I can't say enough about the two Marine divisions. If I use words like brilliant, it would be an under-description of this absolutely superb job they did in breaching the so-called impenetrable barrier...It was a classic, absolutely classic military breaching of a very, very tough minefield, barbed wire, fire trench-type barrier. They went through the first barrier like it was water. Then they brought both divisions steaming through that breach. Absolutely superb operation -- a textbook, and I think it will be studied for many, many years to come as the way to do it."
--Gen. H. Norman Schwartzkopf

D minus one day. Location: Saudi Arabian Desert.

I stared at a burm in the distance. We heard a few stories of Iraq soldiers attempting to penetrate our defenses or surrender to us last night. Nobody that heard the story really knew which. It didn't matter. I prepared to eat my evening chow (MRE) knowing that in less than 8 hours, my life was about to go on the line. I did not know what would become of me. We would have rehearsals as soon as the sun would go down. I resigned to the fact that we would get no more sleep. I could barely eat two bites out of my spaghetti and meatballs. Sometimes, I couldn't even swallow water. My nerves were shot! As the sun set, I watched as a calming peace came over me. I felt as if I am doing the right thing by serving my country.

My family is definitely proud of me. The sun set and the rehearsals began. We practiced how we would line up, how we would penetrate the two burms and the mine field, what to do if something goes wrong. We drilled over and over who would be to our left flank, and that we would be the extreme right flank. We were to allow nobody to pass. It was imperitive to destroy everything to our right or we would compromise the entire 2nd Marine Division. We were the true spearhead of the attack. We had a unit of reservists in support with M1A1 Tanks ("Great!" I thought). Then after rehearsals, we were told to get some sleep; we had a big day ahead of us in the morning. I think I managed about 20 minutes of sleep. I could hear the outgoing barrage of missiles, artillery, and air support peppering the battlefield.

Preparing for our invasion of the liberation of Kuwait. I woke up and assembled with a few other friends. One was the "former Chief of Police of Kuwait City. That night, I heard a story of horror of when Iraq came in and tortured his family. We hoped that he may be reunited with them in the next few months after our invasion was complete. Before I knew it, we were assembled into our traveling sticks and began our journey. I never heard about that Kuwaiti Citizen since that day.

D Day

I remember looking left and seeing missiles disappearing up into the dark early morning sky and hearing them impact very close. The burm drew close. Within 100 yards we stopped. Tracers flew into our direction for about ten seconds. I actually saw a bull dozer go right up to where the rounds were coming from and mow through it. Within seconds, we were moving to that location. As we came through I could see three lanes being opened up by way of some tank with a missile launching explosive that cleared a path in the mine field. We got behind an Amtrak and started going. First, I saw a huge display of fireworks coming from the track in front of me and the track flew off. The sparks seemed to fly 500 feet into the air. We were told to go around into the mine field and not stack up. I was the first HMMWV behind the Am tracks. I saw another Amtrak dragging an anti-tank mine behind it right in front of me.

They stopped! I was to go around it while the Combat Engineers defused and destroyed it. Again, into the "unbreached" mine field. Then we were ambushed halfway through. The mine clearing "tank" was compromised! I witnessed a Staff Sergeant Combat Engineer (under small arms fire) clear the rest of the mine field by hand. (He was later awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat V for his actions that day). Then we got to the other burm and mowed through it with the fury unmatched even by Satan himself! Once we cleared the obstacle, we had to wait for artillery to catch up with us and set up again. By now, it was 9am and it was so dark, you couldn't see your hand an inch in front of your face. We paused there.

As we moved on, we took off our NBC gear. The prisoners started coming through. Evening started to catch up to us and we were waiting for the MP's to arrive so we could advance without having to take care of prisoners. By this point, we had over 3000 Iraq soldiers. We dug in and that night were counter-attacked by artillery and tanks. That night was long, loud and fierce. Explosions were everywhere, and sand was kicking into my face. I thought that the hole I dug was going to become my grave. One artillery round ripped into a friend of mine and his flack jacket somehow stopped the penetration. It saved his life. Broke a few of his ribs and it knocked him into me. Had he not been standing there, I was a dead man. He later received the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat for that.

Day broke. D plus 1.

We moved towards Kuwait City. We saw the aftermath of last night's counter-attack. Dead Iraq soldiers were everywhere. Those "Reservists" I talked about...saved my entire unit's ass. They had the most confirmed kills over any combat unit in operation. In my mind, Reservists are just as good as any Active Duty Marine. I would swear my life on it. A few hours later we were ambushed by two T-72s (Soviet made tanks). This happened as my squad already disembarked into a trench to clear it.

The trench had an enclosed bunker on each end of it that we were supposed to clear. To make things worse, the Amtrak was no match for the tanks and had to pull away while attempting to return fire. We were all alone. At the same time, a sniper in a tower by the airport was trying to take pop shots at us while we were clearing booby traps in the trench. One tank was destroyed by one of our CAT teams with a TOW on it. The other was taken out by my Squad Leader. He ran out to it, got on top of it and tossed a hand grenade into its "turret". He was put in for a Silver Star but actually got a Bronze Star w/ a Combat V. Still trapped by the sniper we were clearing the bunkers. I snagged a confirmed kill in the process as an enemy lay in wait as I entered. It happened so fast I can barely remember the details. Bottom line is that my training worked.

First thing I am thinking is that this is going to be a tragedy. I am about to become a statistic of "Friendly Fire".

I remember coming out of that bunker and running back to the rest of my fire team and a round impacting maybe a foot from my head. "That damned Sniper", I thought. Then, from out of no where, an F-18 Hornet came out of the sky and pulled straight up into the heavens and the tower disappeared in a flash (literally). The jet came back down and opened up it's 40mm cannons at something that was trying to shoot it down as he was popping flares out of it's belly. It banked to the left and circled around towards us as if it was about to make us it's next target. First thing I am thinking is that this is going to be a tragedy. I am about to become a statistic of "Friendly Fire". As it swooped down to not more than 200 feet coming straight at us, the Angel in the Sky turned his F-18 Hornet upside down and saluted us as he passed over us. I guess he was saying, "All is well. It is safe to pass. You're on my watch now!"

Since that day, being a grunt (the "Backbone" of the Corps) my life had changed. I no longer called other Marines that were not in the Infantry "POGs". It takes everyone functioning as one well oiled machine to make a victory in combat. It isn't just the grunt on the ground. It was that Combat Engineer, that Pilot, those guys in the rear to keep the equipment working. Everything together will work--in harmony--A concert if I may. And every time I find myself in a bar, if I run into an Combat Engineer, or a Pilot, the next drink will be on me, as a token to My Angel in the Sky!

Semper Fi!