go next. And figuring out where to go next was pretty much an individual responsibility. The staff assigned to help us only generally pointed us in the right direction.

Come to find out, the barracks we were assigned to were quite a ways away. Each person had over 300 pounds of luggage, duffle bags and equipment to lug the distance to the barracks. But first you had to find your duffle bags. Duffle bags all pretty much look the same in the dark and ours were spread out over an area about the size of two baskeball courts.

I finally made it to the barracks and was reunited with my LTC doctor friend I had met at Ft. Bliss. We claimed two bunks and got our names on the list for flights into Iraq. Flight assignments to Iraq are made on a first come first serve basis. Since we were part of such a large group, we decided that it was safe to assume we wouldn't be flying out the next day. We crashed onto our bunks and fell asleep for a few hours.

Doc referred to these barracks as "Troglodyte Hell." I think her terminology was right on target. It was actually a huge warehouse that had been partitioned off into smaller sections, and each section held as many bunk beds as could be cramed into the available space. It was dark, smelly and depressing, sort of like being in a cave.

After sleeping for a few hours, we got up and decided to wander around and see what Camp Doha had to offer. We went to the dining facility and had a bite to eat, then we decided to find the PX. Since you can't take weapons into the PX, I had to check mine into a temporary holding facility. That's when we found our relative bliss, Bay 99.

Bay 99 is transient housing mostly for people who are traveling back and forth between Iraq and Kuwait. Doc noticed the phone, big screen t.v., computers and improved beds before I did. She started asking questions and found out that we could move to Bay 99 if we wanted. Well, she wanted to right away. I was reluctant because of all the luggage we'd have to carry and because it would take multiple trips. Lo and behold they offered to drive us to Troglodyte Hell, pick up our luggage and bring us back. I was sold at that point. It is good to have a LTC for a friend.

I'm glad we moved to Bay 99 because as it turns out, we were stuck at Camp Doha for 7 more days. And the waiting turned out to be a good thing rather than a bad thing. While we were there, several festering issues were resolved in a positive way.

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