Ok, so I really suck at keeping this updated. I guess that is why I never kept a diary, that, and I am a guy so we don’t generally keep a diary. I believe I left off with me sitting in the desert, digging holes, playing spades and getting sand and dust in places I didn’t know you could get sand and dust. So I guess the next step would be to move into the “Storm” portion of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. I don’t want to make this post last longer then the ground war, so I will just add a few sort stories that I either experienced myself or heard through the “Grapevine”.
Let’s see, I remember the night before the ground war started and we moved from our spot in the desert to a new spot in the desert that was just a few yards away from the Iraq border.[singlepic id=7 w=320 h=240 float=right]
The night before the invasion, while we were sound asleep all tucked into our beds, an MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) unit moved into the same area just a little south from us, which put us between Iraq and them. Sometime during the night, I guess they thought it would be a good idea to launch a barrage of rockets into Iraq, directly over our heads, without letting us know what was going on. Suffice to say, this scared the shit out of me and everyone else around me since we thought Iraq decided to start a day early. We jumped out of our vehicles in full MOPP (Mission Oriented Protected Posture, for chemical attacks) gear, weapons loaded and hearts racing to the point that I didn’t think it was going to ever slow down. Once we found out what was going on, things calmed down but I don’t think I ever got back to sleep.
I was going to label the next few posts as Day 1, ground war, Day 2, etc, but to be honest, it was just all one long day of non-stop driving. I believe we figured that I drove that M113 for about 36 hours straight, and I was a bit tired. Apparently adrenaline can only keep you awake for so long. I remember the unit stopped to see what was going on, it was dark, I was tired and so was my vehicle commander (CPT guy with me in the picture). All I remember is waking up and not seeing any other vehicles, tail lights or anything and CPT asking where everyone went. Looks like we both decided to take a little nap. He has the map and tells me to head out straight ahead. It was dark as hell and my night vision goggles were not working too well so I told him I could not see a thing. He said he could, and that he would guide me. Well, we drove off about a 10 to 15 foot cliff which feels very nice on the face when you smack it against a metal wall. The good news is, 1. I woke up and 2, we caught up to the unit.
The war lasted I believe 1o0 hours, most of which I drove. The memories and stories I have from the time spent there are surprisingly a bit blurry, something that I thought would never happen. This is partly the reason I decided to write this blog, to try and refresh them and see if I could somehow keep them all in one place.
After the war was over, we spent some more time in the…? If you said “Desert”, you would be correct. We finally moved back to Saudi Arabia and began the arduous task of cleaning all the dust, sand and everything else that did not come from the United States out of our vehicles and equipment. I remember flying into New Jersey to a heroes welcome from local students. It was good to be home again, and it was good to see green and walk on grass too.
I think the next posts will start off a bit further down on the timeline, with a few small stories spanning longer timeframes. Since I retire in just a few months, I need to speed things up or I will never make it.
See you next time.