February 4 - 5, 1991: Arrival in Country

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Mon 4 Feb

Liftoff about 0030, sitting in web seats alongside our strapped-in vehicles. We have to carry web gear, mask, and weapon since we have know way of knowing what conditions will be like when we land. Once airborne, people got up and found places to sleep. I laid down on the web seats, but awoke a couple of hours later very cold and aching. I looked out the window and, to my surprise, saw distant city lights; our flight path probably takes us up the east coast. I guessed the lights might be Halifax or St. John's, judging by the time. Then I laid down on the hood of a truck and slept until 0630 (Bragg time). The plane, a C141, is cold in most places but nice and warm near the heat vents. Later on I found the best spot of all: on top of a pile of duffle bags next to a porthole.

We landed in Ramstein about 1530 local time, and were bused to the mess hall. Ramstein is an attractive base in the hill country near Kaiserslautern. It was nice to eat like civilized people again. I saw my first normal-sized spoon in a month; the spoons at Bragg are all large soup spoons. We waited around the terminal several hours, and finally departed about 2100. Once in the air again, I sacked out in my favorite spot atop the duffle bags.


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A Stop in Ramstein

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Tue 5 Feb

En route I saw ships' lights in the Mediterranean, and gas flares from oil wells, probably in Egypt. It was still dark when we were ordered to strap ourselves in for landing, but to my surprise, it was daylight when we landed at Dhahran about 0630. the temperature was 60 degrees, a nice change from the 32 degrees in Germany. The scale of the military operations is huge; there were vast lots full of supplies and fighters taking off every minute or so.

First impressions are indelible. I was struck by the warm tropical feel of the air. On one side was a long covered shed with pallets filling some stalls and a fighter plane another. Vast stacks of pallets everywhere. A pair of fighters roared off the runway in tandem. We were met by a couple of friendly officers who welcomed us, pointed to a stack of fruit boxes and fruit juice, and told us to help ourselves.

We took a bus to Khobar Village, where we billeted. [This is the same Khobar that was struck by a terrorist attack in 1996. The terrorist truck bomb parked by the former main gate, near where we parked our vehicles.] The buildings, originally built in a largely futile effort to settle the Bedouins, are seven-story apartment blocks. There are four suites on each floor, each suite with a common room and balcony, kitchen, two bathrooms, and five bedrooms. We had 3-4 people per room. The floors are marble. On the down-side, the elevators are small, slow, and easily-broken, and the sewer pipes are such small diameter that we cannot flush toilet paper. The uniform is full gear, mask, and weapon; even though we're 200 miles from Iraq, post perimeter guards, and have about 10,000 troops in the area.

It's a gorgeous day, warm but with afresh breeze, and reminded me of Hawaii. About 1700 I called Shawn, who was surprised and delighted, and checked out the PX, which was crowded but pretty well-stocked. We met most of our advance group today, though a few are still in the field. I have guard duty tonight, so I went to bed about 1900.

Would You Let These Men Guard Your Country?

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Khobar Towers

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  • August 2, 1990 - January 5, 1991: From the invasion of Kuwait to mobilization.
  • January 6, 1991: Departure
  • January 7-14, 1991: Settling in at Fort Bragg
  • January 15-23, 1991: Fort Bragg Drags On
  • January 24 - February 3, 1991: Preparing to Deploy to the Gulf
  • February 4 - 5, 1991: Arrival in Country
  • February 6-12, 1991: Khobar and Recon to Jubail
  • February 13-20, 1991: Al-Jubail
  • February 21-25, 1991: Al Jubail
  • February 26, 1991: Tapline Road
  • February 27, 1991: Return From KKMC
  • February 28 - March 3, 1991: We Move Into Kuwait
  • March 4 - 8, 1991: On Patrol in Kuwait
  • March 9, 1991: The Choke Point
  • March 10 - 11, 1991: A Chopper Ride
  • March 11, 1991: Chopper Flight - The Oil Fires
  • March 12-14, 1991: Oil Fires and Weapons
  • March 15-16, 1991: A Congressman and a Private Museum
  • March 17-21, 1991: Oil Fires and Routine Patrols
  • March 22-24, 1991:Weapons Fire and Day Turns Into Night
  • March 25, 1991: Visit to Iraq
  • March 27-28, 1991: On the Coast and More Weapons
  • March 31, 1991: Easter and Gergian
  • April 1-5, 1991: Farewell Dinner and the Sand-Table House
  • April 6-7, 1991: Farewell to Kuwait
  • April 10-14, 1991: Khobar and Dhahran:
  • April 15-16, 1991: Khobar and Bahrain
  • April 17 - 23, 1991: Waiting for Kurdistan
  • April 24-25, 1991: From Khobar to Incirlik
  • April 26, 1991: From Incirlik to Zakho
  • April 27-30, 1991: First Days in Kurdistan
  • May 1-2, 1991: Camp I Rises
  • May 1-2, 1991: Camp I Rises
  • May 3-9, 1991: Camp I in Operation
  • May 10-13, 1991: The Eventful Birth of Camp II
  • May 14-17, 1991: Camp II in Operation
  • May 18-19, 1991: Into the Mountains
  • May 20, 1991: Kani Masi and Begova
  • May 21, 1991: Nazdour and Begova
  • May 22, 1991: Uzumlu
  • May 23, 1991: Visit to Camp 1 and Nazdour
  • May 24-25, 1991: Sirsenk and Silopi
  • May 26, 1991: I'll Teach them to Nickname Me "Indy"
  • May 27, 1991: Dohuk (Almost) and Kani Masi
  • May 28-29, 1991: Return From the Mountains
  • May 30, 1991: A Visit From Colin Powell
  • May 31 - June 2, 1991: Chopper Flight over Dohuk; Zakho and Silopi
  • June 3-7, 1991: Last Days in Kurdistan
  • June 6-8, 1991: Incirlik and an Outing Down the Coast
  • June 8 - 18, 1991: Out of Turkey and Back to Fort Bragg
  • June 19 - October 11, 1991: Picking Up Where We Left Off
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    Last Update January 14, 1997

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