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Arabian Knights (ADA in Desert Storm) 1LT Barry Ezell

My first mission was to provide air defense for ships 6 & 7. I chose the 4th section to accompany the ships. Many were concerned that Iraq might try a surprise air attack on the ships as they entered the Saudi Arabian port. We were ready.

My platoon’s mission changed from the brigade's with the onset of the general defense plan. Our new missions was to provide air defense for the 24th Division artillery; 1-41, 3-41, 4-41 and A/13 Field Artillery (FA) (multiple launch rocket systems [MLRS]).

During combat operations Stinger teams moved with artillery inside battery diamond formation. This was a very dangerous environment for wheeled vehicles, and great care in training and command and control was paramount. As the artillery stopped to shoot the teams would dismount and provide air defense. Movement at night was very difficult. Every team had night vision goggles, and our incessant training paid off.

From the Saudi/Iraqi border to our final position 10 kilometers west of Basra, we provided dedicated air defence for the artillery. Not one soldier was injured, nor did on vehicle break down. Our maintenance and training paid big dividends. There were many opportunities to round up and in some cases capture Iraqi soldiers. In total we captured 26 enemy prisoners of war and destroyed enemy antiaircraft guns, grenade launchers, mortars and small arms. Spec. Matthew Price and PFC Troy Headlee saved the life of an enemy prisoner who received a head and abdomen wound. Again at least having one combat lifesaver per team paid big dividends.

After the cease fire, we moved back to the Saudi/Iraqi border and linked back up with headquarters and Headquarters Company, 197th Infantry Brigade. My experience with the division artillery and 1-5 ADA have taught me many valuable lessons. I would not have wanted any other mission or platoon than the one I had during the deployment.


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