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The split of the squadron in this way was not a healthy


thing as half of us were living in the desert heat and in tents, far away from home and fearful that they might be there a long time with no real war to fight. Half were home and wishing to be in the desert in case there was a war. It was tough on bond- ing a squadron together, especially after about three months when family strains were showing for some and not others. Our squadron had two primary missions as we trained in


the desert. Combat rescue alert and a special ops mission to attack two radar sites just north of the border with Saudi Arabia. These radar sites were far away from Kuwait, west of where we were stationed in Saudi by about 400 miles and straight south of the Iraqi capital city, Baghdad. We began training for these missions, and any other special operations missions which might come up, by late August. We had established our living conditions in tents and had endured the extreme heat of sum- mer. We were getting used to it by October when the weather cooled off significantly. Early in November the President made a decision to deploy


most of the troops in order to have offensive capability. My wing commander saw it as a two month delay before any action would occur. As most of the wing was split in the same way as was my squadron, he ordered all of the commanders home for a month. In my case, I attended a Commander’s Training Course in Missouri, then a training exercise at my home base at Hurlburt Field. While I was there, Master Sergeant Bobby Jenkins came into the office and asked for some time to talk. Bobby had set up his retirement the previous summer


and had begun terminal leave at the beginning of October. I was sitting at my desk working on 4 months of back-logged paperwork. I looked up to see Bobby looking at me around the doorway. His hair was already pretty long and he had a nice looking, full moustache. The home half-squadron had given a hail and farewell in mid-October where Bobby had received his medal and his plaque he had told everyone that his family needed him to get out of this business. I invited him in. I con- gratulated him on his now completed career. I remarked that the recent announcement of “Stop Loss” would have caught him if he had not already been on terminal leave. He told me that he had come to talk to me about just that. He asked me if I thought the squadron needed him and, if so, what could he do to help. I had an immediate answer for him, despite my surprise


at the offer. I told him that we did need him, that the squad- ron’s helicopter gunner force certainly needed another master sergeant for leadership, and that I would like to see him in uni- form to work things here in the states for another month or so, then I would send him over to Saudi Arabia by Christmas. The currently deployed lead gunner spent four months in the desert and I couldn’t give him any relief without another six-striper. Bobby looked at me for a couple of seconds and said he’d go over to the base personnel office and see what he had to do to come in off terminal leave. By two o’clock that afternoon a clean-shaven and short-haired Bobby Jenkins was sitting in the ops superintendent’s office working over the schedule of training the new gunners in the .50 caliber machine gun. Bobby looked into my office to tell me he had also stopped off at home


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force and setting the 15th of January as the deadline for the Iraqis to leave Kuwait. The diplomacy and the Congressional debates made our training and preparation more urgent in our minds. The UN set the deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait, so we also had a date set to ensure our readiness. We trained hard the next four weeks, making sure all the


newly rotated crew members were integrated into the existing crews and rehearsing what was to be the first mission of the war several times. On 12 January 1991, we received orders from our Wing Commander, Colonel George Gray, to move to our forward operating base for the war plan; this was a call to battle stations. We moved on January 14th to Al Jouf, a small airfield in western Saudi Arabia. It was a 6-hour flight from King Fahd International Airport where we were stationed. We organized air refuelings and the movement of essentially our entire squadron in a day and a half. When there, we were given a fairly large dormitory style building to live in—it was actu- ally an improvement over the tents we had occupied at King Fahd airfield since August. The war plan gave our helicopter operation the first mis-


sion of the war to cross the border into Iraq. We teamed with an Army Apache helicopter battalion, commanded by LTC Dick Cody, whose unit also moved to Al Jouf. Everyone was in place by the night of the 14th and the machines were all serviceable. We spent the 15th getting the house in order, erecting a tent to serve as a planning/briefing facility on the flight line, estab- lishing communications, ensuring security, and configuring the


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to get back into uniform. He told me then that his wife, Dottie, might be a little upset at me since I had recalled him from ter- minal leave and officially prevented his retirement. I consented to taking the blame as long as Bobby didn’t think his wife was a violent person. As expected, we were allowed to trade some people at


the beginning of December and Bobby Jenkins came over and became the ranking helicopter gunner of the deployment. We still did not know if we were going to really have a war or whether we were going to sit in the desert and keep training for months to come. We knew the war plan, continued to train hard, and had a desert Christmas. We also watched the debates at the UN and in Congress on authorizing the President to use


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