Report from Kuwait--Part One - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/03/02

Report from Kuwait--Part One

Soldiers sleep and play cards to pass the time stuck in an Irish airport. Soldiers sleep and play cards to pass the time stuck in an Irish airport.
This poor soldier has to drink a soda in an Irish pub. This poor soldier has to drink a soda in an Irish pub.
The camp in the Kuwaiti desert. The camp in the Kuwaiti desert.
Enjoying a game of "beach" volley ball. Enjoying a game of "beach" volley ball.

Whoever said "getting there is half the fun" never traveled with the military. A recent deployment of 300 Third Infantry soldiers from the Coastal Empire got stuck in an airport in Ireland. Our plane had problems, and the grueling trip to Kuwait, which usually takes about 18 hours, instead took more than four days. Days spent sleeping in airport terminals, playing cards, and making those last-minute calls home.

There was even an odd captivity in an Irish inn when the airport couldn't hold us any more. Imagine sitting at the taps in an Irish pub without ever being able to grab a Guinness--alcohol is against the rules.

But finally, after days of delays, we made it to the Kuwaiti desert, miles from civilization, a barren landscape of sand and rock. It's the Kabul, a military camp, very close to Iraq, about 20 miles as the tank rolls.

We arrived in camp Thanksgiving morning, a very rare day off for the troops. They stayed active though, playing touch football, volley ball, even a game of basketball just yards away from a bunker.

The highlight for most was Thanksgiving dinner. The troops lined up for turkey and dressing, with a switch: their officers were the kitchen help. The chaplain scooped up the vegetables, and a doctor made sure everyone got plenty of dressing. Still, the nonalcoholic spirits weren't the only thing that wasn't quite the same as Mom's meal back home.

Another holiday far from home passed for the soldiers of the Third Infantry Division. This Thanksgiving, they were settling in to the Kuwaiti desert, miles from any civilization.

Reported by: Mike Manhatton, mmanhatton@wtoc.com

Mike will be filing reports from the Middle East all this week on THE News.

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