Student, soldier writes from base in Kuwait

Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces, patrol the top of wing headquarters on March 26 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

March 14

My name is Specialist Kevin Johnson and I am with the 478th Engineer Battalion with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force attached to Central Command. About one month ago I was sitting [in] class everyday at NKU, just like most of you. Then my reserve unit was called up. What we specialize in is infantry tasks mixed with high explosives and land mines (hell yeah!!!). Well, just a little background for you.

My whole purpose in writing this letter is so that everyone can understand this war better by knowing firsthand experience and the things you don’t hear about on the news.

My first experience when getting off the plane was just the shock of being in Kuwait. I was helped by the fact that there was military everywhere and all the fighting positions. The next thing that I thought was weird was the fact that when we traveled to my camp (Camp Fox, -20 miles from Iraq), we did it on civilian buses and they had the curtains in the windows because they didn’t want other Kuwaitis to know who they had on the bus.

When I got to camp I was surprised that the Kuwaiti workers do most of the work. They put up the tents, cook food, clean bathrooms, etc. I thought this was odd so I asked and it was explained to me that since we saved their ass in ’91 that their king said that each soldier would be paid $1 million for coming to Kuwait, but Bush I said we couldn’t do that because we would be mercenaries. Instead, now the Kuwaiti king says he will take care of us when we are in his country, hence the reason they do everything.

As far as things that have gone on here-I got here five days ago and we have had a Scud missile warning,, and several unexploded ordnance have been sited, some by patrols I have been in; mostly 22 mm shells, cluster bombs and one grenade.

All of these are left over from the first Gulf War. Also, on my second day here some Marines that just [started] out with us Army guys on guard duty took sniper fire from across the AO (area of operations).

Politically, now, let me tell you something. Is anyone tired that Bush keeps extending and extending?

Well let me tell you the real reason is that everything is not in order like we would like it and everyone is not here yet. For example, Camp Fox is two weeks old and it has grown immensely (I won’t talk numbers) and more are coming. Also we just found out our mission the other day.

On a lighter side, you guys are missing out on the awesome, celestial show out here.

think I counted 20 shooting stars last night.

I have also seen 15-some camels a day; but it’s old man.

Well, I think that’s all for now. You probably won’t get these until three weeks after I write them. But hey, I am trying to give you guys an understanding.