As I got more comfortable with the job and figured out a routine, plus got to know some of the people I was working with, I was able to get out and explore the vast areas near the airport under the control of U.S. and coalition forces. Dominating the center of our compound was a large artificial lake dotted with a couple of small islands and stocked with fish. The whole area had been a walled-off, well-watered, rest and relaxation spot for the Hussein family and upper-level Baath Party members. Though somewhat rundown, bombed, and shot up, it was still kind of nice.
Baath Headquarters, Baghdad – now inside a U.S. base