It was almost four months away from home and war pressing down on us. The cracks were widening. Several of the married men approached me about letting them kiss me. I could see how lonely they were, and I certainly knew the feeling. At least they were getting mail. But they were also married, so it was just going to be plain wrong, and I wasn’t going to be a part of that.
One of female soldiers also got pregnant. One of the things that amazed me about the pregnancy of women soldiers was how much in denial the Army and the male soldiers were. Everyone blames the women, as if there wasn’t anyone else involved. The Army recruits men and women who are 18, 19, 20 years old, and that’s by intent. At that age, they don’t have enough knowledge to question orders and can be just directed to follow them. But that’s also the age when a lot of people make families. Plus, some of the soldiers of both genders are still immature. The result is that the Army looks the other way when the men have sex as long as they don’t get into trouble, then blame the women when the results of the men having sex is pregnancy. The men also blame the women because now the women are perceived as not pulling their own weight and getting out of duty because their pregnant. It’s a complete disconnect, and our company’s isolation was contributing to it.
We were so isolated that most of our news either came back with the convoys or from the radio. One of the soldiers heard that another soldier had discovered a bullet lodged in his helmet though he didn’t remember being hit. But we knew when the ground war was about to start. Members of 82nd Airborne stopped by our mess hall a day or so before and ate with us and told us about it.
If it was scary watching the sorties head into Iraq, the ground war that started on February 24, 1990, was even scarier. I couldn’t see where the planes went or what they did. It was always somewhere that way.
It was different with the ground war.
I could hear it. The artillery went off non-stop for two days. I sat out in the cargo container and watched the horizon. I couldn’t see any smoke, but the sounds were quite frightening. Worse was when they stopped because it went back to that unknown. What was happening?
The ground assault last all of one hundred hours. The Iraqis were woefully unprepared and started surrendering pretty quickly. Shocking, the war was suddenly over. It was February 28.