FAIRBANKS - What started out as a roughly three-month stint as the commander of about 2,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard troops in Qatar has turned into a six-month deployment for the newly appointed head of the Alaska Air National Guard.
Col. Tim Scott, a brigadier general select who has spent the last 2 1/2 years commanding almost 700 people at the 168th Air Refueling Wing at Eielson Air Force Base, said the decision to stay in Qatar was not his.
Scott was scheduled to return to Alaska at the beginning of December.
Scott said that like other senior commanders serving at forward deployed military bases in the Middle East, he was kept at the helm to continue relationship building with Qatar. Scott, named by Gov. Frank Murkowski to head the Alaska Air National Guard in December, oversees the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid Air Force Base. Al Udeid is one of three U.S. military bases in Qatar, an Arab country about the size of Connecticut on the Arabian Peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf.
Since taking command at Al Udeid on Sept. 4, Scott has seen an improvement in quality of life at the base as the U.S. military's presence in the Middle East increases.
When Scott took the helm there he called it the "largest, most active base in the Central Command." The U.S. Central Command includes 25 countries as far north as Kazakhstan, through the Middle East and into northern Africa as far south as Kenya. At the time, reports were surfacing that the base was being looked as a potential host for a forward headquarters for the U.S. Central Command and the war on Iraq. As Sayliyah was selected instead.