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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kuwait Chronicle IX

A Tribute to Battle Buddies

I really didn't understand the significance of the "Battle Buddy" concept prior to my 2008 tour in Iraq.  That was when it hit me that everyone needs someone to look out for their well-being, at least in a general know, make sure that they aren't getting overly depressed, can cope with the situations that inevitably arise, can eat, sleep and perform the military duties expected on a daily basis...a "best friend" on an interim basis at a minimum.  Some battle buddies remain friends for life, and others move on once the deployment/situation is over...doesn't matter...what matters is to have someone there in that moment of need.

The history of the battle buddy concept is sketchy, but it is probably as old as the concept of war and warriors.  Shield-bearers of ancient Greek warriors and those squires that accompanied the knights probably qualified as Battle Buddies.  Sherlock Holmes had Watson, and Charlie Brown had Snoopie (in my opinion, Snoopie was just a little too self-absorbed to really be a great Battle Buddy).  With this in mind, the idea behind the Battle Buddy is to form a bond with a person whom you trust.  Likability is a plus for the relationship, but really, confidence that this person will come to your aid in a variety of situations is the most compelling factor when choosing someone. The commitment is a serious one, and it requires a high degree of trust.  Usually, but not always, the choice of a Battle is same gender if only for logistical reasons.

I have been fortunate in all my mobilizations/deployments to find a special person to call my Battle Buddy, and I hope to keep them as friends for life.  The collective memories of a military tour, especially one involving separation from family and familiar surroundings, are an important emotional link.  I might not actually have a conversation with or actually see that BB in person again once a deployment ends...but the bond will always be there.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kuwait Chronicle VIII

Random Photos From Across the Camp

Scooby Bus/Van

I walk a lot....literally all the time....I don't use any of the "Scooby Buses" (so called because of the uncanny similarity to the Scooby-Doo cartoon van), and I seldom accept a ride in someone's Prado (common Toyota SUV).  So, I have a lot of opportunities to take in the surroundings and snap a photo here and there.  I have compiled a few whimsical ones to share with those who will not likely visit Kuwait as well as those destined to come here for an Army, Air Force or Navy rotation in the sandbox.  

Not every form of plant life, regardless of reputation for survival in the desert clime, will do well here:

What is a desert bank office without a camel on the sign?

Frisbee golf is quite a popular sport here...

But who knew there would be a desert country club complete with an almost real golf course?

JAG Officer takes a swing

There are lots of choices for places to eat out...if you like fast food..

Starbucks, Taco Bell, Burger King, Pizza Inn, Subway, Nathan's...there isn't enough room on my blog (and there isn't enough Maalox at the PX) to talk about ALL the fast food you can get here...probably not really a good thing, but it makes everyone feel closer to home.

But really, the DFAC is the place Scooby would probably hang out to eat more than anywhere else...not really because it's good, but more importantly, it's FREE...Wow, Scooby snacks for free?  Check out the "Oasis" - an oxymoron on a grand scale.

If you need glasses in a hurry, it's just like at the mall...ready in an hour while you shop!

There's even a feeling that Disney World and Epcot Center are just around the corner...

And also just around the corner...
Another Scooby Bus to take you to Zone 2, Zone 4, Zone 6 or wherever you choose to go...not sure if there's a Zone 3 or's a mystery to be solved by someone else.
Scooby-Doo, where are you?

And at the end of the day, the best part is hearing retreat and watching the sun sink down over the day closer to going home.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kuwait Chronicle VII

MWR Events
Sometimes it can work to a soldier's advantage to be "stuck" in the middle of nowhere during the holiday season...what?  No, really...the holidays seem to bring out the celebrities en mass even to the remote FOBs, COBs and Camps scattered about the world.  The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) folks along with the USO do a nice job of booking some great celebrity acts to entertain the troops, and it is really appreciated.

Never in the US would I have had the opportunity to meet a real American Idol...OK, so he wasn't the WINNER that year, but Chris Daughtry was always a winner in my book.  Chris and the band Daughtry along with comedian Gabriel Iglesias and friends toured at nearby Camp Buehring recently, and I attended a "meet and greet" event sponsored by the USO and MWR that was just fabulous.  I had the opportunity to shake the hand of the entire band and get a photo-op as well.  It was truly a thrill...out here in the middle of the sandbox where thrills are few and far between!

Since 1941, the United Service Organization has helped boost troop morale with centers all over the world, and entertainment for service members takes many forms including live shows, care package deliveries with videos, etc., free Internet/email access and many more troop-friendly activities.  The USO relies on donations, so please consider visiting to make a contribution if you are so inclined.

The MWR has a long history as well.  Initially known as the Morale Division, the MWR began in 1918.  Additional organizations including the Army Motion Picture Service (1920) and the Library Service (1923) were added and led to the formation of the “Special Services" in 1941.  Special Services included the Army Recreation Services, the Army Exchange (now known as the Army and Air Force Exchange or AAFES), and the Army Soldier Show.

In Kuwait, I have already collected quite a number of t-shirts courtesy of the MWR for 5K run events to commemorate everything from Veteran's Day to the Marine Corps birthday run....but my new favorite shirt has to be the one from the Daughtry/Iglesias Season's Greetings tour....yep, that's my new fav!