US soldier admits being ‘purposefully obnoxious’ while cavorting in Saddam Hussein’s palace

Off duty U.S. soldiers enjoy Saddam Hussein's swimming pool at the Republican Palace July 14, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. Credit: Getty Images
Off duty U.S. soldiers enjoy Saddam Hussein’s swimming pool at the Republican Palace in 2003 in Baghdad.
Credit: Getty Images

As the war in Iraq trundled along after the fall of Saddam Hussein in summer 2003, the troops were restless. In an effort to keep them occupied, generals took a lucky few for some moments of luxury in one of the former dictator’s opulent palaces.

The party included Lt. Don Gomez, who is now publishing his adventures, and told Metro about the trip.

Metro: Was it like spring break? Where there any rules?

Gomez: We were restricted in that there were some no-go areas. It was a military building by then and you could tell if somewhere was off-limits, but there was a lot to explore.

It must have been popular?

The group was about 15 to 20 U.S. soldiers and it was full of everybody: Australian soldiers, international journalists, defense contractors, diplomats and lots of very attractive women. Some people stayed there for six months and rarely left.

Did everybody play nicely?

It was like a high-school mentality. Our morale had been low and then we had good food, air conditioning, a pool and movie theater. Some of us were purposefully obnoxious, splashing around, and I think some of the Australians got annoyed.

Were you all getting good souvenirs?

Not at this point, it was a base that had been captured and guarded since early in the war. Soldiers went into palaces that had been bombed and took what they wanted – even chandeliers! But at this place if you pulled something off the wall someone would stop you.

Did you go back?

Yes, two or three times but it was not the same and I don’t remember them so well. After a while they introduced trips to Qatar, and there was nothing as good as that in Baghdad.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.