Yes, you read the headline correctly and you’ll soon know just how true it is.

In 2002 our Mechanized Infantry unit deployed to Kuwait for Operation Desert Spring. Since it was right after 9/11/2001, we had a sneaky feeling that we weren’t just going on a rotation to train with the Kuwaitis. Six months later, we went home for a couple of months and then found ourselves right back in the Middle East.

February 2003.

Celebrating my 21st birthday in Kuwait isn’t precisely how I had imagined it. I thought I would be with the boys in a college town drinking until I couldn’t walk and then being carried to some couch somewhere. Instead, we were sitting in a white tent in the middle of the desert being issued brand new war stock Bradleys and depleted uranium rounds and sweating our balls off, because you know, no AC. Did I mention we were all sick too? As soon as we had arrived, the good ol’ Doc gave us the smallpox vaccine. So that was pretty terrible.

So, on that day, in walks a CSM we didn’t know and someone had the state of mind to yell “AT EASE.” A few moments later, an older man walks in with three stars on his collars, and the same guy yells “ATTENTION?” with a confused tone.

The two men were CSM Kenneth Preston, who later became the Sergeant Major of the Army, and LTG William Wallace of 5th Corp, who later became the TRADOC commander.

LTG William Wallace was the Ground Force Commander for ALL U.S. troops.

Most of the talking was done by the CSM, who told us about how great we were and that we were the selected platoon to escort the general to Saddam International Airport. Holy shit… We had just been given our mission, and I was the lead vehicle responsible for navigation. FUCK!