The story of an Artillery Battery (Hotel 3/10) DesertShield/Desert Storm in Iraq 1991.
Looking over the horizon, Corporal Williams saw what appeared to be land. It had been days since he had seen any site of land and was excited that this day had finally arrived. He raced down below deck to ready the platoon for what was about to come. The Captain had briefed the men the night before and explained that the ship would not dock in Turkey and that all the Marines onboard would be making an amphibious landing onto shore. Williams understood the dangers of this type of maneuver and wished that there were an easier way to get onto land.
At 0500 hours Zulu time, the ship prepared for a massive deployment of Marines and their equipment. The order of business was to transport the Marines of Battalion Landing Team 2/8 onto shore by the use of the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). This would be the first use of the LCAC during a wartime situation and the Marines were a little skeptical about its dependability for this mission.
Cpl. Williams assembled his squad, Gun #8 Hotel Battery 3/10, at the staging area below deck and to the rear of the amphibious doors. Cpl. Williams started checking his squads gear and making sure that everyone understood what extra gear they were going to carry. All eight of his squad members were required to carry an All Purpose, Light Weight, Individual, Carrying Equipment (ALICE) Pack that contained all the gear needed to sustain a Marine for thirty days. Cpl. Williams knew that it was very important that his squad was ready because their final destination was Northern Iraq and this was not a training mission.
The Marines of Hotel Battery loaded onto two separate LCAC’s and made their way to shore. The LCAC is a hovercraft that rides on a cushion of air that can move over land and water. The LCAC pulled onto shore and the Marines unloaded without even getting their feet wet. Cpl. Williams was amazed with the speed and ease of the so-called amphibious landing.
“Formation”, the Platoon Sergeant yelled. The platoon hurriedly made a formation, making sure that they were all in line and aligned to the right. “Platoon Attention”, the Platoon Sergeant yelled. The Marines came to the position of attention and awaited the next command. “At Ease”, and the Marines could now come to a relaxed parade rest.
Staff Sergeant Anderson, who was the Platoon Sergeant, asked the squad leaders for a head count and one by one, they advised that all their men were present or accounted for. SSgt. Anderson explained to the platoon that this was the first stop of many on their way to Operation Desert Shield. He explained that each member of the platoon would now board a military vehicle and drive into Northern Iraq. SSgt. Anderson told the Marines to ground their gear and stand by for more details. In the Marine Corps they call this, “Hurry up and wait”. Cpl. Williams was very familiar with waiting and knew that this was very normal in the Corps. The excitement of finally getting to go to war drew silence by the fact that the Marines would have to stand by and wait.