Our Arrival for Operation “Desert Shield”

NOTE: According to the time frame, documentaries, and of course the fact that we were there watching them get off the plane, The Army (101st AB) were the first combat units to respond. BUT THAT IS A BIG NO. The “First” responding combat units were, and will always be the 1st TFW/1st SPS.  Wed. Aug 8, 1990: Our fighters, F-15 eagles made the trip, getting some midair refueling and upon arrival in Saudi Air space, set up shop and established the control of the air, allowing us to land safely at “Dhahran”. At about 0930 Saudi time, the pilot made the announcement of our approach and soon we touched down. We could feel the reverse thrust action as the plane began to slow down. Everyone got ready. After we taxied to our spot in the middle of the ramp and the pilot went through the engine shut down procedures and then lowered the ramp. We were already standing as it opened up.  The blast of the, 120 degree, heat rushes in and just about takes our breath away.  “Ho man that’s hot.” Someone said as we approached the ramp. The sweat immediately poured out of our pores, but as quickly as it poured, it evaporates.  We were told that here the heat is a dry heat and when you sweat, you don’t feel it, that you can dehydrate very quickly, so we needed to carry at least two quarts of water with us everywhere we went. The advance element of 28 men and one woman grabbed our weapons and a-bag and made our way down the ramp and onto the tarmac. We formed into two columns and walked across the tarmac heading for the hanger that we would use as our initial HQ. Security, being the first order of business, was established, and after another hour, we were checked in and had our first war briefing. We were all very tired but the adrenaline that flowed kept us moving along. All of us knew that the first few weeks will be vital and each one of us wanted to get going and get it done. The Col. addressed us, “Gentlemen, we are here to protect and defend the U.S. military assets assigned to and coming through this installation. Terrorist and special forces are our enemy. They will do whatever it takes to disrupt and destroy this base. There has been no declaration of War, as of yet, however, we will be ready for it. We will be at 100 percent. The other half of our contingency will be on the ground soon so, be on your toes. Our first order of business is to establish a perimeter around this structure and a 24-hour guard on all equipment, “Let’s get to it.”  I was part of the security element so I fell under his command. We didn’t know it at the time, but Dhahran was in the process of a shutdown of all air operations. With the request for the U.S. military assistance for a “Desert Shield” and the war (Storm) that would follow, a complete reverse of that was implemented. The priority now, for airfield management, was making the parking ramps and hangers operational to start receiving the massive influx of inbound personnel and equipment that would begin arriving in the next couple of days. For us, being the Security personnel, as said before, we had a lot to do before the other half of our contingency arrived. We had the business of securing the area around the hanger, conducting sweeps and looking for the best place to conduct a defense if needed. That would be difficult, especially with only 21 personnel. Sleep, was a luxury, and that is only if you were fortunate enough to get it. We could not afford it, so we didn’t indulge. As a matter-of-fact, as of this day, I haven’t been asleep since I left Langley, so I was really operating on pure adrenalin. It would be six days total before I did get any sleep.

Published by 19mike55

Christian, Retired USAF Security Police, Desert Shield/Storm War Veteran. Author of the "Reapers War series." Book One … Reapers War: The Beginning … Book Two; Valley of the Shadow: Reapers War.

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