Camp Victory, Iraq – Summer 2003
Eighteen years ago, I spent about seven months at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq (most living in a rat-infested tent). I flew from Kuwait where I had spent five months (and convoyed back to Kuwait when it was finally my time to go). I had a fairly cushy Army experience, but it was still a big culture-shock to me.
When I arrived at Camp Victory in June, there was a shortage of water and M.R.E.s (meals ready to eat — the food) which were being rationed but heat was in excess. I was sleeping during the day and working nights, which literally meant chugging most of my water ration and then passing out on my cot in my own sweat.
I showered in an inflatable shower tent, which deflated around sundown (my shower time while working nights). In the shower tent, two men could shower on one side and two women on the other side. When it deflated, you had to bend your knees and shrink with it, in order to remain modestly covered. When it collapsed completely, you had to race to cover up before exiting as there was always a game of ping-pong hoping for a real show.
The hardest part of that first year deployed, was not knowing how long it would be for, and the rats chewing on my bra hooks and hair brush. If you are interested in hearing about the REAL Army deployments during this time period and not the cushy life I had, check out Carrying the Gun.
I pretended the two sheep were pets and named them: Mr. Woolsworth and Lambchop. I’m pretty sure they were killed and eaten at some point or at least that’s the rumor I heard.