Notice the 5.56mm green tip armor piercing rounds that I had loaded into two magazines. I made this picture at our last position in Saudi Arabia. The grinding strain of the tracks tearing their weighty load across the desert seemed louder than ever. A small red light bulb glowed from near the back ramped hatch dimly illuminating the inside compartment. I could barely make out the familiar eyes of my friends sitting right next to and across from me. The weight of all of my gear felt heavy on my legs as I sat with my back against the inside starboard wall inhaling diesel fumes and the spiritual breaths of my fellow Marines. A loud grinding noise continued as time and distance pass by delivering us to the edge of the berm. The vehicle slowed then sped up only to slow again. None of us had any idea what was going on outside the skin of our armored transportation.
All of a sudden the track jerked hard like we had hit something and bounced off of it. In our armored box it was difficult to determine which way we were turning but we cut hard and the metal on metal grinding sound became louder. We soon found out that we had made it through the berm but as soon as we cleared it on the Kuwaiti side we were ordered to turn around and get back on the Saudi side as soon as possible. Once back on Saudi sand again we disembarked and were instructed to break open the charcoal suits and put them on. When I opened my foil package I was not surprised to see that the suits were woodland green/brown forest cammie. The inside seemed more crowded once we loaded back up. Our carbon filled trousers and jackets added diameter to all of us.
Back through the left hand breach in the berm into Kuwait all over again. It seemed that for hours our track rumbled slowly forward stopping occasionally for a minute or two then continuing north. It was late morning when we made our first stop inside Kuwait. The back door of our track lowered introducing us to this new land. As soon as my boots hit the sand I realized that the sun was being completely blocked out by the thick oil smoke. Weeks before Saddam Hussein had order his military to set fire to the wells in most of Kuwait's southern oil fields. For the first few minutes I could not even see the hand in front of my face as I tried to understand what I was perceiving. Even when my eyes adjusted I found it difficult to make out the landscape around me. It was apparent that we had stopped on a little rise close to another vehicle that had thrown a track. The rest of Golf Co. and the BN were out there somewhere in front of us. We set up a hasty perimeter around the two vehicles while the crews went to work on the fix.