08 June 2008

Gunfighter Diary Desert Storm 26 Feb 91

26 FEB 91
Secretary of the Navy Washington
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to Lieutenant Colonel Michael M. Kurth United States Marine Corps for services set forth in the following citation: For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 during Operation Desert Storm on 26 February 1991. As the 1st Marine Division attacked north to prevent Iraqui forces from escaping, Lieutenant Colonel Kurth's repeated acts of bravery in providing Close In Fire Support to embattled Marines helped collapse the Iraqui defenses. With visibility nearly impossible due to hundreds of burning oil field fires, and with total disregard for his own safety, he flew under and perilously close to high voltage power lines. Placing himself at grave personal risk to intermittent Iraqui ground and anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant Colonel Kurth flew continuously for ten hours during the most intense periods of combat, twice having to control crash his aircraft. Employing a commercially borrowed Forward Looking Infrared Radar and LASER designator, he flew through the Al Burquan oil field fires, between the AH-1W holding pattern and task Force Ripper's forward lines, leading flight after flight of rearmed gunships to requesting units and then remaining dangerously exposed forward of friendly lines as he designated Iraqui armored vehicles for engagement. Lieutenant Colonel Kurth's courage and fearless dedication rallied fellow Marines and resulted in the destruction of as many as 70 Iraqui armored vehicles destroyed that day. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Lieutenant Colonel Kurth reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. For the President Secretary of the Navy

What also needs to be placed here is a Distinguished Flying Cross citation for Captain Carl "Mooch" Reynoso. Mooch was actually the Aircraft Commander on this mission. Spot jumped in last minute in the left seat where Nasty was due to fly. Spot and Mooch took their FLIR operator, Crew Chief and Gunner through the hellish conditions and prevented the 1st Marine Division CP from being overrun, among other cited acts. On the ground a LAV commander deployed a screening force during a heated tank battle and was also awarded the Navy Cross. Mooch's recommendation died on SecNavs desk in late 1991, when SecNav refused to approve any awards for Naval Aviators due to the 1991 Tailhook scandal. This made no sense at all, seeing as Mooch is one of the finest marines ever to serve, a Mustang who previously served with distinction in Force Recon. He traded boots for wings and is a natural stick, most at home in the Huey. A helo guy who never went to Tailhook. Maybe someday the award recommendation will resurface and be awarded late, due to "administrative oversight".

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 15 Jan 91

15 JAN 91

160438, 5T2, 2.2, 260, Peewee

Flew around with PeeWee, Space and Super Dave doing some simple tactics training. No mail for me today, boo hoo. I know it's out there somewhere, Iraquis probably have it or some Air Force REMF.
No action from US/UN or Iraq today. Tomorrow morning, we'll see. I hope to see bombers going overhead.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 14 Jan 91

Today was a fun day. The khaki flight suits arrived. Normal training day, standard classes on tactics and NBC. It's been raining hard all day, which was fun to watch from indoors.
Found out the flight suits hit supply this morning. Went to supply and signed for all of them about $15,000 for 83 of them.Got them back to the terminal and issued them out. Guys at the Wing did a good job getting them here as quick as they did, and the Flight Suits Limited folks did some quality work on a large order.
Today in the AOM the S-4 said "don't mail home green cammies, and if you have, send to have them returned". After a chorus of "screw you...dream on...no way" and lots of laughter Spot said "don't have them sent back". I guess we'll have to stay here if we don't have woodland cammies to wear home.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 13 Jan 91

13 JAN 91
Rainy and cool, thunderstorms in the area. Went to squadron for a few hours to check on the flight suits. They're in country somewhere. Found out that they aren't "here" yet. Maybe tomorrow. It was fun watching the rain pour down at the terminal vs watching it from the tent. Went back to the tent and found that my corner was flooded. Most things I had in plastic or sitting up off the floor, but some stuff still got wet. Most ents are treated with water repellent, doesn't seem that ours was, or it was done 20 years ago. Picked up my stuff and drilled some drain holes in the wooden floor. After I dried it. The did some sandbag surgery and moved liner away from wood frame, and that seems to be working. If that doesn't work, I suppose I'll float away tonight on the air mattress.
Getting to and from chow was an adventure, didn't get too muddy.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 12 Jan 91

12 Jan 91

160438, 5T2, 1.5, 260, Space

Ops normal, nothing out of the ordinary. Flew a photo mission today to film the Cobras shooting. I was having fun until it dawned on me that I had "stolen" the aircraft. Actually got to sign for the bird today as aircraft commander vs copilot. Hadn't signed for one in a while, so I forgot. I remembered as we were transitioning down the runway. Not a big deal, but get to catch flak from the maintenance folks. That qualifies as entertainment for them. Entertained Spot and Irish too, free of charge. Spot nodded and smiled when I got back and Irish said "Consider yourself thrashed." Public humiliation held to a minimum.
It was fun filming the Cobras and flying some form, then we landed and watched from the ground for a while. I flew with Space, his finger has healed.
Spent more time in the afternoon looking for flight equipment b.s. New flight suits are on the way. Reps at the Wing have been extremely helpful, some other folks at Group are perfecting the shoulder shrug. They did get an open purchase request in for the Mike Lites, $12,000.