Our home from 15 February until 19 March was a tent camp by the name of Camp Ryan, about 30 miles from the Iraqi border. On our arrival, there were already set up 100 GP tents for living quarters. They were without any flooring material, and as we had no cots, we slept on the ground in our tents. Not too bad really. We put about 16 to a tent, and had around 1600 Marines living in our camp. The perimeter was defined by a 10 ft tall earthen berm pushed up by bulldozers. The perimeter was rectangular, about 1000 x 800 meters I would guess. It was plenty big and had room for administrative tents, our CP, mess tents, shower trailers, and motor pool. We also had porta-johns. During February, the weather got plenty cold at night, into the 30s, and usually into the 70s during the day. Pretty nice when the wind wasn't blowing. The wind did blow a lot though, creating hellish sandstorms. I would guess it was nearly as bad as being in a bead blaster (grin).
It seemed we prepared to cross the line many times before actually doing it. We were really leaning forward. Eventually, a couple weeks before the invasion, we started get SCUD alerts on a regular basis, like daily. None of them landed near our position, but it did cause us to don our protective gear and sent nonessential people into the scud-bunkers.
During this time I received "care packages" from several campfire members, for all of us to share. TLEE, 7400Hunter, JimB, and Ken Howell all sent us health, morale, and comfort items that we were really glad to get. Thanks guys.
Life was pretty busy, planning, targeting, training, and not really knowing when we were going to go. One dumba$$ deliberately shot himself in the forearm with his M16 in a vain attempt to be sent home...he is still with us on the Kearsarge, and I believe will be processed out of the Corps with an OTH (other than honorable) discharge.
Finally, we got the word to move up to our attack positions right on the border. We moved up on the 19th of March. The Army was up there too and fired a good amount of MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) artillery into targets around Nasiriyah that night. We did see a patriot intercept a scud over our position that evening. It was a pretty good show. We were all mobile loaded, and sleeping on the deck beside our vehicles that night. It was the last decent sleep we would get for a few weeks. We moved out the next day around noon...
(Continue to PART IV)
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