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Tracings in The Sand: First hand testimonials

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Tracings in the Sand

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John Caldwell

Date Posted:September 09, 2001
Personal Website:Not Disclosed

Man,I really miss my friends. We deployed to the Gulf sep.90 out of FtEustis where most of us were part of the 1098th Transportation Unit(MB),MB stands for "mike boat".Yes,the Army has boats.The first few months are a blur,training,PMCSing equipment,etc..We then were pressed into service helping the civilians to move ammo barges during the buildup.Our next assignment was to provide scurity in the Port Of Dammam.It was during this phase that we first encountered the SCUD...not to mention the PBC pills(nobody seemed to really know how many to take or where they had come from)and the 3 mystery shots.Sorry if my timeline is out of memory is nowhere what it used to be.Oh yeah,I forgot to mention the fact that in the Gulf,we became the 703rd boat unit.It was a composite unit made up of different boat units.

I could go on and on about the weird and unusuall things that happened 4 or 5 miles out in the water around the port.Not too long after the air war started,our CO called us together to tell us we were going to be part of the Amphib. assault and that some of us may not come back...we were then dissmissed to get a good nights sleep.During the night,the SCUDs came in(I swear,after awhile I began calling my gas mask Frank,but, thats another story)we srambled the mike boats out of port,.50Cal.ammo on deck and everything right as rain.My boat took up its patrol position as usual,3 miles out and we waited to see what was next.We had been told to radio in anything out of the ordinary,DUHH,so we radioed in about this small white light out in the water that hadnt been there previously.I went down into the lazarette,thats where the fuel tanks are as well as our livingspace,got out the charts for the coxswin,and found out there was no light buoys in that area.The call was made to for us to investigate.We got 7 miles out when we all realized it was moving out at about our same speed.

The coxswain,SGT.S, brought us to a stop.The next 60 seconds are a little blurry, so ,bear with me.A red flare came up off the surface of the water,the radio announced a SCUD attack,and what looked like a tennisball on fire came up off the water and came directly at the boat,passing over our deck by about 10ft. .

It was the same night that ALL of the M-8s went off after I dont know how many SCUDS came in.

Anyhow,7 months later I came home.About one year later,I started to notice goofy things,couldnt remember stuff,knees really starting to hurt,bad dreams,always running to the bathroom.All this stuff really kicked into high gear after I came back from Somalia.

Ive completed the CCEP,no real help there.I dont know whats worse,being afraid to walk outside my house or all the b.s. I get from the Dr.s and the other soldiers who seem to look at me as waste of space.Im still active duty,barely,mostly due to the love and support of my wife and kids.I have so much I want to say,so many questions....what is wrong with all of us??Why are we being ignored and told thats its all in our heads? At times I feel guilty because I feel sick all the time do you fight that.

John Caldwell DESERT STORM SEP.90-AUG.91

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