The first part is stolen from a brother whose command of the details exceeds mine:
This is the story of the first time my brothers and I invaded a country. (Other incursions were more of an accident and much less violent.)30 years ago, at 0500 hours MST on February 24, 1991 we attacked.
Our orders were to attack 370 kilometers deep into Iraq to block the Euphrates River Valley. Our objective was to close the escape route for 500,000 enemy soldiers in Kuwait, with our central purpose to smash into the enemy rear and destroy their will to fight. The shock action and violence of our unit, they said, would save thousands of American lives from the bloody work of fighting through the fire trenches of Kuwait.
Funny enough we were already in Iraq providing local security for an artillery unit which was supporting the division crossing into Iraq. We had been relieved and were headed back to our unit when we got the word the attack had been moved up to use the cover of a massive sandstorm. Our Commander told our Platoon Leader to meet up at the Line of Departure (a huge berm where dozers cleared an opening). We got there first and got to watch an entire US Mechanized Infantry Brigade storm into Iraq.
This was a massive unit armed with 4-5 thousand soldiers and hundreds of tanks, APCs and other vehicles. It was built to defeat the massive Soviet forces in Europe. 2nd Brigade would lead for awhile then fork off to our East and attack Jabala Airfield. We would then smash Highway 8 (known as the Highway of Death) and seize a blocking position between the highway and the Euphrates called Battle Position 102 North.
Our unit was leading 1st Brigade. We were on the northwest side of a wedge protecting our battalion and brigade. These two brigades would be joined by a third as well as more artillery and attack helicopters to form the 24th Infantry Division almost 25,000 strong. This was one of 10 Army divisions which joined by Marines and other coalition forces (most numerous were the British, French and Saudis) were all in motion attacking along a 300 mile front.
It was called the Greatest Cavalry Charge in History. It was a wild ride. We moved more firepower, further than any Army in history before or since. (OIF invasion was longer and exceed ours for area but a smaller force and slower). I was a 20 year old gunner on a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. I had a front row seat to what I thought was the biggest event of my life. Later I learned to think of it as a dramatic start.
I think I went then next 48 hours without sleeping. They relieved me for a bit and I went in the back. I closed my eyes for 5 minutes but I couldn’t sleep. I hung out for an hour then switched back into the gunners seat. I stayed there only resting when we finally stopped and setup at Highway 8. Steven Swiatek stayed in his drivers seat the whole time. Chris West only stopped at the objective. I remember Mike Spear and Scott Saxton sitting up in and on the turret keeping watch through the night once we stopped. Action (SSG) Jackson was outside the vehicle somewhere.
For the first couple days that little crew was my world. The rest of the platoon were kinda background players we only saw briefly at stops to refuel. Our CO was a disconnected voice on a radio. There was just the 6 of us together is an ocean of an Army in the middle of a shooting war.
We wouldn’t see our first enemy contact until sometime on the 25th and didn’t hit BP #102 until 1400 hours on the 26th. There was a lot that happened in those four days. I’ll write more later.