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The desert, yeah right…

May 19th, 2010 by Andrew

So in my recent excursion to the warmer climates of South-West Asia I came to realize that deserts are not fun. You are faced with three extremes there.

First, there is the normal everyday expected heat. 120F is not anyones idea of fun in the sun. You spend most your time outside drinking water because you can’t seem to drink enough. There is almost always a wind that blows sand, gravel, rocks and creepy crawlies down the back of your neck. It is hot, it is miserable…it is a normal day in the desert.

Second there are the cold nights. I say that any place on the planet earth that can reach temperatures warm enough to literally cook an egg should not be allowed to drop to sub-freezing temps the next night. It is intolerable. And it happens fast. One minute you’re slowly cooking in your own juices, then next your are trying to don your insulated APECS to keep from freezing to death.

Lastly there is the “wet” season. In nice places like Afghanistan and Iraq you get a little rain all year long (or so it seems). In Qatar, they get about 2 weeks of rain a year, and they get them all at once. The dry, dusty desert turns into a morass of mud the consistency of wet-concrete. Flat plains and small depressions turn into shallow lakes and ponds. Any hole that is dug turns into your own personal mud bath. And it sucks.

Now the wet season is a welcome change for those that are posted in Qatar for long periods of time. They like to have fun when it rains, as evidenced by some of the frivolity that occurs during and afterwards. For example, in an “undisclosed location” in Qatar there is an area in one of the living compounds that hold water like a basin. It is never more than a few inches deep, but it lasts longer than any other pond in the area. Not long after the rains there was a sign posted next to the small pond procaiming it “Lake (undisclosed location)” and citing the rules for enjoying the “lake.” The were as follows:

  1. No motorized craft are authorized on lake. This includes power boats, jet-skis and gas propelled “scooters”
  2. Reflective Belts (another story) must be worn at all times while enjoying the lake
  3. Personal Flotation must be worn at all times when enjoying the lake
  4. No Swimming
  5. No Splashing
  6. No Wading
  7. No “toeing” the water
  8. No sitting within 5 feet of the waters edge, when water present
  9. No suntanning
  10. No laughing, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours a day
  11. No joking
  12. No running
  13. No lifeguard on duty, enjoy the lake at your own risk
  14. Removal of this sign is strictly forbidden by AF Manual ID-10-T, Section 13, Subheading 5, Paragraph 69

Needless to say the sign was never moved, even after the water had evaporated. As far as I know it is still there.

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17 Responses to “The desert, yeah right…”

  1. no effect Says:

    “Reflective Belts (another story) must be worn at all times while enjoying the lake”
    do tell inquiring minds want to know the story behind this one


  2. Air Farce dude Says:

    Please allow me to elaborate on that one. So the Air Force (or maybe the military in general?) in their infinite wisdom has come to the conclusion that in order for us to be safe we must wear reflective belts during inclement weather, when on the flightline, and at night. All of these conditions during which we have to wear these “sexy belts”, as we refer to them, are still in effect while in theatre. So in order for us to be safe in an environment where people don’t like us and want to kill us we have to wear a belt that screams please shoot the glowing thing that’s on the other side of that sand storm/in the dark. Sorry for the long post/rant but I have a problem with this thinking.


    StoneWolf reply on May 20th, 2010 12:04 pm:

    At least a reflective belt is slightly less retarded than actually wearing a target.


    Air Farce dude reply on May 20th, 2010 1:39 pm:

    Only just slightly.


    Wyvrex reply on May 20th, 2010 3:42 pm:

    The army has the same thought process.

    What killed me the most is that they paid someone thousands of dollars to design a PT uniform for us. The PT uniform that they designed was bathed in reflective material. Then they took that idea and said “awesome, now lets make them wear a reflective belt anyway, thus undoing the benefit of these new PT’s”


    Jim A reply on May 21st, 2010 5:55 am:

    Which, I’m guessing cost considerably more than grey sweats.

    FNH PS-90 reply on June 13th, 2010 10:31 pm:

    …”Sorry for the long post/rant but I have a problem with this thinking.”

    And I have a problem with you calling it ‘thinking’. ;)


  3. CCO Says:

    Isn’t there an “I Hate Reflective Belts” group on FaceBook?


    Willy reply on May 21st, 2010 10:57 am:

    Who knows. You could always make one.


    luthor reply on October 28th, 2010 1:19 pm:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/If-you-dont-wear-your-PT-Belt-the-Insurgents-win/118223578202553 here you go, its not quite a i hat the pt belt page but close enough.


  4. Speed Says:

    Have you seen the power point about reflective belts in history? I’ll send it to Skippy when I get home if he doesn’t have it.


  5. David Says:

    Captcha: bandage pressing

    Yes, a reflective belt DOES make an excellent bandage for that sucking chest wound that our friends would like to give you.


  6. Matt Says:

    oh absolutely..I’m at another “Undiclosed Location” in Iraq, and the WIng Commander insists that “Disco Belts” are mandatory…seeing as thri aim is bad enough, we need to be sporting and offer them some assistance.


  7. Tzanti Says:

    A list worthy of the UK Civil Service.


  8. Gunrunner Says:

    I feel for ya brother. I am at an “undisclosed location” to the south of you and most, if not all, of your post is dead on here as well. We have our own Lake “undisclosed location” as well. It is, however, so salty, you would probably “pickle” before any real frivolity could occur. Today was a “nice” 122 degrees about noontime with 75% RH. Hmmm, worlds largest sauna?

    Captcha = of bopping – no. 15 There will be no “bopping” at the lake either. (ya heathens) :-)


  9. JMireless Says:

    Nine months at FOB Bucca, in southern Iraq. Somewhere about Mid-July, I decided that we should stop measuring temp somewhere about 110 degrees. From there, it should be broken into categories: 110-120 “HOT”, 120-130 “DAMN HOT”, 130-140 “F**KIN HOT”, 140+ “MOTHERF**KIN HOT”. For some reason, none of my buddies thought it’d be a good idea. LOL


  10. cmdr. crashlander Says:

    See the post titled “Disco Belts” for my opinion on the dang things. Thank god I ETSed before that nonsense carried over to the Army.

    capcha = tinuance rippled = due to frolicing in the lake?


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