Saudi Arabia - July 2001
Captain Edward Caricato, USMC
[Editor's Note: Capt. Caricato wrote the following letter during a six month deployment aboard the USS Boxer (similar to a miniature aircraft carrier). He was the Executive Officer for a Marine field artillery battery. Prior to Saudi Arabia, they had been to United Arab Emirates.]
It has been a while since my last letter so there should be a whole lot to report. Unfortunately, all
of that time has been spent at sea so my activities have been somewhat limited. I believe my last letter included our brief stop in the United Arab Emirates. Since then we departed the Persian Gulf and made our way around the Arabian Peninsula into the Red Sea.
For a little over a week we sat off the western coast of Saudi Arabia while some units went ashore to train with Saudi counterparts. Because the exercise was limited in time and funding my artillery battery did not get to go ashore. Initially, I was a little disappointed because I have never been to Saudi Arabia and felt like I was missing out on some new opportunities and experiences. However, my tune quickly changed once the ships pulled into position and I realized that the weather was even worse in Saudi than it was in Kuwait. Temperatures reached above 110, humidity hovered at around 85-90% and sand storms were also prevalent. In addition to all that anyone going ashore would have to start up on malaria pills again and all personnel and equipment had to be sanitized for hoof and mouth disease prior to re-embarking. Needless to say it turned out to be a blessing that I did not have to go ashore. To top it off, all three of my roommates did leaving me with a big old room all to myself. It was quite a pleasant little vacation.
During this time we also hit our halfway point for the six-month deployment. It was a bittersweet day for me personally. On one hand we had reached the hump but on the other we still had another 3 months to go. Maybe it was just me but time seemed to slow down to a standstill for about a week or two after that.
[Continued: Click on Jordan]
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