I took this image of the desert sunset 19 years ago then I recreated it again the other night. Amtracks and soldiers silhouetted on the glowing horizon Back in our hole for the last few hours that we would be in that place in time we watched as the earth's rotation gave us the perception of yet another setting sun. Not long after midnight our gun team began to help load the track with the squad from First Platoon that we had been attached to. Ours was one of three gun teams from Golf Co. assigned to provide support for the riflemen of First Platoon. In the dark we strapped our packs to the lateral top rail on the outside of the giant armored dragon. Word came down to not break open the charcoal suits but be sure to have them close by along with your gas masks when we pull out.
To the best of my recollection there were twenty two of us and two Crew Members in the buttoned up track as it lurched forward to form up in column with the rest of Golf Co. spread out on another twelve machines. We rumbled over the sand for less than an hour and then the column stopped once for a gear adjustment and piss break before we reached the berm. The site outside the vehicle in the pale light of predawn was eerie and extraordinary at the same time. Dozens of dark Amtracks making up the other three companies of the Battalion silently sat spread out with their back doors dropped in a long line on the flat desert plain. The column was running north/south in a long line that kept on going as far as I could see. The human occupants of the vehicles milled about in the shadowy darkness smoking if they had them and talking in groups. To the ones far away in the front I must have appeared similar to them as they looked back down the line. Dark figures in the desert were moving around but never wandering too far from their tracks.
I remember that all of us were aware that we were very close to the left hand breach that led to Kuwait. We stood outside the vehicles as time passed expecting to be told to put on the charcoal lined suits and rubber boots. That order never came. Instead, out of the grayness calls came down the line to, "Mount up Golf Company, BN 2/4 is rolling."