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Deployed Soldiers Tour Iraq’s Ziggurat of Ur

By Army Spc. Shane P.S. Begg
Special to American Forces Press Service

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Nov. 30, 2009 – Many soldiers cite travel as the reason why they joined the Army.

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An Iraqi tour guide looks on as soldiers from the 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, explore what is thought to be the biblical home of Abraham. The ruins were discovered near the Great Ziggurat of Ur, built some 4,000 years ago by the Sumerian king Ur-Nammu to honor their moon god, Nanna. Army photo by Spc. Shane P.S. Begg
  

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But many don’t expect to have much opportunity to get out and see their host nation while deployed.

Yet more than 40 Iraq-stationed soldiers from 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, on Nov. 21 got to take a guided tour of one of the world’s most historic sites: the Great Ziggurat of Ur.

Most commonly known as “The Ziggurat of Ur,” the step pyramid, built by an ancient Sumerian king, is located a short distance from here.

Dhaif, a local Iraqi man who has lived his entire life next to the site, has spent many hours studying the history and culture of ancient Iraq, and offered a tour to soldiers.

The ziggurat was built by the Sumerians over four thousand years ago under the rule of King Ur-Nammu. It served as a temple to the Sumerian moon god Nanna.

“It is a rare opportunity to be able to visit a site with such biblical and historical significance,” said Army Staff Sgt. Miriam Mountain. “I highly recommend this tour to all soldiers living on or visiting COB Adder.”

Dhaif explained the historical significance of the temple and touched on some of the ongoing restoration and excavation projects.

“We also visited what is believed to be the home of Terah and Abraham, the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” said Army Spc. Courtney Sloat, a medic from Grand Blan, Mich.

Upon the completion of the tour, the soldiers gathered at the base of the ancient step pyramid for photographs before returning to their base.

(Spc. Shane P.S. Begg is assigned to Multinational Division South, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Spc. Courtney Sloat and Army Pfc. Erin Lake, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, enjoy a tour of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, in Iraq, Nov. 21, 2009. Army photo by Spc. Shane P.S. Begg   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMore than 40 soldiers with 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, took a guided tour of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, with a local Iraqi who lives near the ancient structure, near Contingency Operating Base Adder, in Ur, Iraq, Nov. 21, 2009. The step pyramid was built by Sumerian king Ur-Nammu more than 4,000 years ago. Army photo by Spc. Shane P.S. Begg   
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