At Camp Virginia, Kuwait

My last day in Iraq was delayed for unknown reasons.  We finally flew out from Joint Base Balad to Kuwait on Sunday. 

 It was a strange last day.  The night before we left, there was a sudden, violent dust storm.  I was riding my bike, and ended up cycling right into a wall of strongly blowing dust.  This was followed by rain, which lasted off and on until the morning.  This was the first rain I’ve seen in Iraq since about April, and I was glad to finally have something to reduce the dust.  It was terrible news, though, because a helicopter crashed that night on JBB. According to the newspaper, one person was killed and 12 others injured, and the accident was caused by high winds, and the fierce sandstorm that I had experienced on my final night in Iraq.  As I was awaiting the flight home, there was an incoming fire attack, and so I had to get down on the ground and wait for the “all clear”.  So my last day brought some grim reminders of how dangerous it can be in Iraq.

 So anyway, the rain really cleared up the weather the following day.  No dust and just a light breeze, so our flight was able to leave slightly ahead of schedule.  We flew on a nice, gigantic C-17, and it was a quick flight of just over an hour to Ali Al Salem airbase.  Here is a view of the interior of the C-17 (note, you can click on these photos to enlarge):

 Flight Home

We spent about 5 hours just sitting on buses after we arrived, which annoyed me greatly.  We got on buses after getting off the C-17, then got off to clear weapons, and got back on.  Then we got off for a silly briefing, then got back on.  Then got off to load luggage, then got back on. Then got off for another silly briefing, and got back on.  We finally arrived at our tents at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, around midnight.

 Camp Virginia is close to Ali Al Salem.  It is similar to Camp Buerhing, in that it is a desert landscape with pre-fabricated buildings and tents dotting the area.  When you deploy into Iraq, you stay at  Camp Buerhing.  When you re-deploy out of Iraq on the way back home, you stay at Camp Virginia.  Here is what it looks like:

 Camp Virginia

And a map (not to scale) given to me by a third-country national at the rec center:

 Camp Virginia Map

Of course, they have a USO, a phone center, a shopping mall, and of course everyone’s favorite coffee shop, for those who insist on paying for their coffee:

 Starbucks

I got a little sleep in the tent last night. It’s not that bad here, and the weather is not brutally hot.  Then again, maybe I’m getting used to hot weather and walking around in sand by now.  I’m very excited to be able to go home soon!!

 So we’ll be here for a little while, awaiting our flight to the USA.

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7 Responses

  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/21/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. Hi,

    I just would like to thank you for your service and your post is such a good insight on how it’s like at camp Virginia and redeploying. My husband is currently as of this moment at Ali Al Salem waiting for their flight back to the states. He had mentioned to me everything you have on this post including the terrible weather causing delays & accidents along with the USO and starbucks and stuff. Just seeing the pictures was a really good visual aid for me. =) I pray for everyone’s safety back home and thank you to you and your family! U must be so excited to see them. I only have 5 days left until I see the hubby…=D oh by the way would you know how long putprocessing is and if they also outprocess on the weekends? I’m hoping he gets back home in time to celebrate our 2nd year wedding anniversary for the first time. Thanks!

  3. […] At Camp Virginia, Kuwait September 20092 comments 3 […]

  4. Could you please take the photo of the map off the site…OPSEC! We don’t need the bad guys “googling” our installations online and finding detailed info like that. Even if it isn’t to scale, it still shows too much info. Thanks!

  5. To one and all: The Map stays UP. This map was posted on walls and handed out to third-country-nationals. It shows nothing that can be used to hurt anyone. And it’s in Kuwait, where there has never even been an attack. Do you want to help out with OPSEC? Then maybe we should try to destroy all maps of Fort Hood, Texas (where there was an attack that killed more people than were ever killed in Kuwait). Maybe we should try to take down Google Earth, which also shows a lot more than this not-to-scale map does.

    Using the word “OPSEC” like a mantra is not productive. The bottom line is that this map’s publication threatens nobody, and it is useful for public information and education about life in Kuwait. If anyone can make a reasonable argument about how this map is a danger, please make it, don’t just chant OPSEC.

  6. Just an FYI: Any further posts mentioning OPSEC will be deleted without even being posted on this blog. I welcome intelligent, and even critical remarks. The last 5-6 posts here have just been insults written around the word “OPSEC.” All have been deleted instantly and never even posted on this blog. So save yourself the trouble, OPSEC guardians. The map stays.

  7. If you’d like to know why you’re departure was delayed find a copy of the book “The Longest War” edited by John Homes and read the story by Nikki Ackerman.

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