Mission Assigned: Kuwait City
Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia—The day of the unit’s departure, Wednesday, February 13, began with a notably unremarkable formation. The company lined up to hear the usual announcements about procedures and details, but on this occasion it was addressed by two officers who wanted to send the unit off with their best wishes. One of the speakers was a chaplain who caught the unit’s attention — not easy — with some uhique comments. The first was how we were totally unfamiliar to him — the feeling was mutual. He added however, “Aithough I don’t know you, I know Someone Who does.” That stuck. Next he proceded to explain how Iraqi and American troops have something in common: a mail problem. But as an example of what makes America great, he explained, our problem was caused by too much mail; theirs, not any.
The other speaker was LTC Ken Brier, commmander of the 404th Civil Affairs Company, which had been given an assignment to support VII Corps fighting units. LTC Brier related how much his unit wolild have preferred going in place of the 432nd instead of beinq parcelled out to various forward units, or worse, staying behind to run Khobar Village — as later actually happened. Members of the 432nd knew how much the 404th had facused on a more glamorous assignment. The 404th had Arabic speakers as well as a conspicuously professional knowledge of operating camps for displaced civilians. They demonstrated that at their mock camp back at Ft. Bragg and during their commander’s briefing of the 432nd on major issues regarding camps. The commander did not hide his disappointment now, as he spoke to the 432nd on the day of its move north. But then he proceded to commend the 432nd and LTC Christopherson, and he concluded by explaining how esteemed the work of the 432nd would be, insofar as its mission would not be victory in combat, but rather victory in keeping people alive. He then bade farewell.
The move to Al Jubayl was another unique experience to members of the 432nd. The unit had made many moves in its history to routine training exercises at Ft. McCoy or Bear Paw Camp for example, but none in a desert setting with sights of camels, small Arab villages, glimpses of the greenish-blue Persian Gulf, and armed Saudis at highway checkpoints.
- One day we were refueling our trucks down by the port. While the trucks were being filled up, we fed a baby camel apples. Meanwhile the mommy and daddy camel were trying to make more baby camels. This, of course, was a much more interesting sight. They went at it for quite some time, but dear ol’ dad must have had a problem because the camel herder had to ‘finish him off’.
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