Reporter’s Notebook: Need a drink? Have a cold one at Ramadi’s Tiki Bar
At Camp Ramadi, the Bandit Tiki Bar has a string of little red lights outside that spell “Tiki Bar.” It’s downright homey, with seashells, leis, balloons shaped like fish and a ceiling fan.
Music plays and games are on the TV. A palm tree grows through the floor and provides a little shade. The little hut on the hill is darn near Key West.
“It’s the only place in Ramadi where you can come and get a cold beer,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Frazier of Hollywood, Fla., and 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment.
Non-alcohol beer, of course. But at least it’s German: Bitburger, Beck’s, Clausthaler.
And soda and tea also are offered.
There’s a blender for daiquiris, but this time of year it’s too cold for that. Maybe during those 100-plus-degrees summer days, or better yet, those 90-degree summer nights. Games, too, are offered, like checkers, chess, dominoes and a dartboard.
Frazier operates the bar on his own time. He obtains N/A beer from logistics runs to nearby Camp Taqaddum.
Gross sales during a good night run about $70 to $100. Profits, Frazier said, are to be donated to the Bandits Ball in Friedberg to be held in the spring. The funds would allow some lower-enlisted soldiers to get in for free.
Frazier plans to redeploy to Germany around February, leaving behind his Bandit Tiki Bar.
“And I will leave special instructions on how to take care of it,” Frazier said.
British cemetery gets a makeoverThere’s R.A. Salter, a squadron leader for the Royal Air Force. And a 20-year-old driver, W. Giles of Royal Army Services.
S. Bronowicki of the Polish Forces was 34 when he died. Gone, yes. But forgotten?
Troops from the Air Force’s 732nd Regional Support Unit recently cleaned up the British cemetery at Camp Habbaniyah. Trash was picked up and toppled gravestones were righted. Vandals smashed some of the stones. The stones are two to three feet high, three inches thick and tan in color like Iraqi dirt. There are about 150 gravestones, though 289 people are said to be buried there from World War II and afterward. The British occupied the town, located between Fallujah and Ramadi, until the late 1950s.
“The troops based here and some local civilians had a Veterans Day ceremony here, honoring the war dead,” said Marine Lt. Col. Bob McCarthy, team leader for Police Transition Team 6. Not all those buried were troops.
“James Peters,” reads one tombstone. “Age 7. 27 Sept., 1954.”