Thursday, April 29, 2010

Part I 'Crystal Clear for the time being'

You are looking at a picture of our track behind our final position in Saudi Arabia that I took a few days before the ground operation started. I have been meaning to tell you that the Amtrack Unit lucky enough to be our support for the entire Desert Shield/Storm time warp was a Reserve Unit from San Antonio Texas. I remember them being a bunch of tea total goof balls as well as powerful humans who more or less kept those machines running through some harsh conditions with heavy loads.
On the afternoon of February 23, 1991 we were summoned from our man made sand burrows along with our Amtrack Support for a Company formation. The Arabian sky was clear blue with the exception of a few high clouds. The op-order came down from our Company Commanding Officer, Captain Steven W. Davis. In an effort to capture the authenticity of the moment Capt. Davis' call sign will be Spartan for the rest of this document. Spartan told the Company that everything was set for us to move through one of two breaches that were about to be plowed and hopefully cleared of mines by the morning. In the early morning hours of tomorrow we would be going in through the left hand breach and once across the berm we would be in Kuwait.

At that point we would continue moving methodically north, picking our way to the Battalion's objective which was the intersection of an east/west highway and a large agricultural facility in western Kuwait City. Spartan conveyed that he believed from intelligence reports that the air campaign had destroyed the command and control of the entrenched Iraqi Army Units that we would be facing. He let us know that the idea was that without a command to give them orders, the soldiers that have survived the thousands of sorties will not have the will to fight. As he continued to read the orders we learned that there was also an expectation from higher command that there would be some friction points along the way. Command prepared us physically and emotionally for the worst case scenario, a planning technique that I unconsciously still use today in my decision making mind.

Spartan ended his address to Golf Company by wishing us, God Speed. There was a Hoorah from us in response then we made our way back to the line. I cannot remember exactly what I was thinking during those minutes but I do recall all of a sudden someone to my left shouted, "Look!" I stopped along with those around me as we watched two A-10s screaming towards us from the north a few hundred feet above our heads. They were loud and appeared thick like the gun ships that they were. As soon as they crossed our line flying south fast, the one in the rear cut a wing to wing barrel roll so close to our position that you could see the war ready jet airplane's upside down cock pit as it passed by gleaming in the bright white sun. Friends looked around in disbelief but our now was so real that we could not help but take notice. Taking notice of what is going on around me has become another effect of my experience in the Marine Corps.
Thus far I have made three post edit corrections:
April 22 entry in paragraph 5 December has been correctly changed to January.
April 22 entry in paragraph 5 months has been correctly changed to weeks.
April 26 entry in paragraph 3 second to last sentence the word 'excepting has been correctly changed to 'accepting'

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