My blog on our sister site, The Noosphere, is called 'The History of Weird'. I just finished Part IV of V regarding my experiences during Desert Storm, cleverly titled 'The Storm'.

For anyone interested, here are parts I - IV:

The Storm - Part I

It was an early August evening in 1990 on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. The island had once been home to lepers and outcasts, so we Marines felt right at home training on its rugged terrain. I sat in the pitch black, ear up against a PRC-77 radio talking to one of my squad leaders out on patrol. The unmistakable grumble of a humvee working its way up the dirt road beneath me drowned out a nighttime chorus of frogs and crickets. I watched a familiar shadow, tall, bulky, and clumsy stumble towards me. It was my C.O., Capt John Caretti, a behemoth from Philadelphia. And something was obviously wrong...


The Storm - Part II

The flight to Saudi Arabia via commercial airlines was surreal. ‘Please place your M-16’s under your seat, muzzle facing outwards’ isn’t a stewardess instruction you’ll hear every day. We were fed every 2 hours, watched continuous onboard movies, our every whim catered to. It had just a hint of that ‘lamb being led to slaughter’ feel to it. For me, that flight over was full of angst, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Too much time to think about where were going, what we might have to do there, and what we’d left behind...


The Storm - Part III

My memories of Desert Shield and Desert Storm are a surreal patchwork of alternately intense, funny, and bizarre moments. If war is hell, pre-war must certainly be purgatory. Waiting for George Herbert Walker Bush, the UN, and Saddam Hussein to figure out if they were going to kiss and make up, or have a little Mid-East throw down, felt like it could last forever. After a few months of ‘the wait’, the consensus of my Marines was that anything was better than sitting out in the middle of the Saudi desert, training day after day, and waiting for the next sunrise to come. Excitement, even of the bloody, dangerous, violent kind began to look awfully attractive. Marines have become so accustomed to weathering the drudgery of agonizing delays over the past 200 years, they’ve developed an entire way of life around it, the ‘hurry up and wait’ philosophy...


The Storm Part IV - Line of Departure

Sitting in the pitch black Saudi Arabian night in a reinforced fighting hole, I pulled a set of night vision goggles from their hard plastic case and strapped them on. Shivering in the surprisingly cold desert air, I looked starward and watched what seemed like an endless cloud of US and British bombers stream like angry hornets north towards occupied Kuwait and on to Baghdad. I couldn’t help but silently ask ‘Am I really here, living this?’ It was just one of many surreal moments to come. As we listened to Armed Forces Radio and the BBC give the play by play to the start of Desert Storm, we glimpsed a cacophony of dancing flashes on the horizon, felt the ground rumble ominously as if mighty dinosaurs once again walked the Earth, and wondered what the experience felt like from our enemies vantage point. War was no longer an if, or a when. It was real, and we were now in it, a few miles down the road from whatever was to come. Of the possible emotions one could feel...