Off-topic, but Tikrit related:
I've been in Tikrit once, in 2009. I won a couple Soldier of the Month boards for my unit while serving in Al Asad. As a reward, I was flown into
Tikrit for what was called "Freedom Rest." Basically, a compound was transformed into a resort getaway. We weren't allowed to wear our uniform.
Our unit wasn't allowed to reach us. We had individual rooms. There was a pedicurist there for us. We could order anything we wanted to eat, at any
time of the day, and most likely they could and would procure and prepare it for us, and deliver it to wherever we were hanging out at the time. There
was a swimming pool and hot tubs, a gift shop, a video game section (Xbox 360). We were able to call home, stateside. Stays there were for 3 day
periods... Basically, it was awesome.
Another thing that was cool about it was that there was a Soldier of the Year board in Tikrit, and the PT test was held on my last day of Freedom
Rest... Since I was IN Freedom Rest, I wasn't allowed to participate in it... Darn.
I missed the SotY board, but I didn't really want to do it
ANOTHER cool thing was that after freedom rest was over for me, no one from my unit arranged a flight back to my station for close to two weeks.
Basically, I had a prolonged vacation, in a "CHU" by myself, for around two weeks. While there, I had access to Burger King, McDonald's, Pizza Hut,
etc., a masseuse, and all the other stuff that was there on the post.
To cap it all off, the whole time I was in Tikrit, there was no incoming mortars, or anything... Talk about a good time, imo.
Sucks, all this that's going on, but I'll always have fond memories.
Sorry for straying from the topic, but I wanted to share.