By Nathan Mihelich
Seabee 'Camp 93' is in the Kuwaiti desert. It's named after the American Airlines' plane that went down on September 11th. Bunkers outline the perimeter of the camp. At the beginning of the war, Seabees found themselves rushing to the bunkers as many as five times a day.
Most of the bunkers are made of concrete and buried several feet in the sand. Anytime a projectile is seen close to the area, the Seabees take cover in the bunkers. Seabees will wait in the bunkers until the threat of attack is gone and there is confirmation that chemical agents are not in the air.
During possible attacks Seabees will put on their MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) suits. The suits shield the Seabees from any toxic substances. Waiting in the concrete bunkers isn't so bad because the sun isn't beating down on you. There's another bunker on the other side of camp which provides protection from artillery, but not from the hot rays of the desert sun.
On one occasion, we could hear the anti-aircraft batteries go off and we all ran to the bunkers. The heat was unbearable as we waited in the outside bunker. I could see the sweat running down the faces of the Seabees. You can't take the mask off, because you don't know what chemical agents are in the air. After a while, it becomes hard to breathe. I even saw one Seabee pass out.
The best thing to do is drink water. Each gas mask has a little hose you can connect to your canteen to suck water through.
I was shocked one morning, when a lieutenant told me that a SCUD landed a click and a half from our camp - that's less than a mile. Certainly a close call.