Falcon's Cry: A Desert Storm Memoir

By Denise Donnelly; Michael Donnelly | Go to book overview

Crossing the Fence

15 January 1991. The deadline. We awoke to a state of heightened alertness. Airplanes were loaded up with munitions, fueled and ready to go. Pilots were busy making last-minute plans to put together packages of planes from the other squadrons.

Some of the packages had 50 or more fighters in them, and none of us were used to operating with so many aircraft at once. Needless to say, a huge amount of coordination was required on the part of the pilots, especially because some of the planes were located throughout the Saudi Arabian peninsula, including Navy jets flying off carriers in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. We called these giant packages "gorillas."

15 January came and went. The eerie silence before the storm descended on the base. Still no war. Still no change. Just the long wait.


16 January 1991

Wednesday (Warday)

Well, it is the 16th and nothing has happened in the world yet. We gather around the TV in our makeshift O Club to watch the news and find out what the word is back in the States. No flying for me and they cancelled tomorrow's sorties. Something is afoot, but I don't know what to think.

I got a letter today! Grandma Flo, and she mailed it on 29 December, so I guess the mail takes almost three weeks from the States. Other letters should show up soon.

When the war finally started, I was fast asleep in my bunk.

Early on the morning of 17 January 1991, probably 0400 or 0430 hours, the first wave of 40 aircraft took off from our base for a dawn raid on an oil production facility in Iraq. Since our camp was near the departure end of the runways, those of us still asleep in our hooches were jolted from sleep by the roar of a sequence of 40 F-16s in full afterburner.

-81-

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Falcon's Cry: A Desert Storm Memoir
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I Air Warrior 1
  • Needle, Ball and Air Speed 3
  • Part II The Widening Gyre 13
  • The Apple Wars 15
  • Wild Blue Yonder 23
  • Velocity and Vector 39
  • Part III Victory Takes Wings 53
  • Lines in the Sand 55
  • Peaceday, Warday 67
  • Crossing the Fence 81
  • Crud 101
  • How Do You Spell Victory? 111
  • Part IV The Wings of Icarus 123
  • No Joy 127
  • Solo 137
  • Bogeys 147
  • Near Miss 156
  • Lost Wingman 170
  • Homecoming 184
  • A Full 360 204
  • Bandits, Twelve O'Clock 220
  • Part V Fallen Angels 231
  • Nordo 235
  • Epilogue 243
  • A Fighter Pilot's Glossary of Terms 245
  • Congressional Report-- House of Representatives 249
  • About the Authors 253
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