Boever’s Bunker: Birds Eye Views
Our good friend, Dan Boever (REMAX Long Drive Champ, golf entertainer and all around good guy) shares his experiences in Iraq as he takes part in “Operation: FORE the Troops”. They say it’s a trip to “visit the troops” and “entertain”, but we know the governments real motive…it’s Dan’s ability to snipe at 380 yards with a Pinnacle Gold Distance.
Sunday started a bit earlier than I was hoping. After going to bed three and a half hours earlier the 3:30 wakeup call was not something I was anxious to take part in. I know, what a baby. We rolled out of Arifjan at 4AM and headed out for the hour and a half trip up the road to a camp I can’t remember. I just remember mean looking guards at the gate and that it was very dark.
It was there we got on a C130 to fly to Baghdad. Before we boarded the plane they told us it was time to put on our vest and helmet. Prior to leaving on the trip I had to sign a release that said if anything bad happened I was responsible for any and all issues that may come out of being injured, or worse. Putting on the helmet and vest brought me a small step closer to the realization that something bad was a possibility. Seeing the soldiers in the back of the plane eye balling the ground looking for enemy fire as we flew didn’t make me feel much better.
I gotta tell you, any soldier who has flown more than two hours on a C130 is a hero in my book. If someone has flown over ten hours (which I know many have) then they deserve some type of medal and extra pay for life. If you are claustrophobic it is the not the place to be. Sitting sideways and not being able to look out the windows made me try and find my “happy place”. On the flight with us were fifteen or so soldiers and three senators with their thirty two aides.
During the flight I got the opportunity to go to the flight deck and hang out with the crew. There were four young men in command and all of them would be carded at any bar they tried to enter. Total age was less than 100.
It was freaky to think as we flew I was looking down over the country of Iraq. How in the world did I get to the place in my life where I would be standing in the front of a C130 looking down from the heavens at this place. It sure was a long way from where I grew up in little Remsen, IA.
We flew into Sather Air Force Base (I actually wrote the name down this time) and immediately went to a meet and greet with the troops. They were all so very kind and I even met one who lives in Le Mars, IA. Le Mars is a mere 10 miles from that very same Remsen. Small World.
We then got into the armor plated vehicles and drove to the JVB Hotel located on Camp Victory. I understand it was actually a palace originally built for Saddam Hussein’s oldest son. It is very impressive size wise. I imagine you could comfortably house a family of 100 in here. It would be my first of many eye openers to the lavish waste of wealth from Saddam.
We threw our bags down and fifteen minutes later we met more troops out on the back patio. This time we would do it with clubs in hand. They set up some mats and we proceeded to smash balls out into a lake that runs right up to the palace. It was a lot of fun with the guys hitting skippers and moon balls. At one point Corey Pavin jumped in to hit off my waste high tee. He hit it like the pro he is, perfect. Then Tom Watson said he wanted to try it. The results were not quite as good as Corey’s. Tom hit under it and made the ball shoot straight up off the overhanging roof. The ball ricocheted off three pillars, two soldiers and a bench before rolling into the water. The soldiers went crazy with laughter and Tom just smiled and said, “Gimme another one!”
When we finished we went to the room for six minutes and got ready for our evening plans. First would be a meeting with Multi-National Force Chief of Staff Brigadier General Joseph Anderson and then we would dine with Multi-National Task Force Commander, General Raymond Odinerno. All I can say is-VERY COOL.
Mr. Anderson was very welcoming and spoke with us about progress they have made in the last two years. As I listened to him and watched him all I could think was, this is excellence in action. And…I would not want to jack with this guy!
We were then shuttled to the home of General Odierno. As we spoke it was mind boggling to comprehend this man I am speaking with is a very powerful four star general. It was such an honor to be with him and to be part of the evening. Also in attendance were numerous other generals. All of them were nothing but classy. I nearly cried as I looked around the room and pondered the years of sacrifice and service these men and their families have dedicated to our country and its citizens.
After dinner we headed to the back patio for some golf. Balls started flying into the night as we tried to hit a nearby building. Even though these men are disciplined professionals they are still men and the thought of knocking a ball off the side of a building was more than they would stand.
Monday November 23 was officially in the books and it was indeed a good day.
Learn more about Dan at his website DanBoever.com
- Boever’s Bunker: Intro
- Boever’s Bunker: Boots, Batteries & Baby Wipes
- Boever’s Bunker: O’Hare Scamper
- Boever’s Bunker: Road Trip
- Boever’s Bunker: Camp Carver via Blackhawk