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Finally Somehow Home - Chapter 8.2

I hate to admit it, but I actually flew to war on an Air Force bird. I was impressed by the consideration of the Air Force pilots, though. They must have been briefed, because they knew just how to get a guy ready to kill people by the way they flew that thing. It was very impressive. I had strung up a hammock in the back of the bird and was lounging casually until we hit Iraqi airspace. We had plenty of Surface to Air missiles and guns pointed at us, so they took full advantage. Needless to say, their frantic and erratic maneuvers dislodged me from my hammock quite suddenly and fiercely. After a while of dodging fence posts along the desert floor, we landed in Kuwait; I checked my guys and was happy to discover that in spite of the pleasant distractions and soothing alarms ringing every few seconds, we were still in poor enough spirits to be somewhat combat effective.

So, we were finally going to war. And by the looks of it, it was going to be a big one. Back then we still thought the Iraqis had all kinds of chemical and biological weapons that they planned to use on us. We were expecting very high casualties. The worst possible kinds of deaths and a lot of it. We sat there in the Kuwaiti desert for some time while the world around us filled up with tanks and trucks and guns and bombs, all ready to roll up north and take Iraq. Honestly it was a shit show. We hadn’t been at war in so long that not many remembered what it was like or how to do it. It’s a pretty standard problem. It takes awhile to get used to anything. The Israelis experienced it against Hezbollah in 2006. It just takes afew months to get the hang of a war and we weren’t quite there yet.

Kuwait was a dry country. That did not sit well with us. Not that we could go out or anything anyway. But it did make the acquisition of booze a difficulty aside from having people mail it to you in Listerine bottles. One of the guys in our platoon - Philthy, chose to take matters into his own hands. He got ahold of some yeast and started stealing fruit cocktail from the chow hall and anything else he could get his hands on that he could make into hooch. We had a pretty good grog system going. A new batch of booze in a five-gallon water jug was ready for consumption every Wednesday. After a while the operation started growing beyond what we could do to keep it properly concealed. So, we just made a space in the corner of our tent where there were five-gallon water jugs neatly aligned with rubber gloves at different stages of inflation hanging off of their spouts. This was severely annoying to my platoon Commander who walked in one day and left in a huff yelling behind him, “Why can’t you guys at least try to hide it!? God Damn it!”

Waiting for the war to start. Just waiting. These sand storms would come ripping through there. It was amazing. The sky and the air all around you glowed orange. There was sand everywhere and it got into everything. On one occasion our sister platoon decided to play Survivor during one of these storms and proceeded to vote several of their members off the island. The poor bastards were made to sleep outside in the blowing sand for the night.

One day me and Slick Kat we’re on our way to breakfast just walking along as usual when I heard a jet engine flying very low. I thought it was a AV-8B Harrier because it was so loud - and Harriers are loud little fuckers. I looked up to see a giant missile flying at about 500 feet above the ground. Right as I saw it the engine cut out. “Oh shit.” is all I could say. And me and Slick Kat hit the deck just as it exploded 500 meters outside of the wire. Fuuuuuck. We already had our MOP suits (chemical/biological suits) on, so we put our gas masks on because we didn’t know what kind of chemical or biological agents were on board that missile. We got back to our company area about the time the alarm started going off. The missile was a Seersucker anti-ship missile and had come in under the radar skimming the desert floor. It was funny to hear the person on the loudspeaker in panic trying to speak through their gas mask to warn us that missiles were coming in. No shit, Sherlock. We got into the bunker and waited for the cloud of death to come drifting by and kill us all, or the all clear. Dirty Joe showed up in the bunker covered in shit and blue water from the porta-shitters. Apparently he had been in there when the missile came in and somehow managed to get blue shitter juice all over his MOP suit.

That’s how the war started. For the next several days it was constant. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to have any more of those Seersuckers, or other missiles that could fly under radar. It was all Scuds after that. The Patriot Missile battery was behind us about 10 kilometers and would fire over us as soon as they picked up an incoming Scud. About three Patriots to every Scud, it seemed. You could hear the explosive blast has the Patriots left their tubes, then the crack of them breaking the sound barrier 2.9 seconds later somewhere just over our heads. They’d reach Mach 4.1 as they found and slammed into the incoming missiles. Then the impacts of the Patriots into the Scud overhead and a shitload of warheads and fuel exploding. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. Then you waited. Because all that shit up in the air was falling down to the ground right about then, and you just held your breath and hoped that it wasn’t directly above your bunker. Then you heard all that shit slamming into the ground around you. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM and the ground shook. It was constant and ground your nerves raw, but the Patriot batteries got them all. Kudos, because getting shot at with fucking missiles fucking sucks. Over the next couple days we were just anxious to get the hell out of Kuwait and away from all the Scuds falling all around us. We had a kick ass mission lined up to HALO in and call in airstrikes on an Iraqi armored Division until it was all gone, but it got scrubbed at the last minute, so we ended up having to wait around for Headquarters to roll out. Finally, someone pulled their head out of their ass, and we rolled north into Iraq.

It was an awesome sight to behold the full might of the US war machine on the move. At least a big part of it. But what I could see was amazing. Vehicles for miles and miles and miles and miles as far as the eye could see, rolling along the hard ball road with burnt out tanks and armored personnel carriers littering the sides of the road where the lead element had engaged them. Blown up cars and trucks and shit everywhere, especially around An Nasiriya. The Cobras (attack helicopters) had a hay day blasting taxi cabs after the Intelligence boys found out that the bad guys were using them as a logistics and intelligence network. Fuel trucks ran constantly trying to keep the giant beast on the move. Grunts still dug into their fighting positions from last night’s battle. Spent brass and expended AT-4 (shoulder fired anti-tank weapon) tubes laying scattered about their fox holes, some on watch, some sleeping in the dirt and others herding the ragged, dirty, and bloody enemy prisoners of war into containment areas. It was a full-on conventional war at first - with of course some guerrilla tactics involved - but either way it was amazing to watch.

NOTE: Finally Somehow Home is a separate book from The Perfect Fucking Life, and is not yet in publication at the time of this post.

All this shit is written and created by Jason Lee Morrison © 2022

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