Extract from Chapter 13 - Operation Desert Shield
I had finished my job of getting MAG-26 together and resumed my duties as the supply officer for HMLA-773. The living conditions were austere in scalding climates above 120 degrees, and we lived in tents for the entire time in Saudi Arabia. There were porta poddies along the perimeters in Jubayl, and the local vendors provided their imitation of hamburgers. The meat was not hamburger or anything close to McDonald's or anything else back stateside.
Reserve Marine pilots mobilized because of the war suffer immensely in pay. Most were airline pilots making six figures or had businesses. The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act did not make up the vast difference in monthly pay. Many officers resigned their commission instead of reporting for duty for Operation Desert Shield. We arrived via C-5 aircraft and Boeing 747 for personnel. I stepped out of the plane in Jubayl with not one bullet to shoot if needed. Someone had not done the math correctly, and the units in the rear were on ammo rations for the first three weeks. (Yep in a war zone with five bullets, LOL!)
Despite the popular belief, it does rain in the desert, and we paid the price for this experience. When Saddam H. started launching those damn Scud missiles, the alarms would sound, and we were so scared of biological weapons that everyone started putting on their NBC gear each time. But one night after digging foxholes it rained all night, and then the alarms went off and guess what? Every Marine who jumped into the foxhole ruined their protective clothing. Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) personnel changed the rules after that night. Marines were instructed to only put the chemical suit on when ordered to do so by an NBC specialist.
Most of the casualties during Desert Shield happened because of accidental discharges from cleaning weapons. I returned to my tent one day to find a bullet hole three inches above the head position of my sleeping cot while stationed in Jubayl in December 1990. We weren’t supposed to be here anyway. MAG-26 was meant to have been deployed to Al Mishab Air Field, but something was seriously wrong. I was a logistics officer and a darn good one. The air wing did not assign or seek to find logistic officers. Instead, they would assign a pilot to the position. This was all right during peacetime operations. But in war time this was a big mistake. Things were about to change....
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Dr. Jordan B smith jr.
I attended the U. S. Naval Academy from 1972-1976 earning a B.S. in Mathematics. Served 20 years both active and reserve in the US Marines. Veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm. I earned a MAED and Ed D. specializing in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2015. I graduated from CBC High School in Clayton, MO in 1972.