"SCUD alarm, SCUD alarm, SCUD alarm!" I yelled into the microphone. "Don masks and gloves and take cover!"
As an Air Force Officer who served in Operation Desert Storm I was responsible for the operation of a command and control center that warned 6,000 people of incoming SCUD missiles randomly launched from Saddam Hussein's Iraq. During this particular alarm, we were warned that we were in the "cone." "Cones" were a 100 mile guess of where the deadly Al Hussein missile might hit.
It was February 25th, 8 days into the war. It wasn't my first SCUD alarm. Many were launched at or near my base. It is one, however, I will remember. As I continued to yell those words into the microphone, I knew there was only 2 minutes before impact. People ran like roaches seeking bomb shelters. And we waited. And we waited. Seconds seemed like hours. As the time approached, I looked at the countdown clock. I held my breath.
Impact. But it wasn't us. It landed 55 miles west of us. The intelligence report told us it was in Dahran, Saudi Arabia. That day 28 of my fellow soldiers lost their lives to a random missile. Those are 28 lives who ceased to see their spouses, kids, parents, and family.
Memorial Day is a remembrance of our fallen soldiers. I want to recognize those 28. May you be with God.