14 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 26 Aug 90

26 AUG 90

160179, 2M1, 1.6, .1 night, 140 Peewee

Still in Bahrain. Got up, took a shower, ate cornflakes for breakfast, then headed over to our birds. Talked to an F-18 guy last night, we were both interested in what each others communities were doing. Had another cold Pepsi after breakfast. These accommodations are much nicer than ours, maybe because they’re in Bahrain, not SA. I didn’t realize that there was a difference until yesterday, despite my Middle East history classes at UT. As a Sergeant I went to UT for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP), I was originally going to study Computer Science, but another MECEP, SSGt Roger Pollard and the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor GySGt Flores? asking me what my priority was , getting commissioned or learning Computer Science. Well, getting commissioned of course. So they recommended Political Science or History as a good background for a Marine Officer to have. Turns out they were right and I switched to History as my major, concentrating my studies on areas where I felt I might be sent as a Marine. I studied the Far East, Middle East and Central America. Turns out I was right on 2 of the 3, missing being sent to Panama in 1989 by a few weeks., and I was able to get my Bachelors Degree in just 3 years. Anyway, wishing I paid more attention in those history classes class now.
Saw fellow Gunfighter 2 Beers, a Cobra pilot who is doing a ground tour with 1/5?, as a Forward Air Controller (FAC). He’s dusty but fine. I feel sorry for him not getting to take part in this flying a Cobra, but he’ll be doing in his own way what we are all here to do, which is support the Marine Infantryman. His Battalion is encamped near Jubail and they are digging in to provide the initial defense for the Jubail Naval and Air Port complex. This will be good news to our reactionary force of 80 Marines, which has been having fun digging foxholes around JNA in addition to their aircraft maintenance duties. These Marines are under the seasoned guidance of Mooch, a fellow Mustanger and Huey pilot who spent many years with Marine Recon units before seeing the light and getting to flight school via the Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP).
So far only 2 more guys have more flight time than me out here, but what’s new. Doing the same kind of missions I did a Camp Pendleton, visual reconnaissance, carrying the heavies around, and TRAP standby. As the current situation stands, I would be in more danger if I were back in P.I. with Jeff. I’m beginning to realize that we need a defensive force in place in order to enforce the economic sanctions, at a minimum. Hopefully there won’t be much action, we’ll see.
Information flow, or lack thereof, is frustrating . I am clueless as to what is going to happen in the next hour, tomorrow, etc...I wouldn’t want the pressure that has been put on the families and the American public, who are concerned for their loved ones 7000 miles away. A guy came by filming married people, a tape to send to the wives, it should go out in a few days. There is limited communication with the homefront, but I’m sure all the media is whipping everyone into a frenzy with trademark speculation and sensational reporting.
Continuing on, I flew out in a window seat, but not up front. General Moore wanted some stick time and said I could stay in Bahrain if I wanted, but I violated several personal principles by going along anyway. One was never volunteer for anything, and the other was never turn down liberty when the General offers. My flawed reasoning for tagging along was the time honored tradition of never leaving your wingman, or my Huey in this case. I thought the General might change his mind at one point and jump out, but I was wrong and was rewarded for my indiscretion with 5 plus hours of Huey jumpseat butt and no confirmed kills at the airstrip Baskin Robbins. We flew around all day and visited every Marine on the planet. After dropping GM off, we got back to our own little piles of stuff early in the evening . Spot said not to drink the sodas until the Doc approved them, weren’t sure how we were supposed to do that except have him drink one. Keeping one as a souvenir, the bottle was made in Kuwait, the bottling in Bahrain. Some of the other services guys have been sick from the local food/water, they don’t know what. They tend to buy more from the local merchants than we do, so I plan to only eat MREs or eat at a new place where other people have eaten for a few days. I’d hate to be “intestinally distressed” over here. By the way, we warm our MREs up by tossing them on the sidewalk and letting the sun heat them up. And we do have access to hot, hot water from the black 5 gallon water cans for anyone who needs that steaming cup of coffee or cocoa to enjoy in the midday sun.
Tired from a long two days, bumping around in our airborne jeep. Specifics boring. Fly Bigwig X to LZ Y, drop off, sit in hot sun for 2 hours, fly to Airbase Z, get gas. At least we’re not messing with VIP plaques and seat cushions. Probably one of my top 5 best decisions in the Corps, leave the VIP kits for the Hueys in CamPen. And one of the few reasons I would stay in long enough to be a General, to outlaw VIP kits. Some squadrons even had little steps that were attached to the hardpoints for VIP missions. My feeling was if the back was good enough for the crew chief, it was good enough for anyone else.

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