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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kuwait Chronicle I

A Bit of History:

It seems like forever, but it really hasn't been that long since Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to invade and occupy neighboring Kuwait...his justification?  Oil, of course - he accused the Kuwaiti Government of siphoning off oil from the fields along the border and mistakenly assumed that his Arab neighbors would support his claim.  A little later (mid-January 1991), President George H.W. Bush sent US military assets into action in Operation Desert Storm. Along with a coalition of nations to include Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and a few other countries, air strikes were initiated against the Iraqi communications network, weapons plants and oil refineries. 

The air attacks using laser and infrared-guided "smart" bombs were relentless and effective such that by mid-February, ground forces came in via Saudi Arabia.  They were able to encircle and ultimately defeat Saddam's forces, including his elite Republican Guard.  The war came to an end by 28 February of that same year....we've been in Kuwait ever since.

The Present:

This week marks the second time I have visited Kuwait's sands, and not much has changed.  During my Iraq deployment in 2008, I merely passed through the country on my way to/from Tikrit, Iraq as do nearly all deployed troops.  This time, I am here to stay for a 3 month tour.  The sand is still hot, and the wind still blows it all into my face and into everything I own!  Still, there are good features like relatively comfortable living quarters ("the pods") and an excellent, although small, military treatment facility to work in.

Formerly operated by the Navy, an Army Combat Support Hospital (CSH) now occupies the MTF here.  Most of my colleagues drill together as a unit, but they are all new to me...and they're all consummate medical/dental professionals and clinical support personnel.  It is a pleasure to be associated with such a cohesive group even though I will only get to work with them for one quarter of their year-long tour.  It promises to be a good ride.
There's even a bit of home here at Camp Arifjan, a ubiquitous and very appreciated Starbucks!

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