My deployment in Qatar: Groundhog Day in real life

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My day-to-day operations are monotonous. As soon as I wake up I go straight to work. I go to a morning meeting, then I check all of my emails from Tampa and respond fairly quickly to questions and comments from my Tampa bosses. When I finish with my work email I get to check my Facebook and my personal email accounts. Throughout the day I may have a meeting here or there and I may have to call a bunch of people for answers. Sometimes I get an extra duty that I gladly work my heart out for. I thrive on busy work and extra tasks to keep myself from memorizing all of my Facebook friend's wall posts and Twitter messages.


After all of that I stare at the clock until meal time. Meal times are the 2nd most exciting part of my day, getting mail is the 1st most exciting part of my day and pretty much everyone else's day too. All of a sudden I have worked a little over 12 hours and then I get to go back to my room, but wait... what should I do? I get to choose to go to the gym and work out, go to the gym to use the phones, go to my room and watch television, go to my room and do laundry, or go to my room to go to bed.


Mainly I choose to go to the gym, because sitting for 12 hours in front of a computer sort of makes me feel sluggish, especially since I am so used to doing physical activities all throughout the day in Tampa. I spend an hour at the gym, sometimes, and then I hit the showers then off to bed. You would think that I would be in the best shape ever with all of this working out that I do, but the cafeteria here feeds us too well. Tacos, hamburgers, pizza, ice-cream, donuts, lasagna, you name it... we eat it here. Also, the portions they feed us are for the obese. That is another reason why I choose to go the gym, I don't want to go back home to Tampa with extra junk in the trunk.

[Editor's Note: Jennifer Huntsman is a US Army Reserve Signal Captain stationed at MacDill Air Force Base with Joint Communication Support Element (JCSE). She is currently deployed in Qatar. Jenny will be writing for The Daily Loaf about life in the military.]

Did you ever see the movie Groundhog Day? Every day exactly the same, every day choices are limited. The movie is a soldier's reality when they are deployed to Qatar. I would like to say that as an Army officer I live an adventurous life of guts and danger, but my world is completely the opposite at the moment. True, the Army has shown me what I am physically and mentally capable of, and I have been sent to cool (Hooah) schools, but I am not using any of my "Hooah" skills out here. ("Hooah" meaning Army Cool - almost like Army Strong.)

Troops from MacDill Air Force Base sometimes deploy to Qatar. If you were not aware, Qatar is a country right next to Saudi Arabia and is located on the Persian Gulf. Qatar is a Muslim country, but unlike most of the conservative Muslim countries you can find Western hotels and spas such as the Westin and the Ritz Carlton. Also, you may dine at Applebee's, Chili's, you can find alcohol, and everyone here speaks English. Most Westerners agree that you can go through Doha, Qatar in your typical American clothing (t-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes) and no one will bother you and you will not be glared at. As a woman, I have walked through the malls of Qatar in civilian attire and I have not felt uncomfortable once.

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