18 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 18 Oct 90


Walt tells Spike, Charlie and Ducky what he thinks of their flight schedule

18 OCT 90

No flying to day. Engine rinse, projects, awards, chow, check out what the other Marines are doing. We've got a really good maintenance crew. Hate to admit there's a couple of Cobra guys running the show, Irish and Talon. Can't always figure out where they are coming from, but the Marines respond and we are doing great with aircraft availability, esp now that the Huey blade issue has been resolved. Walt is our MMCO, he's a Mustang and is pretty squared away. He must be the man who's really pulling the strings. The SNCOs and enlisted Marines are a motivating crowd, any time I want a laugh I just corral one of these Marines. I have a great shop, it runs itself, but Sgt Lee is kind enough to let me come by and he pretends like I'm really helping by being the OIC. As long as I'm there to get them the recognition they've earned, I'll have done my part.
We seem to be settling in to a routine. The airfield is growing. C-5s, C-141s, C-130s and the CRAF come and go 24 hours a day. The joke about the Air Force transport guys is that we figure they get Air Medal points for coming in to our "Forward Deployed" area, especially if they have to go north of the field and land to the south. There is never a quiet moment at the airfield. The ramp, pits and staging areas are lit up with floodlights all night while the planes are unloaded. The ALCE was established out by the runway soon after we arrived, they have some impressive capabilities. I went over to check out their trailer after they set up, their comm gear lets them talk to just about anyone and most importantly they have air conditioning. It's they're job to coordinate the airhead here at Jubail, and it seems like a pretty cool job for the Air Force.
We have held on to our spot in front of the terminal, and keep several spots open for alert aircraft. We also have helos parked out on the apron on the other side of the taxiway, some slashed and a couple ready to go for the day's mission. Also have some ordnance prestaged for the Slugs and Snakes. The 82nd has moved on to who knows where, guess the neighborhood went downhill once the Jarheads showed up. They are going to put down matting for the transport helos, south of the field, lots of Frogs starting to show up. The Shitters are over at a nearby camp, where they'll have a little more room to move around. They're huge, and the ramp here is just too packed for them to move around. The pits are running non-stop and the fuel farm has grown to a huge maze of fuel bladders. I'm told each bladder holds 10,000 gallons of fuel. I can't figure out how they get all the valves set correctly to get the fuel pumped anywhere. And guess everyone figures out 1 gallon equals 3.8 liters.
Got back to Chez Tent at 1900, fell asleep, then got up to take a shower. Portable showers have arrived, evidently one side is hot water and the other side it cold water. I found the cold water side. That explains why the other side was full. Shower unit consists of a 4 plastic tub with rubberized canvas sides, individual shower head. Several units have been hooked together to make two blocks of 12 showers. Water is pumped from a huge bladder, through a heater for one side. Other side is somewhat warm because the water comes from a bladder that heats up during the day. As it empties and refills, the water cools off again. Can't complain about that, it's free and we get to hose off after flying around in our portable sandstorm all day.

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