Flying to Kuwait for War

August 20, 2017

We were finally told where we were deploying to; Kuwait. This was the army in 2003, and I was deploying as part of Delta 552 Air Defense Artillery. Up until this point, it was a closely guarded secret where we were going. My dad speculated that it would be Turkey.

The Flight

I was expecting a huge uncomfortable military plane and was surprised to discover that we were going to fly on a commercial airline. Entire rows of seats were partitioned off so that the flight attendants could sleep mid-flight. My battle buddy and I sat in the far back right of the plane. I was happy to have the window seat. We all stuffed our military gear in the overhead bins but I kept my CD player and a large pack of music with me. We travelled in our desert uniforms along with our weapons. I could never understand why but we were required stow our weapons on the floor in front of our seats, facing the exterior of the plane. Our leaders pressed that the weapons MUST be facing outwards. Maybe it makes the flight attendants feel a bit safer I thought.

Me in Kuwait with desert gear and weapon
Me in Kuwait with my gas mask and M249.

Somewhere over the Atlantic the pilots and flight attendants announced over the speaker system how proud of us they were and then they sang us the national anthem. It was very sweet. Many years later I found out from a news reporter (video below) that the flight crew that flew us into Kuwait was on a volunteer basis.

Dark Star Landing

We made a short stop in Amsterdam to refuel. We were all excited to get a break and stretch our legs. When I walked off the plane and into the airport we were roped off and not allowed to leave the small area we were given.  There were several armed guards posted, I’m not sure if it was for our protection or to keep us from leaving. Our short break was over and before I knew it, we were back in the sky. As the sun began to set I got tired and fell asleep. I finally awoke to a pilot’s announcement.

“We’ll be making a Dark Star landing. We will be turning off all lights in the cabin and we request that everyone closes their windows.”

They didn’t explain why. I later found out from this news report that it was to make the plane a less vulnerable target. Although it was uneventful, that flight was unforgettable.

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By Amber Alexander

Through my own adventures, I strive to provide insight into experiences that will enrich your life. Traveling is my passion and I want to share that with you. Along with recommendations for adventures, I will also review books and supplies that are related to those adventures. I want you to push your own boundaries of what you thought you could do. Let me be your guide and compass to rediscovering how fun life can be!

8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Cherene Saradar

    Very interesting how you flew there. So sad about your CDs!

  2. Reply

    tashyie

    Wow thats such an interesting read. That slightly odd about having to have your gun facing outwards though!

  3. Reply

    Marcelle Simone Heller

    What an experience! Luckily you could fly comfortably.

  4. Reply

    Emma Whiting

    Such an interesting post! Always intrigued to read others’ first-hand experiences about types of travel that I might never experience myself.

  5. Reply

    Jonie

    Wow this is a real adventure! Please always stay safe.

  6. Reply

    Toni

    What a great read! I really enjoyed seeing the perspective here. It’s not something I have ever encountered, although i do have military in my family. Great post!

  7. Reply

    adventureswithnienie

    So sad about your CDs. Thank you for serving! I am a military brat and appreciate this post so much.

  8. Reply

    Victoria

    Hey Amber,
    Can’t wait to read more about your time in Kuwait as you read more about my time. lol it’s like the same place in completely parallel universes. I used to work for airline so if I had to guess about the guns I would say they would rather something else get shot on accident rather than the soldiers. Sorry to hear about the CD collection. I know how intense those used to be. Haha

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