Soldiers get a chance to get away from it all |

Soldiers get a chance to get away from it all

Patrick Earl of Grass Valley has an unusual job.

The venue of his work is Qatar, a small country in the Middle East. A chief warrant officer in the United States National Guard, Earl, 38, is the officer in charge of the U.S. Army’s Rest and Recuperation Leave Program in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The R&R program gives a four-day break to servicemen. At the program site in Qatar, service members from Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan come for their four-day vacation, Earl said.

“We have trips into downtown Doha that they can go on,” Earl said. “There’s a cultural tour where they can go into shopping ‘souqs’ (markets). They can go on a boat cruise or they can go swimming. They can also go to the malls here. They can wear civilian clothes and have a good time.”

The R&R program takes place all year round. On an average, Earl’s site hosts between 300 to 500 servicemen a day.

Earl’s hospitality team consists of 12 men from the 40th Personnel Service Detachment out of Sacramento and 10 people from the 349th Personnel Service Detachment from Texas.

“I oversee the program,” Earl said. “I make sure the service members are being taken care of; that my soldiers are doing a good job of providing service to those who come to the program.

“We manage the safety of the trips. We provide escorts to service members when they are on trips. We transport them to and from the local Air Force base.”

The R&R camp that Earl is in charge of ” called “As Sayliyah” ” consists of several remodeled warehouses surrounded by a perimeter wall that’s three miles long.

“On camp we have a minigolf course, a swimming pool, a Chili’s restaurant, a Burger King, a Subway and a Pizza Inn,” Earl said. “They also have a gym where they can work out, get a manicure, a pedicure or a massage. There are a couple of jewelry stores they can shop in.”

Earl hopes to return to his civilian life in Grass Valley in August. His wife, Stacy, and children ” 9-year-old Phillip and 7-year-old Savannah ” live off of Lime Kiln Road.

Formerly an employee of a software company in Grass Valley, Earl esteems his present position.

“It’s a privilege to provide this service ” to see (the soldiers at the camp) smile and have a good time,” Earl said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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