U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Cesar Castro, carrying a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley, was the latest visitor to this muddy farming area that has become a tourist site of sorts since Saddam Hussein was pulled out of an underground bunker on Dec. 13 after nearly eight months on the run.
Soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division, chiefly responsible for finding Saddam, had taken to calling him Elvis. Their missions — chasing tips, vague intelligence and sightings of the ousted dictator — came to be known as "Elvis hunts."
Castro, with the Tikrit-based 4th Infantry, put his arm around the shoulders of the glittering, gold suited Elvis and got his comrades to take his pictures in front of the former dictator's last hiding hole.
"It seemed like a good idea to bring (a cutout) of Elvis to Saddam's hole to show that Elvis was even here," Castro, a 42-year-old Dallas native, said with a grin. "I was surprised though. I thought the hole was going to be bigger."