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This week, the U.S. Central Command Rest and Recuperation Pass Program marked its 150,000th participant since its inception in 2004.

The program offers troops in the region a brief respite from their tours in areas ranging from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa. Based at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, the program offers four days of rest, a chance to have a beer and a break from the daily grind of work.

The base includes network gaming terminals, a bowling alley and several restaurants; the program also offers off-post cultural and shopping trips.

The Army identified the 150,000th participant as Spc. Paul Harris, an infantryman from Valdosta, Ga.

“The best thing is not having to worry about anything,” Harris said. “If I want to, I can sleep the whole day. For some, it’s the venues and being able to have three beers at night. For me, it’s not worrying about anything at all.”

“I was riding in a vehicle through Qatar with no equipment, no rifle — it felt great,” Harris said of an off-post trip to Doha, Qatar’s capital city. “It felt good, but I caught myself still looking along the road sides, scanning roof tops... it becomes a habit.”


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