- I'll never forget being in Phase that night in Spain. There had been rumors flying around base for weeks, and then hearing the 'recall' song. The next thing I knew I was out in Alcala 'recalling' the Sgt (actually trying to read his hand-drawn map) that I would replace in Qatar three weeks later.
- When the 614th was 'alerted' to go, a couple of guys from Phase asked me to make a library run "Mike, go and find out as much as you can about 'Qatar'." I've always been a 'news junkie', but I'll admit, I don't even think I'd heard of it before...
- Stepping off of the C-130, three weeks later out in front of the hangar in Doha after volunteering to come down, thinking "Mike, what have you gotten yourself into now..."
- Hearing stories of the 'Rat Motel' and being so thankful that I was those three weeks late...
- Becoming friends with the Qatari Maintenance OIC of their Alpha Jet Squadron. 'Working' on the Mirage and Alpha Jet 'Phase Dock' when we didn't have an aircraft to inspect. Sitting in the old Qatari Hawker Hunter in the back of the Qatar hangar.
- One of my only interactions with the French technicians after we'd noticed one of the F.1C's leaking fuel very badly one night "Oh no, it is only zee heat expansion..." "But sir, the 'puddle' is twice the size of the jet!?!"
- Shopping trips to the souq.
- Swimming and windsurfing at the Sheraton.
- "Ok, who's got a truck, we just ordered delivery from 'the Caravan'."
- Taking off my gas mask after a SCUD warning and walking over to KFC for chicken.
- Being told that EMS would be responsible for setting up an aircraft decon team during a 'stand up'. Having Capt. Beatty reply to "Who would you like to be in charge?" with "Sgt. Kopack, he's been through all of the training..."
- Standing in front of the first jet back on the 17th at EOR/decon, seeing a 'bluish-gray' residue on the chemical swab and thinking "Ok Mike, you've got about thrity seconds to make probably the most important 'call' of your life" and wishing that there was a 'second opinion'.
- Losing Tico and MR on 19 Jan. Counting the aircraft as they touched down from our decon position at EOR and knowing that they weren't all there. Hoping that they'd stopped for fuel in SA or Bahrain, yet knowing, inside, that it wasn't the case. Hearing what had happened from Col. Nelson as he stepped out of debreif. Feeling that 'hole' - that a part of 'ourselves' was somewhere up in Iraq. Sitting across from Bill Hinchey at dinner that night, feeling as bad as he looked. Worrying about the guys that would have to go back up there the next day.
- Seeing the 'spirit' of the pilots as they left the Ops trailer the next morning, and knowing that everything was going to be all right.
- "What? Hot meals? But we're at war! It'll be MRE's for you... Would you like 'ham slice' or that awful omlete with ham..."
- The first time we rolled a normally four-and-a-half day phased inspection in 24 hours. Doing it again for the next five weeks.
- Knowing that we continued to stand out on that ramp on the 17th, not only until after the aircraft had launched, but until every one of them had returned. Knowing that we'd still be standing there now if we'd had to.
- Sneaking into debreif and watching "bombs on temporary bridges, vehicles and the enemy when the Iraqi Army was in full retreat from the occupation, pillaging, and rape of Kuwait and trying to get back across the Euphrates, and hearing "Hutch" call "shack".
- Pulling back into TJ six hours after the 'Welcome Home' hangar party, well after midnight, in the cold, with flurries in the air - and having the first person there to shake each of our hands as we stepped off of the C-5 be Col. Nelson. - Mike Kopack
- Anybody remember the "Lucky Devil Dream Girl" Competition thrown by Guido? - Jeff Frient
- I remember that first day like it was yesterday. The few days prior we all
brought our bags and sat around waiting for trans. The day we left, I
thought it would be another day of the same thing. Man, was I wrong.
- Next thing I knew, we were on the KC-10 bound for somewhere. They wouldn't
tell us where. We had M-16's issued and the big topic was that they had no
- After what seemed like an eternity, we landed somewhere in "Sand land".
they opened the cargo doors it hit us like a tidal wave. The heat and
humidity felt like I just stepped into the hottest sauna ever.
- I remember stepping down to the ramp and walking toward the hanger. I think
I made it about 10 - 15 feet and noticed that I was dripping. That was the
beginning of the longest, hottest summer I ever lived through. All I could
think of was that everyone told me Korea, Florida and the Philippines were
hot and humid. None of those have anything on Doha, Qatar.
- I've got more stories, like the day we moved from the hotel to the Rat Motel
on base. That was an experience seeing rats bigger than my dog, and we had
to sleep in the same building.
- I can also remember Christmas eve and the Frisbee snowball fight. Thousands
of Frisbees flying around tent city that night. We played all night and that
was one of the fun times.
- I also remember New Years Eve. Billy, Fishbone, and the rest of the FCC tent
if you're out there, how about that "Fruit Cake" and all the Christmas
that showed up in the Conex? That's a story in itself. - Mike Hare
- My first memory was being sent to that small base in
southern Spain the first week of August to be
Transient Alert for aircraft coming over form the
states. Then being sent back to Torrejon 3 days later
because of a change of plans. Then being recalled two
times to process for deployment preparing a nice bag
for an extended stay and sleeping in the gymnasium 100
feet from our dorm rooms to be told in the morning
that the deployment was cancelled.
- So the third time we processed a few of us skipped
the gymnasium sleep over and went out for a night on
the town in Alcala. Threw a few pairs of underwear in
the bag and wouldn?t you know it we left the next
morning for Doha. The worst job of packing I had ever
completed for a TDY and off we went hung over as hell.
- Positives: Thank goodness for the girls from Arkansas
and the "Love Shack."
- Which one of you brilliant fighter jocks was it that I
had to take the pussy cat out of the cockpit when you
cranked up for deploying back home? Conan? - Richard Thor
- I remember being ADVON and when the KC-10's got there we sat and watched everyone get off using the rope.
- I remember when that private lear jet made a unannounced landing and parked right in front of our hanger, no one had a clue as to who was on it.
- The day the canadian F-18's broke the sound barrier over us and we thought we were being bombed.
- You always knew when they were cleaning the pooper tents, even on the flight line you knew it.
- I remember the french parking there airplanes inside when the war started and bringing them out when it finished. Sure glad they were there..
- Remember using the MARS phone (over).
- Cant forget the dog pound.
- I remember one of us crew chiefs got one of those water balloon sling shots and we were launching those all over tent city, then came apples and whatever else we got out of the chow tent. - Scott Stutler
- The two alcoholic beverage tickets we were issued at
the Ambassador's receptions and the ragin'
all-you-can-consume-in-two-hours drunkfests that they
- Some pretty intense pick-up basketball games on our
- Fido Dido t-shirts being the height of fashion.
- Capt. Thompson taking "Chico" the sand chicken on a
- Being assigned as a bodyguard for a two-star who was
in town to get his flying hours in. Me and Moore were
told to put on our civies and stop by the armory and
then someone would drive us to the Sheraton. The
two-star wasn't due for a few hours, so we bowled a
few games with some of the hotel staff. I don't think
I broke a hundred in any game because I had a 9mm
stuffed down the back of my pants and I was worried
about the potential for a very embarassing purple
- Me and a couple other SPs (don't remember who
anymore)having Thanksgiving dinner off base at the
home of a young lady from Great Britain. (I enjoyed
the irony immensely.)
And bad times:
- Missing my little sister's wedding.
- Wishing everyone a "Happy Tuesday" when we went out to
post on Christmas Day.
- My buddy John Childers taking emergency leave when his
dad died of a heart attack.
- Being posted at the pilots' barracks the day 16 went
out and only 14 came back. - Brian Schwang
- I went to the Embassy quite a few times to swim,
drink, and drink. We also smoked something from that pipe with all the
hoses attached to it. I'm sure there is an actual name for it, but I
don't know what it is. We assumed the 'tobacco' was legal since it was
at the Embassy...who knows.
- We caught on with a British family that
took us to some dart tourneys, partying, and skiing in the Gulf...those
were good times.
- The pilots would take us downtown, we'd all
break curfews, and then the pilots would take the heat for us when we
- How 'bout those camel burgers with eggs?
- Anybody remember the 'Mad Crapper'? This was the idiot
that kept crapping in the shower tents...pretty sick.
- Then there were
the volleyball tournaments that went on forever...the spade
tournaments...and how about that British comedy skit that came to town?
- What I remember the most was watching Tel Aviv getting attacked knowing
our alarm would go off in 5-10 minutes...and it did...every time.
those chilidogs from Hardees were the best!
- I remember going downtown
to eat and the menu was in Arabic. The only thing I recognized was
fried chicken so I ordered it. They brought me an entire whole
chicken...innards and all...fried!! - Tony Miranda
- I worked Crash recovery/Phase dock and I have never ever phased jets like we did
there at Doha. During the war we were doing 12 hour phases and doing the same jet
every 7 days. I remember P.J. Everett, we were time changing engines during the
phases, and what a team we made to do that, QA would watch as we pulled it and put
it in, QA was the 3rd guy and the 4th while we R&I the engines. It was funny
because we would only have 2 people to R2 the engine when it required 4, but 1 QA
guy made 2.
- I still think about the day Cujo and Tice were shot down and the faces of the Pilots
we they returned, red faced and teared eyed. But the next day when they came out
of Op's and high fived, and said lets go get um, I still haven't ever respected
any other pilots as I did them. - Kraig Bolus
- I can remember building tent city for 4 hours daily after 12 hours on the
- Stutler smuggled us a case of Detroit River water (some call it
stroh's) and we drank it warm after the 16 hour day.
- Oh yes the famous camel
toe burgers... fish bone was good for one daily with his side kick "chops"
- We had a pretty radical party on new years in our tent. Smuggled in the
exhaust of the engine loaded in a tug and hand carried to the tent to go in
the Super secret spot under chops's bed.
- My boy who was born while I was at Doha is now a
freshman in high school. Couldn't get home in time, so he was 5 days old when I finally arrived back at TJ after the cease fire. - Rick Allen
- Yes and that was the best warm Strohs we ever drank. Who would have thought that it was the only beer we could get in short notice from the shoppette. - Scott Stutler
- Myself and TSgt Floy D. Sample (Power Production Specialist) were the first two engineers at Doha. I had just returned from a short tour with the Combined Forces Command engineers in Seoul and had been at my new assignment at Nellis as the Vice Commander, 820th RED HORSE, for one week when the war kicked off. The Nellis Wing Commander picked me to lead the 554th CES Prime BEEF team to deploy to SWA. On 22 Aug 90, we left on a KC-10 from Nellis and flew to Charleston AFB and RON'd. The next morning we flew non-stop to Khamis Mushayat, Saudia Arabia. We dragged 5 Stealth Fighters with us from the 37th wing and bedded down the forces there in two weeks.
CENTCOM called me and told me to go to Doha to evaluate the runway and base for F-16's. That evening we left at about midnight and arrived at Doha at about 3am. It had cooled down to about 100 degrees and 90% humidity. We went to the Gulf Hotel and met with Col. Nelson the next morning. I told him I was there to assess the base and he said "Welcome Rod, you're my Base Civil Engineer. Let's build an air base." I was home.
I met with Bruce "Orville" Wright, Tico Tice, John Nichols, Cujo and all of the other great guys from the squadron. I called CENTCOM for more engineers and, over the course of the next month, I received 75 engineers from seven different bases. Every day brought new challenges. We had to build a bomb dump with berms to accept 2.5 million pounds of bombs in five days. We did that and also built 7 miles of roads in the same period. We also installed expeditionary BAK-12 aircraft barriers, constructed water purification units, power plant, rec center, command post, hospital, lot of tents, basketball court, volleyball courts, dining hall and kitchen, semi-hardened shelters, and on and on.
One day, when all of our top dogs were flying missions against the Republican Guard, the Canadian Minister of Defense arrived on short notice. Col. Nelson told me to give him our Wing ops briefing outlining our sorties, targets, etc. Me, a ground pounder, combat support troop giving this guy our flight ops update! I was honored that Col. Nelson chose me to do it. The reason it was successful is that Col. Nelson included us support squadron commanders in the mission briefings and felt confident that we knew the program. It went off without a hitch. The one thing I will never forget about our Wing Commander was "Return With Honor". I have used this tenet of conduct many times since then in every organization I have been in charge of.
One of the fondest memories of our Christmas in Qatar was when the Mother of a little 9 yr. old boy from Tennessee that I had been a penpal with sent a Christmas goodie package for all 75 of us Civil Engineers and Firefighters. His Mom wrote me a letter asking how many folks were in our squadron and the whole family individually wrapped 75 gifts so everyone would have something to open for Christmas. How very thoughtful. Those cookies and stocking stuffer gifts meant a lot to us all. - Rod Hunt
- Yeah...the chow hall (dining facility nowadays) was good. The only problem (here is my "bitch") was that the choices were....chicken and rice, rice and chicken, rice chicken with curry, etc... I ended up eating at the Hardees stand just outside our gate. And then OSI decided to ban it...they said it was because of possible food contamination. After they did that, I used to be posted on that gate and watched the OSI guys eating there! I guess they got pissed off or something because the rest of us would eat everything...lol
- Hey!!! Remember when that last SCUD missile blew up to the north? I was on a four-man team driving around when we got the notification that it was in the air. Of course, during Desert Shield, the Canadians kept sounding the alarm every time a SCUD went up, so someone in the CP got smart and waited to sound our alarm. Basically they waitied a minute to see which direction the SCUD was heading.
Anyway, when the alarm went off, us four went to MOPP 4 and tried to find cover. Of course, we were out in the open...lol. So there we were trying to decide where to go when it blew up. One of the guys says "SHIT!" in a muffled voice. We ask him what was wrong and he replies, "I pissed in my Chem Suit!" Kind of puts a whole new meaning on "Scaring the piss out of you". - Mike Broeker
- Abandoning 10 cases of German "Perminator Beer" at Ramstein, because Col Nelson told us the chances of our ADVON team leaving that night for Dhahran was less than 40% a few hours before.
- Col Nelson driving a six pack around Ramstein, picking everybody up that night a few hours after his briefing.
- Parks colliding with a tree coming back from Fred's Lounge
- Being hung over at Dhahran AB the next day in 110 F heat with the Airborne troops looking at us in our traditional BDUs.
- "Ruhldog" ground aborting three jets on a launch, only to return to the jet he first ground aborted.
- The "Largest Knife" competition
- The "Bruiser Club"
- Accomplishing a BPO/PREFLIGHT, fuel, jumping the intake and installing the covers before Col Ball got out of the cockpit.
- "Tool" running over my chem gear with a pickup
- Conan's FCF's. "I have yet to see a better air show".
- Frient's "Real World Size" Maps
- "Tico" Always spitting in the exhaust
- "Hutch" coming out for a combat mission, accomplishing his walk around and then realizing he forgot to put on his G-Suit and Harness before he got into the cockpit.
- Remembering the Intel people guaranteeing us that no Scuds would be heading our way the first week of February, because they all had been taken out.
- Going back to bed after Scott Stutler woke me up and asked me what that large explosion was during that February alarm red.
- Always being told that nobody was living in my dorm room back in Spain. When I returned to my dorm after the war, some dude was in my room watching my TV and playing my Nintendo. - Larry Neidhardt
-"Home Alone" the big hit that had everyone laughing in tears.
- Owning/operating the water balloon sling shot that ended up hitting
Sam Schumates girlfriend (AKA Shoe's Box) with a Kiwi fruit then
threatened with an Article 15.
- Msgt Wynne and his gamboy and push up routine.
-Guido's devil horned helmet.
-Sitting in the tent as you hear the gas generator run out of gas and
you watch the AC duct collapse followed by the extreme heat/humidity.
-Having Scott Stutler fill my boots with water every time I jumped the
-Phil Bates scoring with the ugliest girl on base in tent B-10.
-Using water bottles to bleed the overfilled hydraulic system.
-Ninja man chasing Syl Barajas with a broom stick after Syl hit him with
a Frisbee during the "Snowball" fight. "Check your 6"
-Rick Carrol thinking he had two chem gear pants since he held one pair
in his hands and his chem gear jacket pulled on as pants.
-Looking for MRE #7 (Beef stew, M&Ms, and cherry nut cake)
-9 minute photo finishing downtown
-Water football at the 1st hotel
-Cory Meyer's comment while cleaning the women's bathroom tent. Email me
for the details.
-Mike Parks getting the only PCS out there and the drive through tent
city as anything and everything was dumped on him. - Mick Bretz
- Waiting on the KC-10s when we first got to Doha for over an hour until the Qataris could get equipment to get us off.
- Maintainers stepping off the KC-10s and feeling the heat in our faces as we stepped through the door, then without a word, the guys setting out to turn the F-16s for potential sorties the next day -- the jets were ready well within 24 hours of our arrival.
- I remember having the jets armed for air-to-air, and the CENTAF planners calling right after we landed and asking how soon we could drop iron. We had no iron to drop as nothing was prepositioned for us, so we had to wait for ships to come in and download bombs.
- I remember seeing the relief on the locals faces when they realized we had landed. They immediately started off-loading their dhows and boats of their personal belongings.
- One evening when the Emeri Air Force came over to "borrow" a MK-82 to see if it would fit on the shackles one of their jets, then the next thing we know CENTAF orders a transfer of an allocation of MK 82s to them -- then the pride on their faces when they took to the skies armed to the teeth with our bombs to drop on the Iraqi Army.
- I remember the pride of the Emir's Air Force and all of the local population when their tanks were in the lead element to take back Khafji on Jan 30.
- I remember talking to Maj al Majid (an officer I had gone to AMOC with in 1988) and he was wondering why Israel was not firing back on Iraq when Scuds were hitting inside the Israeli borders.
- I remember when Jon Ball came back to us and he asked me to get him a hamburger and he handed me a wet $20 bill. When I asked him about it, he said it must not have dried out yet from when he went off Kuwait. I asked him to sign it, gave him another $20 instead and bought him his burger.
- I remember the relief and tears when I saw MJ was shown on CNN and knew that he and Tico were alive and thanked God for keeping them that way.
- I remember the HUD tapes we watched on the Baghdad mission and hearing the gasps and the groans -- then the silence when it was stopped.
- I remember Lt Col Wright asking me to CANN up the "D" model so combat camera could get some shots for the Pentagon crowd and asking the only and single time for a backseat ride -- never asked for one before, but wanted just one combat mission over the Iraqis -- his response: Gary, we can't afford the heat if something happened.
- I remember the night before a mission to have to open up a leaflet bomb to see what the leaflets said -- it seems that the CENTAF planners forgot what they had loaded in them.
- Most of all, I remember kickass maintainers and pilots doing what they do best -- making an enemy pay for their p_ssing us off!
- I remember grabbing the American and Qatar flag out of the hangar before the Canadians tried stealing them -- I almost had the Canadian flag, but they caught me at it. - Gary Lane
-Arriving at Doha and being met by Chops and him telling us that we were in a 10 star hotel. Hell of a way to go to war!
-Looking for the crapper only to find a hole!
-Hardees and KFC outside of tent city! Beat the heck out of the lunchmeat that we got from downtown!
-Throwing one hell of a New Years Eve party with absolutely no alcohol...NOT! I think I lost my hair that night courtesy of Tony "Fishbone" Miranda.
-The night my aircraft 87-0257 went down with "Tico" in it. I still think about that almost everyday! It sucked that I lost it with over 30 code one's in a row. I am sure that if that SAM wouldn't have got it, she would have landed that way again.
-Getting the opportunity to sing "God Bless the USA" with the Navy band and again when got ready to leave. Thanks a lot to Col. Nelson for allowing me to do that!
-Having the best bunch of guys you could spend time away from home with: Mike Hare, Brick Hardin, Jeff Roll, Dan Toro, Rick Carroll, Tony Miranda, Chops, Eric Cash, John Hassler, Tony Ramos, LB, and Gary Williams. "FCC" FOREVER!!!
-Willard Inn...need I say more!
-Working on the flightline for twelve hours and helping put tents up so we could get out of the Willard Inn!
-Changing Aug Fuel Pumps and leak checking them after high speed taxi. What was that pink stuff anyway?
-Doing engine changes in the hanger with only one person signed off to do it. Scary at times! We even broke a jet once on the mounts.
-I have more stories and could go on for awhile, but that will have to wait. A big shout out to all of you who were there and the memories that we all share. Go Lucky Devils!!!- Bill Hinchey
- First being notified that we were deploying in support of operations in Kuwait, thinking " great, we are going to our FOL, Deci Sardinia". Later to find out that we were going to Qatar and scrambling for the maps and atlas' trying to find out where the hell Qatar was located.
- All that damn packing.
- How excited I was for my first ride on a C-5; little did I know I would be facing the rear and not be able to look out the window!
- That long ass C-5 ride; how much I hated it after we landed!
- The plush diqs at the Gulf Hotel, thinking "this might not be too bad after all.
- Getting the news, after 3 days, that we had to leave the plush digs for places unkown.
- Working and living out of half of the trailer, along side Comm, with three other people and all of our gear (medical and personal)
- Our first true emergency, when the CE dude fell of the roof and all we had to use was a plankboard, some sandbags, no ambulance and having to transport this dude to a downtown hospital in the back of a small pick up.
- Getting kicked out of the Comm trailer and moving into our new digs, a comfortable "expando". It was actually kind of cool. But, not after living there for 6 months!
-Dr Huff being replaced by Dr Cuervo who was later replaced by Dr Williams
-The first "real" alarm red!
-SSgt Rob Boyd waking me up in the middle of the night saying "Dude, we are bombing the shit out of Baghdad!"
-Getting stuck at the laundry facility (without my mask) during the last SCUD attack! Thought it was game over then.
-Finally getting all of our supplies, about a week before the fighting ended! Go figure!!
-After 196 days, being told that I was leaving.
-That long C-5 ride home after spending a day and a half in a hanger.
-Finally touching down back at TJ! Thinking to myself, "that was an adventure"! I still think that to this day. - Ron Neal
It was just prior to the war kicking off; I and the rest of my
load-crew and a few others were down at Delta row. It had been a long
wait, aircraft were loaded and ready to go and get it done. I had
brought a small tape player and some of my favorite music with me to the
desert; I carried that thing with me to and from work, just in case we
had some down time and could hear the music.
Well, here we were in the shack at Delta row just hanging out and
waiting for the fun to begin. We were all staying occupied by reading or
talking quietly with someone else, all the while I had some Def Leppard
playing in the background. The tape cycles through to the song "Die Hard
the Hunter," starting off with faintly heard and then growing sounds of
gun fire, sirens and explosions. I did not think anything of it, having
heard it so many times, but the rest of the group heard the sounds.
Without realizing that it was the music, everyone freaked out. People
started yelling and grabbing gear, donning their gas masks and running
for the cover of the bunkers that had been placed outside for our
protection against potential air-attacks. I did not know what was going
on, I got caught up in the panic of everyone else and headed for the
door with my gear until...
As I started running for the door of the shack, I took the quick
second to turn off my tape player (I can't exactly explain why I did it
) and the moment I turned it off, everyone just stopped. I remember that
SSgt Johnson had is hand on the door handle to the shack door, just
about to open it for our speedy egress to the safety of our bunkers. It
was a good day for a nerves, laugh, I suppose. - William Grant
As a young SP on my first TDY with no end date in sight, standing guard at an ECP with a broke-down tank parked right across the road. I still have a picture of it showing the sign on the side that read (courtesy of a magnetic Security Police sign) 401st Armored Security Police. - Keith Elston