Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Locked and Loaded

Departed San Diego Naval Station December 1, 1990
USS Mt. Vernon, LSD 

Transferred ships in lieu of amphibious assault February, 1991 
USS Frederick, LST

Vehicle call sign: Helter Skelter 
Driver/asst. gunner  LCPL Jon Marsh   Gunner:  CPL Houlihan

Vehicle call sign: White Satan
Driver/asst. gunner  LCPL Winning     Gunner:  CPL Denny

Feb 24th 1991

14:27 pm   mileage 4731.3 
Sitting in my Humvee, full of ammo. Getting ready to hit the soil of Saudi Arabia, about 50? miles south of Kuwait. Magazines are loaded, all six. I expect a clusterfuck once we hit land, but to be expected. Am about to put on Guns-N-Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" and relax. Preparing for war! Gotta love it!

Something is holding us up? Same ol Same ol. The LCAC dude said we're about 1/2 hour from land. I'm ready to go. Shit I hate to wait. Especially since I gotta take a leak.~

Landed! Some port. Don't know the name. Heard on radio were kickin ass; Good news! About to set up shop. Later.




Sitting in our position 2 miles W of port, will be going 4.1 miles S, then 36 miles inland. mileage 4735.0

In a few mikes, about to head for checkpoint 2. Hope our ammo (missiles) is there. Our mission has been set. To take out the Iraq troops still left on the Kuwaiti border. Gonna go get some!

14:40   (4738.8) 
Have gone 3.8 miles and are about to continue, after a half hour stop. Don't know where we're goin, but can't wait to get there. We have much shit with us!

Stopped on road. Have gone 16.6 miles so far. Just heard AFRTS that we are way ahead of schedule. The Elite Republican Guard has pulled 80 tanks out of their positions to engage. Hopefully we are the ones who will be engaging them. We are going due West. We need to go North! Of course, we need more than 2 missiles, so we better get supplied first. I'm just anxious to get my piece of the action!!

20:27   (4773.6)
Stopping to refuel. Should be about 4 miles from our destination, unless it has changed since last night. Gettin tired! Night driving is gettin to my eyes. Oh well. Gotta stay hard and trash! Today is Kuwaits liberation day anniversary, from Britain. Just heard we may have a new mission: Hope it's good!

23:43   (4777.0)
Clusterfuck USA. We have 3, yes 3, missiles in our vehicle. Not 12 like we were told. We are supposed to go to the front lines, after they square shit away. Now we are breaking outs LAWS.~ 


Pullin out soon! We're supposed to be headed to the front lines. If not, we'll probably be POW watchers. The most decorated Regiment in the Corps doin POW watch. Hey, I guess ya gotta learn to love it. I better get my ammo, gas mask, etc, ready. Onward, ho!

04:55   (4787.5)
AMTRAK broke down about an hour ago. Have been here since. Are supposedly ready to move out. The moon has disappeared and it is pitch dark out. Have seen two light flashes forward our position. Can't tell if it is lightening or what, but it doesn't seem to be. It is also very cold and rainy out. Feels like I'm back home in Washington, tryin to ditch the cops. But now, I can shoot back!

Still here; it is light out now to where I don't need a flashlight to write. I can't believe we're still here. The damn war'll be over before we even hit the border. Shit! I don't plan on taking ammo back on ship, so some dog targets better appear!

It's now totally light out. No more rain drops. We heard of a pretty humorous motel sign in Saudi "Iraq won the toss and elected to receive." I like it. Am going to put in "Shout at the Devil" and get motivated!

Large boom probably Arty. Stepped off at 0630 (going West)

As we pass by a convoy of 20 trucks whos cargo appears to be Iraqi P.O.W.s the news from the radio tells us that Saddam told troops to immediately pull out of Kuwait. Allies will continue to attack until action is taken.   (4810.0)

10:03   (4817.0)
We've pulled off the road and are facing south, 50 m dispersion. AMTRAKS remain on road, about 175 m away. It sounds as if Iraqi tanks, trucks and troops are heading north, as if they were pulling out. Looks like it could all be over. We've defeated the Iraqi's. So says the news.

Just got word we're continuing West 11 miles North to meet up with Major Da Falco, then going 40 or so miles to Kuwaiti/Saudi/Iraqi border! Yes, it is time!! We are now just a CAT team, two .50 cals and four TOWs. And we got a corpsman!   (4817.1)

Scud missile confirmed to have killed 27 allied troops, injured 98. Also, we aren't easing off our attack. We're goin now, hopefully to earn our pay!

North on MWSS, we only went 4.7 miles W. Weather: Thunder, lightening, light rain

12:21   (4839.3)
We've stopped at the Command and are awaiting word. Saddam has publicly said he'll pull out, so we don't' know what the hell we may do. I hope Bush says Saddam has to surrender! Then we'll have to go in & get his ass!

On our way to Kuwait! May see POW & dead bodies they say. Gotta drive now.

15:00   (4870.2)
About to go into Kuwait. Finally! Have seen POW's in trucks. Hope we encounter troops.

In Kuwait! Powerlines ahead. Black smoke from east to west in a large plume-like cloud. Comm sucks. Can only reach Bartman.   (4876.9)

16:30   (4880.7) 
Heard explosions! Trying to fix comm. I think we're going towards the North. Maybe to Iraq, or to Kuwait City from the west. Just going to find some action!

Getting into formation and ready to go. Now we just wait for the word! Can see fires to the Northeast, more than likely from oil wells. Our path goes between two large sets of power lines.

A sandstorm is upon us. We can't see much. Still in the same place. Maybe we are here for the night? Boy it is nipple chilly! The storm has passed. We're moving!

Storm is blowin like crazy! Lt. hasn't come back from meeting. The entire sky is red in front of us. could be Kuwait City on fire. Earlier we saw an ambulance vehicle with dead bodies on top. I can see another vehicle from the same direction. Looks like many vehicles. 

It turned out to be a convoy of trucks and busloads of POWs. There are some more. This is quite a sight! I count about 30 fires, and the entire sky is red. I wish I had some film!

The storm is over, and the fires are more visible. Wow, this is one of the most scenic sights I've ever seen. If the radio could pick up a station we'd know what's happening. The air waves aren't clear.

21:06   (4882.6)
New mission! We have moved into a position w/ tanks! We are 7 clicks inside Kuwait. We have much firepower!! If they are haven't pulled out yet, they are gonna wish they had. I hope to catch some z's before we do any hookin & jabbin

Can't sleep! I had to rove around our vehicles from 9 - 10 pm, and it was pouring and lightening. I'm soaked. Slept one hour in the past 42 hours! Listening to the radio and standing watch for someone else. (Cpl.) Houli needs his sleep The gunner has to be alert. Shit, I could fall asleep at the wheel and all I'd do is drive off into more sand. So, now's the time to reach down, grab hold, and put those hooyahs to work!

Hear Iraq is retreating & Kuwait is free. Now we are going after them. Hope we go and don't just sit in the rear. We've come along way, and I'd like to earn my ribbons. If not, I better get some good stories for back home! Am gonna try and write a letter. Laters. 


About 1:30 or 2 AM. Got refueled & must be going to find troops tomorrow! Gonna try and sleep after this 45 hour awake-a-thon. Good night...

0330   (4882.9)
Enemy movement ahead. We're pulling out! Get some! Action, not sleep!

9 miles up, 2 T-54s. Going to engage! Uurrgghh! Combat here we come!

0550   (4889.0)
2 T-55s & 5 BMPs. I hope they don't surrender! We are set in behind AMTRAKS. It will be light out soon. God, I hope we engage them! We are now closer to the fires, and there are more than I thought, Much bigger, too.

0635   (4891.4)
AMTRAKs are checking out a building, supposedly police station. One tank we saw had already been destroyed. We are going to be going ahead as soon as the grunts are through. So close to getting it on! May encounter more in the lands ahead. Don't know where the BMPs went? If they were even there? 

It just poured down rain. Our vehicle is drenched. Fires are off to our right flank. Tired as hell. Got about one hour sleep before I got woken up. I'll be a sleepin fool on our way home!

Trax appear to be done. A few tourists just came by asked me where the border was. I sent them the opposite direction of where we're going! British I think. We're heading back I think. Shit!

0910   (4903.6)
We're back with the tanks. We went out there for a tank already wasted! No wonder I don't get any sleep. No word of our mission yet.

We've all assembled and are going to the Kuwaiti airfield. After this, it should be over! We're coming home.   (4915.6)

Just saw top of a tank. The turret was blown completely off 
*Tank was destroyed but was dug in; not blown off turret*


Have slept 2 out of 60 hours. Turns out we are set up, off the road in a mined area! Holy shit. This is crazy. We are under the cloud of black smoke, probably from the burning oil fields. It's pitch dark, and we've been driving with no lights through a damn mine field. We are in it still. I gotta take a piss, but I really don't see me stepping foot outside this vehicle.

Amazing, I drove less than three feet from a Yugoslavian mine. We may not get out of this place. I hope to hell we leave during the day. I guess we are not going to the airport. We are some sort of bullshit security. God I'm pissed! Well shit, I'm gonna eat. Even though I can't see what the hell I'm eating. Batteries are dying. Aagghh!   (4919.0) 


Slept all night! Needed it. Cease fire was sounded at 0800! I guess we're really done. Have been out searching through bunkers like madmen! Found many AK47s, RPGs, and some other shit. These guys flat out gave up. There's ammo everywhere. Even a ZSU-23-4, trailer-type. Found a general's bunker. Also found a flare gun and mega grenades. Couldn't bring 'em home though. We are about to head out, hopefully home! We are by the airport. Unless something else happens, that will conclude this episode of "war."

16:30   (4928.3)
Stopped at 4931.8, heading East. Just passed an oil refinery that had been some what destroyed. There are 5 burning oil wells in front of us. It is really messed up ecologically. Also heard the cease fire is only for 48 hours, or unless Saddam releases the POWs. If he doesn't we're going to fuck Iraq up & destroy much shit. Either way I'm happy. I'd like to fight, but being back in the States doesn't sound like a bad plan, either! Well, I'm gonna try and catch some z's, if the rain would quit. 200.5 miles of driving so far. Whew. 

March 1st 

We are headed back to the port we landed at. By tomorrow morning we should be ready to load back to the ship. We are spread out across the desert I guess were trying to uproot any mines in the way! Once again, the crazy things are ours to do! This has been LCPL Jon Marsh. Sianara!   (4940.1)

Well, well, we're still here! It's 10:10 and we're supposed to be pulling out. Something is amiss. I wish we'd go! Been here three hours. May as well write some letters.

Ran into mine field. Must go around somewhere. Oh boy. (4962.5) We are about 1/2 hour from beach, 1 hour from Saudi. I've got a Kuwaiti soldier with me. I think he's an interpreter, although he doesn't interpret me all that well. He says he gets to go see his family once we get done with this. He lives in Vajarahahl(?). Some crazy trash. I'd like to get going before we decide to sleep or ?

Well, we just saw a Cobra helo open fire on a position. We heard that an Iraqi patrol fired an RPG at 2/5. We are going on a patrol to find em. This could be it. Will follow up mission w/ report.

On patrol still. Surrounding a complex. I saw an Iraqi inside the fence through night sight. Hope we seek & destroy! 

March 2nd 

0640   (4985.6)
On our way! To the ship I hope. Patrol was crazy. We were vulnerable to all sorts of ambushese. We were lucky to not get shot. Well, we should be a the port today. Til then, or unless shit happens, urgh!

0907   (4996.2)
We are going to go through a wooded area. We have A-10s and Cobras for support. Don't know if we'll see anything. Roll em
The area is Kuwait forest. Supposedly special Iraqi forces in there. Also heard the killed that woman POW. That is fuckin shitty. Who knows what they did to her before. I hope I get to meet those sons a bitches! I'd rip their dicks off & kill em slowly! Moving...we're with Lima 3/5.

We are at the left side & must go 9 clicks towards West. Grunts are going thru here. I really hope we get some! My b-day present from the Corps!! We are waiting for something. I guess we're ahead of our grunt unit.

We need to take down our system also. One round from small arms could put it out of commission. It's worth about $300,000! So I'm letting my corpsman, Doc Gregory, drive when we get there, so I can go up in the turret w/ Houli & shoot with my M-16. Doc's only got a 9 mil.

Just heard shots! Come on Iraqis! Now a bunch of shots! We've moved up just behind the grunts, about 150 meters. Another shot. There are buildings in front. The grunts are moving up now. Gonna get ready.  12:10 

March 3rd 

0730   (5007.8)
Yesterday we went through part of this 'vegetated' area Small trees, grass, etc. There are buildings, which is why it took so long. We did get fired upon. Not at directly, but grunts did. And since we are in support of them, we 'got shot at.' We slept in a 360 degree with AMTRAKs & tanks. I observed 2 patrols & called them in. They were friendlies.

We are moving Southwest in about 10 mikes. We are supposed to get in a fire fight! More good news! Then we'll hopefully get to head back to the ship, although I don't mind hunting down stragglers. Still haven't gotten a round off. But today could be the day!~

Well, this is stupid. We drove up to this oil refinery. Then we pulled back. Now artillery is blowing the shit out of it. So are mortars & tanks. Even machine guns. We're about 1200 meters away. Now a helo is flying near it. This is the shit! Wish we were firing. 3/5 hasn't impressed me in the least. One guy from Kilo even shot his own foot. Someone said on purpose. What a pussy!! Anyway, I have a feeling they're just blowin shit up to do it & shoot off ammo. Bullshit. If I could go see action, I'd take (LCPL) Winning & we'd go fight. But...

Well it's 16:20, and we're heading south. Hope to the ship. We just saw 'em destroy that refinery, for no apparent reason.

Pullin out. We heard some shit like 5th Marines never hit the land. Well, if I don't get my combat ribbons, I'll show someone my pictures. That's BS. I'll explain later. Hard to write while moving! 


We're finally going back to the port, and then back on ship. It'll take a while to load everyone, but we should be on by tonight. Don't know how far we have to drive.

Our plan for return has changed, we think we heard PI one week, Hawaii one week. I hope so, although Australia would be nice! Well I can't see much more happening worth writing about, not that 1/2 this stuff was. I'd hoped to get some heavy action, but there's a story behind why the 5th Marines were shafted. Will tell it when there's time. Helter Skelter, out! 



We were in port for two or three days. We got to make phone calls, and drive around. We just piled in a hummer and left! Me, Wallace and Sawyers went somewhere & scored some showers. Coldest I've ever had- outside. But it felt so good. Then we went back, with Millis and Cpl. Paidle, and ate our first hot meal in about 10 days. We just scammed it. Stood in line w/ the pogues! We stuck out like sore thumbs! No weapons, mixed cammies...it was funny. One night we went lookin for a Burger King. Never found it. Don't think it existed. We drove about 50 miles.

Calling was great! Made about 3 diff. trips to the phones. We're now sitting in the lower Gator Box, inside Straits of Hormuz. We're going to pull into port, Dubi or Dubbay. Now may not. Waiting for rest of ships to pull out. Then we'll head home, hopefully go straight there. But may go to Hong Kong and PI. Nothing else to report. Just waiting for mail...

***************************************the end 

And although the ending may seem anti-climactic I hope you found my experience an interesting read.


USS FREDERICK was part of the 13 ship amphibious task force that departed on December 1, 1990 for the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield. Upon arriving in the Gulf of Oman, FREDERICK along with various amphibious ships from the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets conducted amphibious exercises in preparation for an amphibious landing, if needed, in Kuwait. Upon commencement of Operation Desert Storm, USS FREDERICK and various elements of COMPHIBGRU TWO and COMPHIBGRU THREE headed into the Persian Gulf and conducted one of the greatest mock amphibious invasions in modern warfare. That operation pinned down 15 Iraqi Divisions, thus ensuring a quick and decisive victory for the allied forces. FREDERICK was also involved in the only actual amphibious landing of the Gulf War.

USS FREDERICK also conducted Operation Sea Angel, humanitarian assistance for Bangladesh, on it's return to San Diego.