When SCUDS Become Old News

  • Share
  • Read Later
When you've been camped in the Kuwait desert for weeks, even dodging incoming SCUD missiles can become routine. Late Thursday morning air raid sirens blasted the 101st Airborne's Camp Pennsylvania. Seconds later every soldier in camp was wearing a chemical protective mask and scurrying to one of the concrete bunkers scattered around the camp. There they rested, many of them panting after the exertion of a full out sprint in chemical gear, until the all clear siren sounded some fifteen minutes later.

When the second SCUD alert of the day came a little later in the morning, soldiers still put on their protective masks, but that seemed the only concession they were willing to make to the impending threat. Troops still headed for the bunker, but most now strolled rather then sprinted. Some did not even do that. Soldiers who waited in long lines to use phones to call home were loathe to head for bunkers and lose their position. Other soldiers, who had waited upwards of an hour to get into the post exchange appeared upset that the clerks at the register abandoned their posts just when they were at the front of the line.

The last SCUD alert of the day came while hundreds of soldiers were eating in the mess tent. About half of the soldiers left on their own, but the rest had to be ushered away from their chicken dinners by the non-commissioned officers. Eventually, most of the soldier left for the nearest bunker, except for one who resisted all entreaties to leave and continued to eat his meal. "Dinner is the one meal of the day that should be eaten in a dignified way," he said, "And I refuse to be rushed."