it has been 20 years since Desert Storm, it has been 20 years since the world changed...some say for a new world order. The Soviet Union was collapsing, Germany was 1 nation again, not 2 facing across across mines and barbed wire. I was stationed in Germany when unification happened. I had spent several years patrolling the border between West Germany and the warsaw pact http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_pact.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi the dreaded secret police. Seeing such things makes you appreciate the freedoms that we have and many people take for granted. Seeing the unification happen on AFN while we were confined to barracks to prevent a possible incident from the soviets during this time. We were glad to see the wall fall and the joy of the German people was a palpable thing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant puttering on the autobahns. They were packed with East Germans coming over to the west to see how the west lived. They were amazed at the luxuries that the West Germans had and took for granted.
Saddam Hussain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein had the bad luck of invading Kuwait right after the wall fell and there was a huge American army in Europe that had no enemy to face as the Russians were starting to pull back out of Eastern Europe. Saddam had just fought the Iranians in a 8 year old war that generated millions of casualties on the scale of WWI. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War and bankrupted his country with most of the money owed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
We were watching the invasion through AFN in the barracks and heard rumors of us being sent to the Gulf. We didn't get the actual deployment orders until veterans day 1990. We drove our vehicles to a depot near Frankfurt Germany, where the equipment would get loaded on trains to get shipped out of Bremerhaven. This was billed as a reverse REFORGER http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REFORGER
We were told much later that we were feared by the Iraqi's because we had defeated their trainers,the Soviets in Europe. I don't know if that was true,.but it did make us feel better. We kept hoping that the Iraqi's would pull out of Kuwait and we wouldn't have to attack them, we are soldiers and will do our jobs, we were well trained, but we were told that there would be a lot of casualties because Saddam likes to use chemical weapons and mass wave attacks. Life is less valued over there than to a western based society, we will use technology and firepower rather than mass wave attacks. But the Iraqi's were trained by the soviets, and we wern't sure that the air-land battle concept would actually work. We had gamed it many times but there is no substitute for practical use. I am a student of history and I knew that the Iraqi's use mass attacks....that is what they used against the Iranians, so I had an older e-tool, the kind with a wooden handle. I put a sharp edge on it in case I had to hack somebody with it. Like I said, we were facing the unknown and didn't know what to expect.
After we got to our holding areas at Dammon, we waited for our equipment to arrive by ship so we could go assemble at the marshalling point. We drank a lot of water and trained hard in an NBC environment. We had to deal with the occasional SCUD alert while we were there. Christmas time there was very depressing, we got together with other units and groups of soldiers would walk around and sing Christmas carols. For some reason the slower ones were more popular, especially "Silent night"
I will post more tomorrow, I have to organize my thoughts.