I was on active duty in the Marine Corps. And I got deployed to Iraq in 2005.
Yes it was hotter that I could have ever imagined (135 degrees!) and yes we got shot at (Mortars. They suck.)
But the place was also beautiful, in it's own alien way:
(Iraq sunset, 2008. Picture courtesy of the Hubby.)
Sometimes we even managed to squeeze in a little downtime in a kiddie wading pool.
Which didn't make up for the 135 degree heat, but you take what you can get in a pinch.