Kuwait and the biggest chow house in the Middle East

Heading into Kuwait city.

Heading into Kuwait city–summer of 2004.

“Hey, John, any chance I could take 3rd Troop for some operational stand down?” I tentatively asked my second-in-command after an evening’s orders group, reasoning that nothing ventured meant nothing gained.

“I don’t see why not, Jeffers, the squadron should be able to spare you guys for a few days.”

And with that, the troop was over the Iraq-Kuwait border, rifles were unloaded and stashed in the back of our two dusty, ramshackle Land Rovers with our body armour vests, and we were speeding toward Kuwait city.

The most noticeable change was the number of luxury cars that suddenly started to appear on the motorway and whiz past us. But we didn’t care, we were leaving the bullets behind and heading to the beach for a couple of days.

Camp Doha, a few kilometers outside the city, had a sign that boasted “Biggest Chow House in the Middle East.” It served four meals a day, the usual three with a midnight sitting, also. The dessert section contained the most bewilderingly wonderful array of ice-creams.

Televisions dotted the surrounding walls showing American sports and entertainment shows. A couple had CNN playing and which was covering the ongoing fighting in Fallujah.

Images of infantry bunched together taking cover behind buildings’ walls flicked to bombs dropped from aircraft detonating to attack helicopters hovering and returning fire.

We’d left the war behind, but it had followed and joined us for dessert.