Desert Storm: The Calm in the Eye of the Deployment Hurricane

You know how a room is noisy and then suddenly it gets really quiet, like all the noise dropped away all at once?  It was like that once we packed up all of our equipment and then sent it off to Saudi Arabia.  Suddenly that chaos of trying to make all the deployment parts fit together was done and we had nothing left to do except stare at each other and think about about what was coming.

The company commander tried to give us all days off — we’d come in and report for duty, and then he’d release us.  He thought everyone should have as much time with the families as possible before they marched off to war.  But the battalion nixed that, so we got half-days instead.  Still had to come in, do absolutely nothing, and then go home.

Deployment Hair for Women

My hair is really thick and heavy.  It always made it a challenge to put my hair above the collar, which was a requirement for the military uniform.  I’d buy the standard barettes from the post exchange, use them once in my hair, and they’d break under the weight.  It was always a balancing act trying to get my hair to stay up, and I usually ending up fixing it during the date when gravity finally won.

Since I wasn’t sure what the hair situation would be like once I got over there, I decided I would get it cut.  I went to one of those chain hair cut places and instructed them to “Cut the curl out.”  That made for a very short hair cut.

When I came back for formation the next day, one of the male officers was very impressed at my “High Speed Saudi Haircut.”  High Speed is Army jargon for “cool.”

Still No Date for Deployment

On a Desert Storm message board I’m on, one of the veterans said that his commanding officer came out to formation and announced the deployment date to the soldiers.  We had packed up all our trucks, all our supplies, all our personal gear, and we still didn’t know exactly when we would be deploying.

We just knew we were.

I remember calling my grandmother from the payphone on the second floor (no cell phones in those days) and telling her, “We’re going.  We’re going.”

At the time, she seemed more of a safe haven person to talk to than my parents did.

Nothing I did seemed to make any difference.