15 April 2009
Camp Victory - Baghdad Iraq
This was home for six months. These photos are all about five years old and Camp Victory now looks way different. I was amazed how different it was by the end of my second tour even. USACE moved from the trailers into a new office building(s) they built and all the employees moved into a barrack/dorm style building (benefit of not having to share a room but you had to walk down the hall to the bathrooms). A few of these pools I have been told are now closed.
Anyway before Camp Victory was taken over by the US Military and made into a base camp it was actually Saddam Hussein’s “hunting palace”. Nice huh. Rumor has it he had over a 100 palaces! The Iraqis lived in a hut at best and their ruler had palatial homes in the triple digits. Amazing and unfair. Anyway the hunting palace had not only one amazing palace where Saddam would have lived.
It also had a very cool lap pool right outside the palace. I swam in this pool many times.
There were also several other very large homes located within the palace grounds. I guess these were for his friends, family, and staff. Many of these were very ornate as well (photos to come in the future).
Many of these buildings, to include the two below that were the vacation homes of Saddam’s two very bad sons were badly bombed by US Forces during the initial month of war. However any building that was salvageable was made into either office space or living space. It was odd as you would walk around these palaces and see some walls or areas totally crumbling and falling apart from the bombs and the rest would be totally in tact. Very precise!
Even with all the buildings there were still more people than space. So many of us lived and worked in trailers. Below is a photo of the office area and also the trailers we all lived in. More photos of my trailer to follow in a future post.
We also had a huge tent that was the PX (post exchange) where you could buy any needed supplies such as snacks, toiletries, movies, magazines, etc.. Like a small Wal-Mart. Items were always limited and shipments were sometimes halted due to convoys being targeted by roadside bombs. But overall they did have a great selection and better than nothing. We also had a Burger King so you could get your fast food fix if needed! Now there are several additional fast food restaurant option.
Connected to Camp Victory was Camp Slayer which was another Saddam palace compound, this was known as the Perfume palace and the rumor is this is the compound where he kept all of his mistresses! Nice huh. Anyway here is the palace at Slayer and one of those pools we often used for hails and farewells.
Hope you are enjoying the brief photos tours of Iraq. I am hoping I can find some photos from my travels outside of Baghdad as well.