An artillery unit with the Second Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division is moving north with a new recruit -- a raw-boned hound dog named Dick who sports an Airborne patch, a camouflage desert scarf, a name tag and the rank of command private first class.
The saluki, a cousin of the greyhound, was adopted three months ago by Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment and has been given marching orders signed by the regimental commander and a place on the Air Force manifest for the flight to the Kuwaiti border.
"He's been living with us for so long he's one of us. He's a desert survivor, just like us," said Sgt. 1st Class Philip Lemon, 33, of Denver, Colo., who found Dick. "Everybody calls him, knows him, feeds him. He lends an air of normalcy to the place."
Dick travels light. He has a rubber ball and a feed dish for leftover Spam and other meals. "His favorite is chicken a la king. It works out for both of us. He gets plenty to eat. We get rid of the stuff we don't want," Lemon said.
Getting Ready for Gas
U.S. troops are preparing -- physically and psychologically -- for the possibility that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will use poison gas in a ground war with the more than 5,000 tanks and artillery pieces he has deployed in Kuwait.
"Everyone here can probably handle clean, quick death," said Marine Maj. Jack Carter. "But there is something horribly dirty and alien to human nature about poison gas. It sends a shiver up my spine just thinking about the effects of mustard gas, which lingers on and on for years maybe, and then kills you."
While none of the Scud missiles Iraq has launched carried chemical warheads as Saddam threatened, experts say the technology of firing poison gas on artillery shells is simpler.
Troops will wear special suits and masks to guard against the effects of chemical warfare, but are concerned they will be difficult to fight in. Still, Marines are coming to terms with the possibility.
"The more you know about a nightmare, the less you worry about it," said Sgt. William L. Toland, of Abilene, Tex.Signs of the Wartimes
Posters and signs are popping up everywhere that U.S. troops do in Saudi Arabia. One at brigade headquarters has the 82nd Airborne logo and the writing "Think War."
A paratrooper on kitchen patrol wrote on his mess cap, "Baghdad or Bust." And the driver of a five-ton truck going north toward the Kuwaiti border painted on his vehicle a picture of the scythe-carrying Grim Reaper.Sympathy for Captive Airmen
Soldiers in Saudi Arabia watched with great sympathy television reports of U.S. pilots captured by Iraq and heard the speeches they were apparently forced to make.
Air Force Col. Hal Hornburg of Dallas, a decorated Vietnam veteran, said: "I would say that every American flying an aircraft over here . . . under extreme duress, may say things they certainly don't mean. And I can tell you this: If I saw somebody on television . . . as far as I'm concerned that's not a problem, because I know where their hearts are."The Limits of Technology
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Cullinan, of the Nicholas, confessed to being somewhat in awe of the sheer difficulty of fighting a war: "You think America is 'technology,' and is so much better than anybody else. Then you come up against Iraq and it takes a half-year to get ready to do anything. And then the war starts. Even I thought after a night or two of bombing it might be done."
This report was compiled by Washington Post Staff Writer Stephen C. Fehr in Saudi Arabia from military pool reports.
"Sleep Well the USA will help you."
"This is for the mothers of the babies that were never born in Kowait (sic) thanks to Hussein."
"Saddam, here is a long distance dedication from Chuck and Tony, back in the good old USA."