Monday, March 21, 2011

A Rocket Can Ruin Your Day

We finally made it to Kuwait which is where I wanted us to be before posting this entry. Hopefully this will prevent any excessive worry for our friends and family.

We were fortunate to never take indirect fire or sniper fire on FOB Lagman during our time there. Perhaps it is lack of cover in the surrounding country-side or perhaps the difficulty targeting a small base with crude guidance systems, but there was never a mortar or rocket attack. I don't think anyone harbors any illusions that the lack of attack was due to better acceptance of locals in our province. The closest that the FOB came to any attack during our stay was the discovery of an IED a few hundred feet from the front gate which was disarmed without injury.

KAF, however, is a different story. The air field undergoes fairly regular attacks. Insurgents usually set the rockets for remote launch, often with a cellphone, so that they will be gone once the location is discovered. As an aside, in Iraq insurgents were known to use blocks of ice as primitive timing mechanisms, as they would melt to allow something heavy to push the launch button. Anyhow, the rockets rarely hit anything of value but occasionally the insurgents get lucky. In December at least one person was killed and another wounded in a single salvo.

Sample rocket tube wired to launching device at training range.
On the day we arrived, during one of our out-briefs, the speaker assured us that, while there had been rocket attacks in the past, they had stopped. This pronouncement pretty much doomed us. The speaker happened to be a chaplain. Not sure where he gets his information.

Predictably around noon one of the days during our stay, the air raid siren sounded and a very deliberate female voice with a oriental-accent, think robotic Geisha girl, announced "rocket attack, rocket attack" over the loud speaker. Several of us happened to be hanging in our transient-stay tent, so we grabbed our body armor and helmets, and headed to the nearest bunker. We did this because, being transients, we apparently don't know any better. Many, many passerby's simply ignored the announcement and went about their business. I guess that says something about the frequency and accuracy of these attacks. Still, we were on our way home and were not looking for any extra risk.

Bunker party. Who brought the beer?

After a few minutes the "all clear" was passed and we emerged from our bunker as newly hardened combat veterans. (Wink).


  1. Better to be safe than sorry.

    How thick are the walls of the bunker?

    I'm a curious cat and if I ask to many questions please let me know.

  2. I am wondering if all these delays in your departure (besides the attack warnings) have anything to do with all the unrest currently happening in Libya, Bahrain, and other Arab nations with revolutions going on. Are they being extra sure for your safety? We will all be happy when you get back to the USA!