08 November 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 14 Nov 90

14 NOV 90

0545 Brief. Sat around waiting for a VIP today, then flew back to the field to be put on Standby. Sure was cool today. Forgot to mention that I spent yesterday afternoon and evening running around to the AV-8 base and MEF HQ. Stopped at Camp 1 and made some phone calls, then back to tent to bitch about how rough we have it!

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 13 Nov 90

13 NOV 90

Spent most of the day at the shop, talking to Marines. No classes, but kept busy. Got some good pogey bait in the mail, went to chow, back to terminal briefly, then walked to tent with Mooch. Wrote some letters and talked to Peewee, BB, Diamond. Finally got shower and hit the rack. Fell asleep wondering how we'll heat these tents if it ever gets cold.

06 November 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 12 Nov 90

12 NOV 90

Had briefings all day, a threat update, brief on 367 crash, a combat stress brief and a safety discussion group. The 367 brief didn't;t tell us anything we didn't already know, the driveshaft failed at low altitude and Bob's quick reaction saved everyone. Intel brief was informative and reviewed key weapons systems. Combat stress brief gave us some ideas on how to deal with the normal stuff now before the heavy stuff arrives. Best news of the day, the showers will now be open from 1300-1400 for us regular PTers!
Tried out my new attitude this afternoon, nobody noticed. Maybe I'll try the village idiot role, "golly, I'd like to help, but I'm too stupid!" Nemo led the safety group, he's still settling in after being a liaison to 7th MEB. Some suggestions were simple things like setting a lights out time in the tents of 2200, other addressed a comprehensive training management system. Nemo is really trying to get some credibility built in to the safety program, blended together with our real time mission. He's been fun to talk to, and has to be closer to Spot's office than me. Whew!

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 11 Nov 90

11 NOV 90

Another day off! Got some chow, came back to tent and decided to PT. Light workout for about an hour. I don't know why I started, if the war breaks out, we won't have time to work out. I'd hate to get going on a good PT program, only to have a war screw it up!
PT for an hour, nap for an hour and a half. Always wanted to do that since Boot Camp. In Boot Camp we were running and singing for the first time, "What are we gonna do when we get back, Take a shower and hit the rack..." I had no idea as a new guy, I remember thinking that maybe we got some kind of rest period after a long run. Boy was I wrong!
Wrote some letters. More chow, it was decent today, rice with chicken stew, and a Pepsi. I think they finally found the salt. Started to get a headache, probably dehydrated. Drank some water, cleaned my end of the hooch, went and took a shower. Hit the rack!

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 10 Nov 90

10 NOV 90

159204, 5T2, 1.9, 260, Peewee

Today was the Marine Corps Birthday. Got to the best thing on my birthday, fly! Peewee and I took off at 0745, flew BGen Brabham (CG 1st FSSG) around to see his combat support units in the field. First we went to the FAARP and dropped him off for 30 minutes. The aide brought us some cake, it was great. I have to say it was a beautiful day out in the sun, with my Huey, some M&Ms and a little bit of cake on the 215th birthday. The temps hover in the 90s these days, and the breeze is a little more steady. We took him to 2 more locations, then back to JNA. The best part of flying this morning was missing our own MAG-16 formation (mill about smartly in desert cammies). Or at least we thought we'd miss it. We managed to contribute to the festivities in our own little way. When we got to the field, they were still having the ceremony, over an hour and a half late. They were almost through as we came putting in..wop..wop..wop. 5 miles from the field, the tower asked if we had a "Code", or VIP on board. We told them to call our ops, didn't feel like broadcasting to the world "yea, we got a General back here..." Ops must have clued them in, because they cleared us in to land while the ceremony was going on. We landed 1/2 a mile away on a taxiway, luckily the Gen's driver was smart enough to come out and get him. Got rid of him, shut down until ceremony was breaking up. By that time there were 6 53s, 2 46s, a C-12 and a C-130 waiting for the pits. We turned up, slid over to the pits before everyone else even got started. Refueled, taxied in, shut down and went to eat birthday meal.
Finally some good chow, maybe even better than the other Marine Corps Ball dinners. Could be perspective. Onion soup, shrimp pasta, salad, corn on the cob, and steak with mushrooms. The steaks were marinated overnight, then grilled. All kinds of beverages, I picked Pepsi and a fake beer. For desert birthday cake and ice cream.
Back to the terminal, a short day for the Marines, 6 hours. Read letters, got 25 letters from Joan's elementary school. I'll write them back as a class. I think she read one of my letters to them, must have been the one where I mentioned being sick and them using human waste to fertilize the vegetables. Great! The life of a Marine.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 09 Nov 90

09 NOV 90

Great day. I was scheduled to fly a late, late hop, brief at 2200, takeoff 0030, land 0230. So I got to sleep in this morning. Slept til about 1130, read some magazines, got some chow and made it in for the 1430 AOM. Basically they said "keep your head on a swivel out there, you never know what's goin to happen." Next, I went to get the ODO's brief at 1500 and they say "you're cancelled". Oh darn, after I slept all morning. We were supposed to fly around a RPV receiving station so a guy in the back could look at video or FLIR image that the RPV was shooting. I like the idea of having the RPV out front looking around, vs Super Huey. We can't be too far away, though, but we still get to see the forward battle area. The console operator can then relay target info, etc on to the best asset to shoot it/avoid it/whichever. The FLIR is great because it pick up heat, making targets easier to find at night. Anyway, the RPV guys dropped out at the last minute so our part was scrubbed. Talked to Boingo for a bit, waited for tomorrow's schedule to come out. Looks like I'll be flying some Generals around to cake-cutting ceremonies. Much better than standing in formation at our airfield.
Before chow a group of people came by from the White House Staff came through, a liaison visit in case ol George comes to visit at Thanksgiving. The had everyone from speechwriters, communications, press, Secret Service, HMX up to and including the most important person, the food coordinator. Neato. We talked to some guy from the speechwriter's office for 15-20 minutes. He offered to mail letters for us when he gets back to DC. He asked a lot of questions, to which most of our answers were positive. I asked him to tell GB to bring Millie and Ranger. He said Mrs Bush is coming over too?! Wonder who will feed the puppies? Wonder if I could get that job? Executive scooper...

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 08 Nov 90

08 NOV 90

Worked on projects. Had KFC for lunch, then made phone calls at Camp 5. Got dropped off while car went off to do other business. Walked over to what Mark described as the best phone, and there was no on in line. Got 3 calls out before some Brits showed up, then finished up so they could make some calls.
Need a shovel to go find my good attitude. It must be out here somewhere. I can't believe that the chow sucks so bad here. What happened to all those guys who win the CamPen field mess competition every year? At the General's mess maybe? They damn sure aint here.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 07 Nov 90

07 NOV 90

Rapidly approaching 3 months, so does that mean we're 1/2 done or 1/4 done or what? I'm disappointed that our "expeditionary forces" aren't being replaced quicker with heavier sustaining forces. It feels like the border is still wide open. We should put down a minefield along the border, park a few nuke subs off the coast and go home. Let the Arab world figure it out.
Are the sanctions working. Can't believe the rest of the world won't shut SH down. Or will it take longer for sanctions to work? This routine is getting old, but it has been fun watching all the supposed deadlines and operation commencement dates go by. Never did the big "Night Camel" exercise, now we're suppose to have a standdown to fix all the birds, for a no moon strike mid-month. Seems I've heard that before. I know the sanctions need at least 4-6 months to be effective, and that maybe the Arabs can work something out. It's hard dealing with the peacetime/wartime footing. Hard to stay focused when you've stared at something for 3 months. 5 days off in 3 months though, not too bad. Wouldn't have had much more time off in Oki.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 06 Nov 90

6 NOV 90

160438, 2K2, 1.8, FCF, Jughead

Spent another day tracking and balancing 213's rotor system. Finally fixed it. Took several shots in the dark, we took off the rocket pod/machine gun mounts, put a seatbelt on the TACAN transceiver and voila, all of our readings changed. From there, 2 more adjustments and the aircraft flies great now. Talk about unusual. The mounts were loose and the TACAN mount had some bad vibration viscous dampenener mounts, so they were adding an unacceptable vertical beat to the bird. We'll shim the DAS mounts and get a new TACAN mount to get the bird flying now.
Evening chow, walked back to tent, mentally and physically exhausted. Read a book for a bit. Talked to Injun about his girls, he really misses them.