With few days left for preparation of the battlefield, the Allies flew another 2800 sorties against the Iraqi positions. F-4Gs and F-16Cs from 23rd TFS, operating out of Turkey, swarmed all over Baghdad and conducted the heaviest bombing of the Iraqi capital in a week. Another A-10 was shot down over Kuwait. Some mobile Scud launchers had succeeded in evading the Scud hunt. One launcher came out of hiding and hurled a Scud at Israel. A Patriot missile intercepted the weapon.
Gen. Schwarzkopf announced that the Allies were destroying two battalions worth of Iraqi tanks each day (100+) and that the Iraqi military was "on the verge of collapse."
In preparation for the attack into Kuwait, Task Force Taro (the third Marines) moved from Al Mish'ab to their assembly areas west Al Wafra. Taro now occupied the right flank of the 1st Marine Division. Grizzly moved to the left flank, along with its artillery and engineering support.
Gen. Boomer (pictured here) concluded his daily staff meeting with the following words for his men:
"For the last few months the president sought peace and failed. Peace is over. Now we have one job, and that's to kill Iraqis and in any way and in every way that we can that's legal under the law of land warfare, and we will abide by that."
To the west of Kuwait, further aerial recon along MSR NEWMARKET revealed Iraqis digging in. Earlier helicopter overflights had apparently concern the local commander. He was preparing to defend his sector. The main Iraqi position contain 15 bunkers, mortar positions, and two or three antiaircraft guns. The screaming Eagle estimated that there were no more than 100 Iraqi soldiers at this facility. Don't 101st Airborne commander, Major General Binford Peay III, approve the plan to clear the area on the 20th.
The 1st Cavalry continued to maintain its high profile. 2-8 Cavalry moved through the Saudi berm and conducted a recon up the Wadi. They've found and destroyed a cache of enemy ammunition. In preparation for the next day's activities, 1-5 Cavalry also Pro 3 km up the Wadi, encountering no Iraqi forces.
That evening, Lt. Rick Davis's platoon peered over the berm from inside there in M1A1 tanks. One of the lookouts spotted enemy vehicles and soldiers moving about in the darkness. 1-82 Field Artillery fiery illumination rounds into the area, turing night and today. Davis was ordered to engage the enemy force.
The platoon's M1s opened fire. Bradley's from TF 2-5 joined in as they fired into the Iraqis. TF 2-8 mortar fire rained down on the Iraqi dismounts. One Abrams achieved a direct hit, completely destroying the Iraqi vehicle. A Bradley gunner destroyed an enemy MTLB. The stunned Iraqis retreated to the north.
Girls, Girls, Girls
I got a letter from a girl today. Her name is Misty but I won't share her last name. Her brother was in one of the Radar teams but I don't remember which one. He showed me her picture one day and I almost passed out from her beauty. She was a young blonde haired, blue eyed attractive girl. Most people would not be comfortable with a Marine so interested in their sister, but Michael (my Marine friend) actually suggested that I write her. And so I did. I wish I had the letters, but I don't. I only have one letter that she wrote me. Many of my letters were damaged from rain and I burned them in the desert.
Misty described herself in the letter and even included a picture. She said that she loves sports, especially basketball. She was a pretty good basketball player when she was in High School. After graduation, she went to Texas Tech on a basketball scholarship where she majored in Elementary Education, hoping to become a teacher.
During Spring Break, she was planning on going to Ft. Lauderdale with four of her friends. She mentioned that she would send me more pictures of her once she had some made, because the one she sent was the same one Michael had showed me.
Misty wasn't the only girl back home that was on my mind. Although I don't mention it, I had a few girls "on the hook." One of them was Hacie (pronounced "hay-see"). She was a girl from the church I attended back home. We both grew up in the church youth group. I have a picture of the two of us on a date, along with Lance Corporal Tanner and his wife, when we attended the Marine Corps Ball in our dress blue uniform. I only had four medals at the time. One of the medals I got later was the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal which was awarded to us by the Kuwaiti government once they got back to business. Another one was the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, awarded to me at the end of my service. If you aren't familiar with Military medals, particularly Navy and Marine Corps medals, in this picture Cpl. Tanner is wearing the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal (looking at the picture, it is the green one on the left). I have one also, but there is a reason why I wasn't wearing mine. I'll address that in a later post. I also have the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal. I don't wear either of them for the same reason.
Anyway, I don't know how I found time to write all the people that were writing me. They only had one person to write; I had many. But I made sure I wrote as many people as I could, even if its just a short note.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”