14 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 20 Aug 90

20 AUG 90

Taking a break in Germany.

Not much going on around here that concerns me. The trip was uneventful, as I slept most of the way. The Doc gave us some great little blue pills in Germany and I was out. It was eerie taking off from El Toro, knowing that it would be a while before we were back in the US. The air conditioning vents in the C-5 were putting out a misty fog blanket in the troop compartment due to the humid air and the turbofans were whining as we taxied and took off. There are only 4 small cabin windows in the passenger compartment , and you ride backwards. The upper rear compartment seats 73, and the seats are actually more spacious than the regular airliner coach seats. I got a bulkhead seat, by an emergency exit, so plenty of room to sleep. Our first C-5 carried 4 Hueys, 2 Cobras. We went to El Toro Mon morning and sat in the VMFP-3 hangar, then loaded the aircraft and took off at 1730. Bag lunches and MREs all the way to Goose Bay. I watched the loading for a while, then got out of the way. We got to Goose Bay about 0400, and had breakfast in the chow hall. From Goose Bay, armed with an excellent box lunch, we flew to Ramstein AFB (RAFB), Germany. Landed there about 1700, then stood around in a parking lot for 2.5 hours while they refueled. As we got back on the plane I got one good, long last look at what I thought was the normal world. Took off from RAFB enroute to SA. RAFB was kind enough to give us MREs for dinner. Out of Germany, into SA, arriving at Dhahran International at about 0530 Wed. Got off the plane and was greeted by 90 degree plus 70-80 percent humidity and thought “ah shit!” Spent the next 4 hours getting on and off the plane as it was taxied around to get gas, unload etc...Every time we started or stopped the air conditioning was turned off, so we cooked! And I thought the Marine Corps had the patent on “hurry up and wait”. By the time the Air Force was through with us it was actually cooler on the taxiway. We were issued 9mm and M-16 ammo before the plane landed, and wore our pistol, gas mask and flak jacket (canteens, etc...) around for most of the day. All the heavy stuff migrated from pile to pile for the next 2 days. The mechs reinstalled the synch elevators and connected the tail rotor driveshafts on our birds, and the ordies loaded the Cobras with TOW, Hellfire and 20 mm. The Hueys were loaded 7.62 and 50 Cal. Finally flew to Jubail Naval Airport (JNA). The news (Ted Koppel, Dan Rather) was here today , I didn’t know about it because me Dave and I were broken down at another site (_____Military City?). We are about 100? miles from the border, the first Marine helicopters in country. The terminal at JNA is adequate, but we are looking forward to the field mess arriving. MREs for a week now. Just think of the money I’m saving, not so fast. They will take away our comrats, I believe, but in 30 days a Family Separation Allowance kicks in. Can you believe it, I’m losing 50 bucks a month to be here. Anyway, we’re flying around to recon the area, staying well away from the borders. Yesterday Diamond (Dave Lobik) and I broke down at the local General’s HQ (King Khalid Military City?) and spent the night. There was a Marine liaison Major who put me up in his brand new hotel/BOQ room on the fold out sofa. He’s an A-6 pilot, mad because he’s with the 7th MEB vs aviating. He knows Mark Burdette, says he’s at a local port sleeping in a warehouse, but nice and cozy. Mainly we sit around watching planes come and go. Hopefully we’ll be able to explore off base soon, because there’s a Hardees and a KFC nearby. We are not isolated by any means. But it is like the boat in some ways, as far as boredom when you’re not flying. We have 4 Huey test pilots for 6 Hueys, go figure. Have to do more research on whether we’ll rate Imminent Danger Pay or not. I hope we don’t, I still don’t know whether this is a few more weeks or a 5 1/2 month thing. Only time will tell. I hope the news is accurately portraying the situation over here, vs hyping or exaggerating it. I would describe it as neutral at this point.

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