Embedded in a war zone: Arrival in the Middle East

Editor's Note: Lahontan Valley News editor Steve Ranson is in Bahrain to report on the training pilots receive at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center In Fallon and how it is applied aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis with the pilots and support personnel. Ranson wrote this "on day 3 - or day 2 depending on all the time changes."

Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet is an important country for establishing the Gulf region.

The six-hour overnight flight that left from London Friday night arrived in Bahrain on time, culminating a 31-hour odyssey from Fallon to the Middle East.

Immigration became a nightmare and added to the long trip.

Mention the word journalist, and authorities develop fear. Later on that.

Arriving at Bahrain - at first - looked like a landing in Las Vegas. Sandstone buildings dotted the desert landscape with patches of green popping alongside the approach path; however, the airport looks more like Reno's.

Based on the information provided to 5th Fleet almost one month ago, I was approved for a media credential to enter the country and to board the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on Sunday for a two-trip in the Gulf.

That was easy to fill out forms and submit them. Same with 5th Fleet receiving them.

Immigration had to verify with the Ministry of Information's office that I and other journalists had arrived. Today was a religious holiday, so the immigration official tried for two hours to contact a ministry official with some clout.

Finally, two hours later, the approval came through for me to proceed to customs, where I picked up my personal dufflle bag. Before leaving customs, another stop required officials to check my camera equipment, and I had to ask for an importer's license because I brought in a camera, laptop and tape recorders.

I need the paperwork to re-enter the country after the visit the USS John C. Stennis.

Speaking of the Stennis.

I will fly in a what is called a COD plane, used to deliver mail, people, etc. from Bahrain to the aircraft carrier.

It is expected the flight will take 3-4 hours. It's early wake-up like 3 a.m. for a 4 p.m. flight.

For those shivering in Northern Nevada ... 88 degrees and 45 percent humidity in Bahrain.

The distance from my hotel to the main gate is about half a mile, but the path takes me what is called "the American section" with McDonald's, KFC, DQ and Burger King. There are some places in life we can't get rid of.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment