It's payback time for the Gulf War ... Kuwait is the only Middle Eastern country (minus the Gulf States) that lets us stage our military bases and equipment for the Iraq conflict. We asked Saudi Arabia, and they were like "Umm...no. Saddam Hussein may be a douchebag, but he keeps the Iranians out of our backyard. " We asked Turkey and they were like "How about you take your Kurd-loving ground-pounders elsewhere?" So we relied on old faithful, Kuwait, the tiny little country whose ass we saved in 1990.
Our flight is on a chartered 747, and that's all I'm allowed to tell you. A week or so of acclimation and training in Kuwait is required prior to our release into the "Theater of Operations", aka Iraq.
McGuire Air Force Base has some funny security measures. Dozens of soldiers were forced to relinquish their Leatherman and Gerber knives at the gate.
Grenade launchers, however, were welcomed with open arms.
The good folks of the USO were waiting for us in the airport terminal, serving hot food and handing out free pharmaceuticals. I stocked up on Dramamine. I joined the land-based Army for a reason - there's no way my stomach could handle regular Air Force flights or Navy sea voyages.