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The road to Khobar...

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:17 am
by Jetmech
This story starts out in Ft. Riley Kansas where we had, for the last 2 months, been packing up, loading, and getting ready to fight the battle hardened Iraqi Army, 3rd largest Army in the world, as we were told. We were going over to kill us some "Rag-heads!" The First Infantry Division, The Big Red One, would fight for sure. We wrote songs about how we were going to smash them to the 12 days of Christmas. We had to recognize the differences between a T55, T62 and T72 tanks, the BMP1 and 2 and BRDM and their weak spots to shoot. As well as the M2 Bradley and the M113, M1A1 Tanks and M60 tanks so we wouldn't have any friendly fire problems. We were constantly being trained in first-aid, NBC and chemical warfare and heard stories about Vietnam where the enemy could sneak anywhere and kill whole units leaving only the sleeping guard alive to tell what happened. We were issued new uniforms that didn't look anything like the BDU's that we had been wearing. Inspections, ranges and preparation for the task at hand.

The day my section was to deploy was here, January 7th, 1991!!! We were told that our guns weren't going to arrive until later that January and we were to be considered infantry until then. We were to report for duty in full battle gear with ONLY what was on our packing list for the deployment. My section was the best in the battalion and we weren't about to disappoint anyone. The training we had was going to pay off. SSG Manigo and gun 2 were to lead the 4th battalion, 5th Field Artillery into Iraq when battle came.

We chose battle buddies and started telling each other what to tell our families if anything were to happen to us. My battle buddy was SPC Felix Washington, black kid, from Des Moines Iowa. We called him, "Flex." He was quiet and reserved, He didn't have much to say, but almost everything he said was either serious as death or funny as hell. He was kind of slow in speech and wasn't one of those soldiers-soldier. Intel expected 10,000 US dead in the first hours of war. They issued our M16, NBC masks and atropine injectors, and a full battle ammo load and told us to put our M16 bolt in our pocket, the realization that we were going to WAR sunk in. It was surreal saying good bye to our wives and children. The VFW had about 20 Vietnam Vets telling us that no matter what the United Stated did to us, they would be with us 100% forever. They told us to stick together and only trust each other and to NOT trust anyone who was not in U.S. uniform.

We boarded the buses and rode to a small airport in Kansas where we boarded an Air-force transport to New York and then on to the 747 jet to Saudi Arabia stopping for fuel in Rome Italy. The trip to Saudi went by quick as hell and before we knew it we were landing just after noon in the big desert. We off loaded the plane and got into formation and were told to wait for transport to Khobar Towers. The SFC who was already there told us that we were now in a war zone and that if we were seen alone walking in Khobar, the snipers on the roofs would target us and shoot to kill as we would be mistaken for insurgents, "SO KEEP YOUR BATTLE BUDDY WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES!" Then he just left. Time went on and it seemed like we were waiting for hours in the, compared to Kansas, hot sun. SSG Manigo did his best to keep us on our toes by making sure we checked and rechecked our gear and to put our bolt back in our weapon but to NOT lock and load.

Just then, about 15 rickety old buses showed up being driven by none other than "Rag-heads" and we were told to get on the buses. I looked at Flex and said, "Aren't we here to kill rag-head?" Of course my section all got on the same bus toward the back, SSG Manigo said it would be better to stick together. Holy shit, those guys were some of the worst drivers I have ever seen in my life. They were passing each other like it was some kind of game and tailgating cars and just plain driving like shit. We were all looking out the windows and trying to take in where we were and where we were going. Hoping to see so that we could brace ourselves not IF but WHEN we crashed. All of the sudden, our bus only just pulled over and stopped very abruptly. Engine still running and very noisy, the driver just opened the door and ran out into the desert. I remember thinking, "Oh shit, we got on the bus with the bomb." Almost before I could finish thinking that, Flex was standing up in the same motion loading a magazine into his M16 and pulling its charging lever to aim his weapon at the running bus driver. I was about 1 seconds later as I was just doing what my battle buddy was doing. My heart was in my throat as I was just about to see Flex kill his first and maybe our last "Rag-head" and we were only in country for 3 hours at most. I yelled over the loud running engine, "Chief, what do you want us to do?"

Re: The road to Khobar...

Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:06 pm
by Jetmech
My Chief in his very southern accent, I'm talking James Brown took lessons from SSG Manigo, turned and said, "Wat da hell", watched Rag head pull up his Thoub (Dress thing they wear) and squat right out in the desert and pinch off a loaf for all to see. Right there on the side of a busy road, this guy is taking a dump and could care less who was watching. Of course Flex and I sat back down very quickly and tried not to watch, but it was like a train wreck and the shock of it all was... Then to top it off, he reached down with his left hand and proceeded to clean himself with his BARE HAND!!! Everyone on the bus just burst out in laughter. The guy rubbed his hand in the sand and flicked off all that was stuck. I heard a voice on the bus say, "I guess we're not in Kansas anymore!" and "I see why they told us NOT to shake their left hand." The driver then turned and walked back to the bus like it something he has done a thousand times, got back into the drivers seat and drove us the rest of the way to Khobar. We tried our best to not laugh the rest of the way...

Re: The road to Khobar...

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:49 pm
by Dagger X-Ray
Take just about everything you just said and its almost the same as my trip out only we left Kansas on a 747 and landed in Brussels for refueling. Landing at Saudi at like 2am. Think we had the same bus and driver cuz mine also stopped and ran out to take a dump in the

Re: The road to Khobar...

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:14 pm
by haze
hehe, i remem ber them drivers, bus, car they would just stop, an raise their dress thing up an take a dump.....funnny as hell.