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Messenger
01-26-08, 07:40 AM
The Smoke

Every January through March I am forced to recall my adventures while serving in the 1991 Gulfwar. Today many memories are fading, faces are becoming fuzzy and names escape me but I still remember certain events like they happened yesterday with a hauntingly vivid clarity.

I choose not to dwell on events that haunt me as they only worsen my symptoms of PTSD but one event I allow myself to focus on is memories of the smoke of over 700 oil well fires as we crossed into Iraqi occupied Kuwait.

Most of the landscape was draped in a dingy gray darkness. Without the direct light of the sun, nothing had color, it was like the world had become a black and white movie imitating a dream and sometimes a nightmare.

The oily ash was everywhere and it got into everything. It only took a few hours and our uniforms were damp with oil and turned from a sandy brown camouflage to a dark gray or light colored black, then eventually becoming completely black. The ash fell into our food, water and we were of course breathing it.

Sometimes the smoke and ash was so thick that at noon I could look strait up and have no clue as to the location of the sun. After weeks of being draped in darkness the normally intolerably hot desert environment became cold because the ground had not been warmed by the sun. It was especially fidget standing in the turret of a Hummer as we trudged deeper into Kuwait.

At one point I found myself in the middle of an oilfield and dozens of burning oil wells. It was dark but lit by the blaze of the many fires. Unlike just minutes before entering this area, I was able to see hundreds of meters across the oil field and it was comfortably warm which was a thankful change from the fidget cold I had experience just moments earlier.

Of all my memories this is the one I choose to remember. The artistic beauty of the flames and the complete blanket of darkness caused by the smoke and ash just a few feet above our heads was nothing short of ominous to me. This experience was fleeting as it didnít take long for us to feel very uncomfortable in that environment. It didnít take a genius to realize that if we could see that far in that area so could the enemy, so we moved on.

SgtHopperUSMC
01-26-08, 10:23 PM
The Smoke

Every January through March I am forced to recall my adventures while serving in the 1991 Gulfwar. Today many memories are fading, faces are becoming fuzzy and names escape me but I still remember certain events like they happened yesterday with a hauntingly vivid clarity.

I choose not to dwell on events that haunt me as they only worsen my symptoms of PTSD but one event I allow myself to focus on is memories of the smoke of over 700 oil well fires as we crossed into Iraqi occupied Kuwait.

Most of the landscape was draped in a dingy gray darkness. Without the direct light of the sun, nothing had color, it was like the world had become a black and white movie imitating a dream and sometimes a nightmare.

The oily ash was everywhere and it got into everything. It only took a few hours and our uniforms were damp with oil and turned from a sandy brown camouflage to a dark gray or light colored black, then eventually becoming completely black. The ash fell into our food, water and we were of course breathing it.

Sometimes the smoke and ash was so thick that at noon I could look strait up and have no clue as to the location of the sun. After weeks of being draped in darkness the normally intolerably hot desert environment became cold because the ground had not been warmed by the sun. It was especially fidget standing in the turret of a Hummer as we trudged deeper into Kuwait.

At one point I found myself in the middle of an oilfield and dozens of burning oil wells. It was dark but lit by the blaze of the many fires. Unlike just minutes before entering this area, I was able to see hundreds of meters across the oil field and it was comfortably warm which was a thankful change from the fidget cold I had experience just moments earlier.

Of all my memories this is the one I choose to remember. The artistic beauty of the flames and the complete blanket of darkness caused by the smoke and ash just a few feet above our heads was nothing short of ominous to me. This experience was fleeting as it didnít take long for us to feel very uncomfortable in that environment. It didnít take a genius to realize that if we could see that far in that area so could the enemy, so we moved on.
Amen brother well said. Spent 30 days straight in the darkness.

Big Jim
01-26-08, 10:29 PM
Yeah...I remember that...still got the cough from it and nosebleeds once in a while...I'd like to be able to NOT remember it. ...and it screwed up the way I tasted food for a long time...thats what I hated most about it.