Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Retreat

Initially the adjustment to this deployment has been a bit difficult for me. Everything about the station in Tikrit is very different from my last deployment to Baghdad, for better or for worse. I loved the assignment is Baghdad because it was very urban. The Victory Base Complex, made up of multiple smaller bases was international and bustling, the hub of military affairs in Iraq. The base contains a number of Saddam's beautiful palaces and the artifical lakes and canals provided for an unusual reprieve from the desert landscape.

The Red Cross office in Baghdad was also it's own entity. We had our own trailer with canteen space for a flat screen t.v. with a viewing area and a library, we had several phones available to servicemembers and an internet cafe. My evening shift was always the busiest in terms of emergency communications messages to relay and people trafficing the canteen.

Tikrit is very much a remote, country base that has a small town ambiance. Our office and miniature canteen are located in the MWR (Morale, Wellness and Recreation) Building which is also shared with nearly a dozen more offices. We only offer 2 DSN phones and do not have a lot of service to offer, plus the space is seriously limited (12x12 ft). I guess the best way to describe it is that there's no sense of ownership of the space. We are one of many in a communal building and with the MWR upstairs the basically over all the morale needs you could want. There are also almost never any "incomings" which for my own personal safety is a benefit, but they made the deployment in Baghdad feel more real.

It's not necessarily that I'm unhappy, it's more that for a girl that was raised in Chicago and DC I'm used to a fast-paced enviornment with bustle and action. Tikrit feels like a country retreat.

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