20 SEP 90
Today I got up at 0545, came to work and caught the tail end of the maintenance meeting. Actually before the meeting I shaved and brushed teeth, etc with my handy Red Cross bag. Felt good after a lovely walk from tent city. It’s about half a mile from my tent, so I’ll get some PT. After the meeting, Jim, Tom, Travis and I (hey, there’s a good Texas name, Jim Tom Travis), went to breakfast at “Chez Tent”. I selected potatoes, creamed beef, bacon, french toast, milk, juice and a camel fly topping. The flies get worse everyday. After some spirited conversation, we retired back to the work spaces to motivate our young lads. Today was a no fly training day, we had classes on Command and Control, intelligence update, and Huey radio package. Between classes I hung around with Jim, worked on awards recommendation for Sgt Lee and put out a few brush fires. My boys are hot and heavy on making covers for the Cobra gun, engine inlet screens, and Huey guns. It ends up being our job because we had the foresight to bring a sewing machine, even though the contingency pack up didn’t call for one.
Spent the whole day with a runny nose. Good thing I’m hydrated. Saudi supply was kind enough to cough up some Mylar coated bubble wrap so we can make sun shades for the helos. They’re very reluctant to sell us anything, they already gave us a brand new airfield. We need 2 more rolls and one project will be done. We already made 2 other sets of covers. Now the joke is our blades are screwed up due to the heat, and we’ll make covers for them too, and like it! Speaking of blades, things look pretty grim for the old Huey flight hour program right now, blades are delaminating, gee, who knows why. We’re working several angles to repair and replace as necessary. We could possibly get all new blades of a better composite material, but the higher ups would have to approve this one. So, for now we’re enjoying a few days off. And I’m supposed to get my NATOPS check by the end of the month? Better volunteer to go back to CONUS and look for some parts.
Got a box today, had to go sign for it at the Post Office in tent city, it evidently came in 3 days ago. 2 days ago people were bitching because they were receiving packages minus Walkmans and anything else of value that was declared on the outside. So of course the P.O. gives me an open box with a half ass tape job and I’m like “ah shit, dude!” But lo and behold, all the stuff was inside, including walkman. We got a tape from home, which we’ll see if we ever get a VCR and TV, like all the other tail end Charlie squadrons. “Bring only the essentials”. So we’ll have to beg off someone else tomorrow when they’re not watching James Bond. Tomorrow we have even more time off.
Its’ about a half mile walk to the tents. They are slowly moving us toward wood floors and tent frames. We should be moving across the street in 2-3 days. They’re building the frames to keep the tents from blowing away and provide floors. Actually kind of nice. And Then! And then! We’ll get lights and electricity, which may let me do a little letter writing. Right now I come to work at 0600, work/sit/fly all day, then sit in terminal, 2 feet from OpsO, 15 feet from maintenance control, 10 feet from the CO’s office, or freezing in my shop while the night crew works til 2200. Hard to write in tents with no lights, or at the shop with an audience. No one goes to the tents except to sleep. Once we move into the new tents, maybe a field expedient writing desk is in order. Also need to organize my stuff, make some MRE carton furniture, the important stuff. It will be my cot away from home.
Today Spot told us we shouldn’t take it personally when he yells at us. We should just log it as another example of leadership...by volume? Just another bump in the road. I wonder how many guys can keep their multiple personalities separate.
I think a stomach bug is going around. So far, so good. Sinuses are running like a faucet though. Doc gave me some Sudafed. Skin hasn’t peeled off yet. All in all, not too bad, all things considered.
Manifa FAARP is working out great, sleeping 5-7 days at a time there to get used to the concept of operating from there. Plus it saves 1-2 hours of transit time each day, allows a small maintenance det to remain in place, and it relieves congestion at the main airfield parking ramp. It’s great to get away and be even closer to the Iraqis for a few days. It’s fun sleeping there, now they have chow trucked in each day. We can operate there without the hassles of a big base, and it makes dealing with the grunts a lot easier. It’s isolated, very quiet and restful, no generators, C-5s, 46s, etc...Usually 8 Cobra crews and 2 Huey crews go at once. No one messes with our stuff. So, we do our own thing, we have chow, water, showers, cots, tents and we get mail. What more do we need? More bullets and M&Ms!
My new attitude is “hey, here’s a job, lets’ do it our way, and take the time to do it right and safely the first time.” I task my Marines to use their head and act versus react. They have done fantastic and I think I have the best shop here, in spite of me.
Floor and lights in a few days, we'll be looking like a refugee camp in no time. The good news is that the wives don’t have to worry about their husbands finding another woman over here, the bad news is I’m going steady with Injun now. So far I’ve seen lots of buddies from the boat, our sister squadron 367 of course, and college buds. Of course, my friend Bill, the consummate warrior, will probably sit this one out in Command and Staff at Quantico.