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Planning Director Beyard: This is Kuwait

Westminster's Planning Director Thomas Beyard deployed to Iraq last summer.

Westminster's Department of Planning, Zoning and Development Director Thomas Beyard departed for a 400-day rotation with the Maryland Army National Guard late last summer.

Beyard joined the Guard in 1997 after years with the Army Reserve. He has worked for the city of Westminster for close to 24 years.

Until his return, his position is being filled by interim Director Steve Horn.

Beyard sends occasional correspondence to Patch and we will post his letters and photos as we receive them.

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Hi, thought I would send you some photos to show life at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. My home until the summer. This our prime location since the end of Operation New Dawn when we left Iraq, but now we have Soldiers in Afghanistan as well as other locations.

First, when you think of Kuwait, think of a desert. We are in a remote location and we are surrounded by sand. Very normal. When and if you leave the base, it is not unusual to see many camels. When I say many, I mean 50 or more. Just the other day when driving to a nearby base, I saw at least 100 camels along the road.  It is very hot and dry. Now temperatures can reach in the afternoon around 100 degrees F, but I know from experience that the temperatures will increase to at least 125-130 degrees F by the summer months.

Our replacement unit recently visited us, as all replacement units do. It is always a good sign, as then you know the end is getting closer. Of course, we do everything possible to set them up for success. I met and spent much time with my counterpart and I think he learned much new information. By seeing things with your own eyes, you can then visualize and know what to change. I am sure they are better for the future.

Also, we are also beginning to change out units. That is also a sign of the end of a deployment. If your subordinates are changing, the you know that you will change out soon.

We are working to keep our Soldiers focused and safe, while at the same time preparing to return home. I know that each and every Soldier has great pride in their work. I hear and see it every day. Now the challenge is to keep the focus on mission and safety until we return home. I made a commitment to myself and Soldiers to bring each and every one home. That is a solemn commitment that I will do my very best to achieve. I also know that the Families of our Soldiers are patiently waiting for their return. The packages and letters keep coming; so I know the thoughts and love are still there.

I am home on leave for a few weeks and will return to the Middle East in early May. I am sure I will see many of my friends, but I am also working to just relax and take it easy.

So enjoy the photos I have attached. First, is of me flying on C12 from Kuwait to another country. Second, see our 29th CAB "wall of fame" with me standing beside it to give an idea of size (I am 6'6" or almost 2m tall). Units most often paint a protective wall with their unit logo, etc. beforethey leave. We chose this design after a competition with our Soldiers. Three, is our Camp Buehring stage. Toby Keith will soon perform there on one of his concerts for Soldiers. Four, we even have Starbucks - looks the same inside, but the outside is protected. Fifth, is our official brigade sign. Sixth, is our headquarters building, with permanent construction that is typical.

To all, be great and take care of yourself.

Regards,
Tom

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