Armed Forces: Non-War Is Hell

Hordes of 52-ton tanks churned up choking waves of orange dust over California's Mojave Desert. Oil-drum devices released mushroom clouds to simulate atomic attack. In the 105° heat, smoke generators threw up acrid screens. Fighter-bombers singed the sand with the blast of their afterburners. The normally green Colorado River turned brown with machine-swirled mud, black with slicks of oil. Helicopters chattered, machine guns clattered and men swore.

All of the noise, grime and foul smells were generated by Joint Exercise Desert Strike, the biggest U.S. desert-warfare maneuver since General George Patton trained his tank forces in the same area in 1942...

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