At Al Jubayl, the main activity was the preparation of equipment for shipment back to Camp Lejeune. The work was long and often tedious, but spirits were boosted by the knowledge that the day for returning to the United States would soon arrive. A special detachment from the Southwest Asia Training Group, led by Lieutenant Colonel John R. Michaud, was present to assist with the demobilization. Discharge forms were signed, discharge physical conducted, and pre-separation briefings given about the benefits and entitlements due on separation from active duty.
While we played the waiting game for our turn to leave, there was still plenty of things to do. We had to clean all gear and equipment and prepare them for inspection. That meant all sand had to be removed. Everything had to be clean from top to bottom, secured, and prepared for inspection. The sooner we passed inspection, the sooner we could go home. But, if we tried to hurry the process and overlook any details, we could fail the inspection and then repeat the whole process over again. We needed to get it right the first time.
I got a letter written from the Virginia boy, Carlos. He and his mother both wrote me. "Hello Richard, how are you? We're fine. We all (Americans) sure are glad that the war is over. I'll bet that we're not as glad as you guys are! We are so proud of you all. Take care of yourself now, you've all served your country well. You can look just about anywhere and see the yellow ribbons everywhere. Carlos and I took a picture for you to give faces to the name. I'll turn this letter over to Carlos now. By the way, I'm Carlos' mother. My name is Angelique (Angie)."
"Yo Richard, how are you doing? I have a girlfriend. She is very pretty.Yes I have been doing good in school. Richard, when you get to Dallas maybe you can write me back. I know you are glad to win the war."
Yes, we were glad the was over, and we were certainly glad that we won. American pride was restored with overwhelming victory and against overwhelming odds. Most of the world news media had preached impending disaster in the weeks leading up to the war. "Investigative Journalist" ran expose's showing Tomahawk missile, M1 tank, and Bradley fighting vehicle inadequacies as they prophesied that inexperienced and soft American soldiers would break and run in the face of battle. CNN reporters glamorized the experienced "battle hardened" Iraqi Army and the dreaded Republican Guard as a formidable opponent that would inflict casualties on thousands of American soldiers.
As it turned out, the Gulf War was by far the most lopsided victory in military history. The United States, aided by its Coalition partners, conducted the most sophisticated military operation in the history of warfare. Iraq's military establishment was the largest military force in the Middle East. We defeated a five hundred thousand man strong opponent that was armed with a modern Air Force; an expansive, integrated air defense system; and an army equipped with modern (if not state-of-the-art) armor and excellent artillery. We were outgunned, outnumbered, and fighting half way around the world. We won because our forces were the best train, the Best equipped, and best motivated in the world! And, we fought smart! But above all, my core belief, is that our nation, our leadership, and our military put our faith in God in prayer. And when God fights the battles for you, victory is certain!
"Iraq went from the fourth-largest army in the world
to the second-largest army in Iraq in 100 hours"
-Lieutenant General Tom Kelly