November 2013. Mike Chenery’s Air Force-issued boots dig into foreign soil at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar for the first time. And it’s sandy.
Perhaps the most immediate and striking characteristic newcomers notice about this part of the world is the unforgiving climate. Situated about 20 miles inland from Qatar’s eastern coast, Al Udeid Air Base regularly sees temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius). That’s without factoring in the accompanying humidity, which is driven by Qatar’s proximity to the Persian Gulf.