14 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 05 Sep 90

5 SEP 90

160176, 5T2, 3.2, 260, Peewee

Gotta write fast because the sun’s going down and the light is going, plus showers go in another hour or so. Maybe I can write by moonlight. I do have a flashlight. It’s too hot to write during the day. About the only things worth doing are flying or trying to sleep. At least there’s a breeze when we fly.
Got up early for a 0645 launch, went out and played Tactical Air Coordinator Airborne (TAC(A)). It’s a good mission, you orchestrate all air, arty and supporting arms units in your area of operation and coordinate command and control with rear echelon units, i.e. you fly between the front lines and the rear, usually out of harm’s way. We’re exercising the control nets, hey, just like a CAX, a good learning experience for me.
Got a letter from my mom, she says there must be a higher purpose for me being here. I hope so. I also hope she’s not unduly worried about me. Once we get lights in our Home Sweet Tent, maybe I can write more. Only time to write is after hours when it’s too dark or still too hot.
I have a shower story, they’re a hoot. When we got back from flying, we took our “field showers”. They have two pipes that spray out warm (solar heated) water, designed primarily for chemical decontamination. The floor is a pallet. There are no sides or top, so by the light of a full moon, everyone is out there scrubbing away. Quite scenic. 30 Marines, standing under a pipe on a moonlit, deserted runway. 2 minutes to soap up, 1 minute to scrub, 2 minutes to rinse. Best option is to hop in with just running shorts and hose off. My non-flying garb is boots, socks, running shorts, green t-shirt, pistol and gas mask. Sometimes hat. I don’t seem to be getting sunburned, as I’m normally covered with a nomex flight suit. Anyway, the shower felt great.
The “head” out here is a different story, a big ditch covered by a piece of plywood with the required hole in it, and sandbag seats. Smells really great. And strategically placed just north of the fuel pits. I think it’s a checkpoint for incoming helos, “tally ho!” Must be another Kodak moment.
Spot stopped smoking, so we’re worried about him. Some people in maintenance are working 8 hour days now, but other shops are behind, like Flight Equipment, and working 12-14 hours to catch up, plus we’re short a guy for 2 weeks for the reactionary force. AMO sometimes comes across as thinking all his Maint Os should do is test and supervise, no time for personal business or tactical flying. Oh well, what can happen, I get a crummy fitrep and get sent to Saudi ? My job is to accomplish the mission, look out for my Marines and keep everyone safe. Guess where the priority is? If we can’t accomplish our mission, esp in combat, people die. Peacetime allows us to balance the three. The situation we’re in now leaves us with some tough decisions.
Oh well, on to bed. The bugs haven’t been a problem, as I brought my “skeeter beater”. Flies mainly. No sand fleas, parasites, etc... to be found yet, hope to keep it that way. They say what doesn’t kill you will make you harder. But one can only take so much of a good thing.

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