Desert Storm Pics Page One

Here I am with the Helicopter I flew, “Turbine Cowboy”.  We put names on all of the Aircraft in my Platoon, but the Battalion Commander told us to remove them.  One of my crew chiefs did a wonderful putting them on, and an equally wonderful job taking them off.

Here’s the aircraft in my Platoon. I had 5 Bell 206 Jet Rangers (OH-58c), and 3 pilots (including me). The two extra aircraft were maintained by my Platoon and we provided one each to the Brigade Cdr. and the Battalion Cdr. for their personal aircraft.

We arrived in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 20th, 1990. Our first night was spent in a tent city near Al Jubyal (see the Map).  This picture doesn't do the place justice. I was standing in about the middle facing one direction.  The tents extended behind me at least far as the ones in view. There were about fifteen of these very long rows.   Lots and lots and lots of tents.

All of our vehicles and aircraft were loaded onto ships in Rotterdam.  We received them in the Port of Dammam, near Ad Dammam.  We stayed at the port for about five days collecting our vehicles.  We were provided cots in one of many dockside warehouses that were converted to temporary living quarters.

Our Apaches lined up on the dock awaiting our departure to the desert.

After the short stay at the port, we moved to the desert.  We set up operations in an Assembly Area about 30 miles south of Hafar al Batin.  Here’s a picture of Charlie Company.

The desert was pretty flat.  The maps we had were basically sheets of paper with grid lines, tough for a scout pilot used to navigating by terrain association. The sunrises and sunsets were noteworthy. This is one of the pictures Brett took.

Shortly after we arrived at our first assembly area. It started to rain.  It doesn't rain much in the desert (by definition), so when it does it the water doesn't drain well.  Here is the result.

Here’s me during a “desert storm”. It only rained for five or six days total.  It was pretty cold, though, but we were prepared for cold.  The weekend before we deployed we were skiing in the Austrian Alps.

Here’s what my living arrangements looked like for most of our five month deployment.  Contrary to what you might think, Army tents are not water tight.  But, Army Ponchos typically are..  So, to keep the rain off, I hung my poncho over my cot.

Once we were established in our Desert Assembly Area, we began to train for fighting a war in a desert.  The desert posed several challenges that we had to overcome.  First our maintenance cycles changed, sand is a turbine engine’s worst enemy. We washed out the engines almost daily (that’s right, washed out).  Second challenge was re-learning how to fly with night vision goggles on featureless terrain.

A closer view of the picture above.

The M-1, what an amazing tank.  The Tank Cdr. was reaching for his camera when my Aerial Observer, Keith, leaned over me and snapped this picture.  He used my camera which has a fixed wide angle lens (caution, objects photographed with camera are closer than they appear).

Dust, Dust, more Dust.  We didn't spend any time hovering close to the ground.  One of our Apache pilots demonstrates a “desert takeoff”.

Doug, my Platoon’s Instructor Pilot, showing how it looked in an OH-58.

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