Vets On The Net

Episode 1: Shield to Storm

February 05, 2021 Flint Hills Veterans Coalition Season 1 Episode 1
Vets On The Net
Episode 1: Shield to Storm
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Chuck Sexton, Jay Borja, Tony Nichols and Melody Sexton take us back to 1990-1991 and recount their experiences during Operation Desert Shield. 

Join us at the table for a casual conversation with Veterans from all branches sharing stories, experience and laughs. Refreshingly apolitical.

This podcast is a product of the Flint Hills Veterans Coalition.  Visit our website, flinthillsveterans.org, for materials referenced in the podcast.  Thanks for listening!

Melody Sexton:

Welcome to Vets On The Net. This is a podcast that's a product at the Flint Hills Veterans Coalition. And we're gathered around the table today, in America's Heartland, just to tell some stories of military experiences and share a laugh. And really, this is just an oral history with a difference. And I think when you're done listening, you'll hear what the difference is. So pull up a chair, join us for episode one. Shield to Storm.

Chuck Sexton:

It's all about GIs, right?

Melody Sexton:

Yes, it's about GIs.

Tony Nichols:

gentle individuals.

Melody Sexton:

At the table is Chuck Sexton, Jay Borja and Tony Nichols. And thank you guys for agreeing to do this today. We appreciate that. Can I ask you to go around starting with Chuck and introduce yourselves? Tell us where you're from originally? What branch of service and what unit you were in during Desert, desert Shield and Desert Storm and what was your job at that time and your rank and anything else you'd like to add?

Chuck Sexton:

Okay, I'm Chuck Sexton. I'm originally from New York. In Desert Shield, I was a captain. And I was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division Second Brigade. And what else did you want me to answer? What was my job? I was the S3 Air for the Brigade and I was a Brigade S3 plans officer. And basically, whatever I was told to do.

Melody Sexton:

And what does an S3 Air do?

Chuck Sexton:

Well, it plans air routes. It plans air resupply, it plans air strike missions for attack helicopters and coordinates with the Air Force guys as far as bombing runs and close air support and basically anything that has to do with air, that's what I did.

Melody Sexton:

Okay. All right. How about you, Jay?

Jay Borja:

I'm Jay Borja. I'm originally from the island of Guam. I was a draftee went to Vietnam. And my last tour was Desert Storm and Desert Shield. I'm a 19 Delta which is a Armored Reconnaissance Specialist. And I was assigned to the First Infantry Division. First Squadron, Fourth Cavalry at Fort Riley. My job there was I was the S3. I was the Air Liaison officer for the "1/4 Cav" and I was attached to the Air Force. Well, doing recons and flybys taking enemy out with the A 10.

Melody Sexton:

Oh, the Warthogs, yeah,

Jay Borja:

I had the A10 pilot with me when I was with the "1/4 Cav".

Melody Sexton:

Oh, wow. I want to hear more about that. That was my favorite plane. Yeah, in Desert Storm.

Jay Borja:

The pilot I was with hated being on the ground because for some reason, he ended up being on the ground and he was calling into spot reports for the ground war.

Melody Sexton:

The what what are those spa reports? Spot reports. Spot reports. What's that?

Jay Borja:

Acronym where they pilot will spot enemies on the ground and they'll call it in. They either use a helicopter or A10's to disengage or engage the enemy.

Melody Sexton:

Okay. Oh, very cool. Yeah. And Tony?

Tony Nichols:

Yes. I'm Tony Nichols,

Melody Sexton:

Yes.

Tony Nichols:

The Tony Nichols. I'm from I enlisted in Tampa, Florida. I was in 19 Delta also during Desert Storm. And I had graduated from college. And I enlisted in the Army. I wanted some adventure. And I hadn't even been in the army a year and we deployed a desert storm and I was I was a Bradley driver during the action. M3 Calvary Fighting Vehicle I was with 3/8 Calvary Second Brigade, Third Armored Division.

Chuck Sexton:

Yeah. All right. That was the you were a member of the I BB D. Inner head. International Brotherhood of Bradley drivers. It was the union Bradley drivers at the time. They're very powerful. Yes,

Tony Nichols:

very powerful and very handsome.

Chuck Sexton:

And he likes long walks on the beach. You forgot about that one, pina coladas, playing with puppies.

Melody Sexton:

And my name is Melody Sexton. I'm from St. Petersburg, Florida, just across the bay from Tony. He lived in the rich kids section of Tampa. Yes, I did. And I had been married to Army infantryman. For seven years had two small children when Desert Storm,

Chuck Sexton:

Desert Shield

Melody Sexton:

and Desert Shield. That's true. That's true. I forgot what we were talking about today. That's our topic, right? All right. And I also want to acknowledge and thank our studio audience for being here today. And if you hear any loud noises in the background, it's their fault. So today, we're going to talk about Desert Shield. And we're gonna save Desert Storm for another day, another episode. This year, and it's hard to believe it, is the 30th anniversary of Desert Storm, Desert Storm. And so I think what we need to do, because it's been so, I know, because it's been so long, we need to refresh in people's minds kind of what was going on back then. And so set the scene describing the events that kind of brought us into the Gulf in 1990. Chuck, you look like you want to say something?

Chuck Sexton:

Well you got to think about it. The youngest Desert Storm veteran now is 49 years old, which is kind of wild because the youngest guy to serve was 19 and Tony was a very young, very young and nubile 24 year old, lean, but so it's 49 which at the time it seems kind of crazy when you look back at it now but it's been 30 years. The reason it started and I'll start this out with I first heard about iraq doing something in Kuwait. I was at Fort Sill at the time and I was going through the Artillery Advanced Course after I'd done the Infantry one and whatever I failed Well, I was going to the the Artillery Advanced Course I remember watching it on the on the news and the big thing on the news was watching the the Russian Hip helicopters or the Iraqi Russian Hip helicopters flying into Kuwait City. And it's like, okay, this isn't gonna last This is this isn't gonna last and we were in our last, I think last two weeks of the course. So it's not gonna last it's gonna be over by the time and it will be done with it. But basically it started, Mel, with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait for several, you know, it depends on whose side you pick, but several reasons. And our agreement with Kuwait, as well as agreement with the international community to secure the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf and at the time, Kuwait was the second largest supplier of Europe's oil and Japan's oil, the first being Saudi Arabia, the second being Iraq or correction Kuwait. So that's when that's where it was started for and an agreement You know, this. No, it wasn't it wasn't Lebowski who said it, "this aggression shall not stand" that was actually President George Bush, who said the aggression will not stand. That's when he sent the guys, HW HW Bush, Abu Bush, Abu Bush, he was the one that said the aggression would not stand. And in August, he sent the 82nd Airborne and elements of the 24th Infantry Division, as well as Marine Corps MEU that was already afloat in the

Melody Sexton:

Marine Corps. What?

Chuck Sexton:

Marine Expeditionary Unit that was onboard ships that was in the Mediterranean at the time,

Jay Borja:

the Fifth Expedition, Marine Corps

Tony Nichols:

Yeah, for those who don't know, it's a Brigade size unit that has its self contained helicopter artillery engineer, reconnaissance, infantry and armor.

Chuck Sexton:

And the biggest thing they were upset about at the time was I think they had just made the rule for the Marines that they had to sew name tags on their uniforms. So that was a, I remember talking to my Marine buddies other very upset about that, because prior to that Marines never wore name tags.

Jay Borja:

My nephew was in that, he beat me over there.

Melody Sexton:

Your nephew was on that ship.

Chuck Sexton:

Five MEU, right. So, but that's when that's when it all kind of started for US involvement. So as I started that middle middle, well, first week, August is when he invaded middle of August, is when US troops started to arrive in Saudi Arabia in order to secure oil fields, as well as the the nation of Saudi Arabia because there's a big fear at the time that he would continue moving. s Saddam would continue to attack south towards Saudi Arabia.

Tony Nichols:

Now from a German point of view, I was in Germany. Well, technically. I graduated from basic training in August 15 of 1990. Yeah, when we, yeah. And so we we came out of basic and I was so tired. I was glad to be out and my parents drove me home back to Atlanta, from Fort Knox. And there are people hanging American flags. They have been thinking, hey, great, thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for your service. No, they thought we were part of the 82nd that was going down to the port to deploy.

Melody Sexton:

Oh

Tony Nichols:

So, I got sent to Germany, and in Germany, we were all getting ready to deactivate anyway because things are starting to wind down because the the wall had fallen in 1989. And when I got there, it was so like, relaxed that they put me in the post office for three months. I literally was in the post office for I was like, what have i done? I watched the laser disc in the recruiter's office? This is not what I was gonna do. You had a college education. I had a college, which is why

Chuck Sexton:

a recruiter lied to you, Tony. You believe it? Top?

Tony Nichols:

We were saying this for six months in the desert. Our Commander, our Battalion Commander, Timothy Looper had a Battalion formation in like the middle of beginning of December, and he said, "My friends in the Pentagon have assured me we are not going to Desert Storm. Next morning, Cover of Stars and Stripes "3rd Army Division deploys to Desert Storm". We're sitting in the middle of nowhere, "My friends in the Pentagon..."

Chuck Sexton:

Faith in your leadership.

Tony Nichols:

So they took me out of the post office at the last minute. Threw me in the scout platoon, like who's this guy. I yelled at the first artist that didn't join the army to work in the post office. He punched him private in the mouth at the Christmas party. So I was little afraid of him.

Chuck Sexton:

rightfully so.

Tony Nichols:

I was like, I want to go into the scout platoon. But

Melody Sexton:

you were really sick of the post office. Manned up and...

Tony Nichols:

I mean, think about it. I knew what was coming down the pipe. The brigade was gonna deploy. Yeah. And I stay home and work in the post office? The humiliation is unbearable.

Chuck Sexton:

Well, later on, I'll tell you a story about the post office. And what happens

Tony Nichols:

I've got a story of a guy that stayed back from my platoon. I'm not making this up. But we redeployed to guys in the platoon. When he was on staff duty, the guy that didn't deploy, and he got promoted. They grabbed him and beat him up. I mean, like he had to go to the hospital. Well.

Chuck Sexton:

Since we're talking post office, we'd already been, you said December is when you got the alert. We'd already been there. I left Artillery School in the end of August. And then we went to 24th and went over to to Saudi Arabia. Well, in about October, November. This is this is a story you won't hear this is a near mutiny in the United States Army. This is a mutiny. The, they set our postal clerks at Dharan back in the city. We were out in the middle of nowhere by a little town that has a spot called alley wayna. Our postal clerks set fire to the postal tent because they're smoking and they destroyed the entire the entirety of the 24th Division, Christmas, Christmas and Thanksgiving mail. Fruitcakes are gone ham illegally smuggled ham was gone. The Listerine bottles filled with alcohol gone everything it went up like a torch. Well, news finally got back and that's when the Sergeant Major started arming the senior noncommissioned officers started giving them ammunition so they could put down the riot it was it was up near mutiny that there was a demand to kill the postal clerks. No, no, they guys were cranking their Brads and your M1s. And we're gonna drive back and kill the postal clerks. And it was a it was a scab that was picked for about a month and a half because as you know the mail must go through. So what they continued to send were portions of letters that were like burned in half so you can see like a burnt and half letter and I remember John Finnefrock yes guess his name? No. That's the illegal that's that's when I was a child. I can't use but finger and then fill in the blank for that. Oh, it was terrible. He had a chip on his shoulder But anyway, and something else he he got a letter that was burned completely in half to where he didn't even know who sent it. Mike, Mike Billingsley got just the return address. And his name Mike Billingsley on it another buddy of mine, which like I said the scab was being picked every day because if somebody would get one of these shreds a burnt half burnt package must have smelled really good though down and Dharan all the honestly am burning and chocolate.

Tony Nichols:

It was World War Two. I mean, you know,

Chuck Sexton:

oh yeah,

Tony Nichols:

we have a crate full of letters. You remember you? Oh yeah, days without letters.

Chuck Sexton:

Well,

Tony Nichols:

I'm out here alone, everybody.

Jay Borja:

Yeah, it's pitiful

Tony Nichols:

Oh, okay here acting like a jerk

Chuck Sexton:

Vietnam guys tell us about it, tell us about how hard we had it

Tony Nichols:

actually August, my family and I were over in England, we were on leave my sister in law with me she want to only wanted to see England. My wife's British, so we went to England with my sister in law. And you know, we're watching BBC News. Of course, you know the invasion of Kuwait and my sister in law got so panicky because she knew her son was going to be you know, involved with that because of the Marine Corps. I said Nah, he's not gonna be there it's gonna take him a while to get back in the states. Oh no, he beat me there My friends in the Pentagon have assured me we will not be going to Desert Storm...

Jay Borja:

he was actually had already gotten there but after the invasion, and I never got there till after December

Chuck Sexton:

you guys got there in December

Jay Borja:

Yeah.

Tony Nichols:

We'd left on Christmas Day,

Jay Borja:

my the my unit left in September October they went they had the advance party already left and they're waiting for the rest of the unit to get there. And I got there in December. Wow. I mean, we we trapse from the airport to the shipyard some hotel and we were being bounced all over the place and I finally they

Chuck Sexton:

the Khobar Towers right?

Jay Borja:

Yeah. Yeah,

Tony Nichols:

I stayed there. Yeah, briefly.

Jay Borja:

I was in there for like about a day and a half and you you headed out to the alphaalpha but you got to go pick up your your crew with fine I need to get out of here anyway. It Rain I mean

Chuck Sexton:

rains real bad Oh,

Jay Borja:

yeah. I said this is reminding me of somewhere, I've been. And sure enough. My man it was like get up get put on the bus. And traveling, rain you don't know if you're gonna get you know your sink in the sand. Yeah. No road,

Chuck Sexton:

but it doesn't rain in the desert though. So it doesn't get cold there either.

Jay Borja:

Does this what they say?

Tony Nichols:

Most of the pictures I have I'm wearing my parka

Chuck Sexton:

well with the guys back in the state you know we kept getting care packages from the folks back in the states,. God bless them, with sunscreen and keep keep cool towels and all this kind of keep cool stuff and man I remember we had certain Tebo was one of the NCO that worked for me and he had a scarf he was one of the guys because we went over and I in in August, September and things were really really hot then his 100 plus and nobody brought any cold weather gear you know we come from Fort Stewart and nobody brought anything and so so guys had like we got issued long johns so they would walk around with long johns without their trousers on and he had a he had a scarf he wanted a GI scarf one of the green gi scarf so you know with the it's like a tube and he for his Christmas gifts that he gave everybody It was so so David Copperfield. He had cut the scarf into portions and then sewed by hand so it made hats. And it was it was horrible to look at but we had a we had a quilt oh we should have been on the internet well yeah well yeah. Our S2 shot a hole through the roof with his pistol cuz he got so nervous but that's that's when Tebo took his ammo away. He got ordered by our brigade commander. No more ammo for him.

Tony Nichols:

One bullet in his pocket. This is for sure ourselves and we packed on on Christmas on Christmas Eve. And we put our m 16 machine guns in the back of the track. It was snowing. We had winter gear. We had plenty of winter gear. But we got the machine guns. we unload them at the port. They were all rusted because of the wet.

Melody Sexton:

Oh no. Yeah. So well. We're talking about care packages in the mail and why that would people probably cause people to mutiny. Yes, they don't understand that. So let's talk a little bit about the living conditions once you got there and tell me where you were. And what was it like Tony, where were you wound up? Where do you wind up

Tony Nichols:

again keeping in mind that I was a private yes driving a track is that we got to the port first we had to do is paint them tan color. So we painted up tan color. We were on the port for about five days. And then we got orders pack up and go to this grid establish observation post on tap line road to provide security for other units coming in. So, and I wrote about it the first night, I mean, I'm soaked, which I'm just soaked. And you know, because it's raining, and we're having to do all this stuff and unload and unload. And I'm just soaking. I'm driving the track to this location. And I finally get there tonight. And I got the nod thing going on. And it's just, it's the worst. And we finally stopped, they set up and I just get on track and I strip naked. I put on dry clothes and get back in that driver's hole fall asleep.

Chuck Sexton:

So you had a driver's hole? That's pretty good. That's nice.

Tony Nichols:

A very small one bedroom apartment. Yes.

Melody Sexton:

What's the drivers hole?

Tony Nichols:

Well, the Bradley fighting vehicle you are the turret crews in the turret. And you're the front of the vehicle in the hole. And it's pretty spacious right

Chuck Sexton:

next to the engine.

Melody Sexton:

It's just just you in there

Tony Nichols:

just me in there. Yeah. And the engines right here. So when I stop, it's kind of warm. Yeah, I don't like to leave it and there's a there's a drain plug on the floor right by my foot. And I would hold it open with my foot.

Chuck Sexton:

You went number one?

Tony Nichols:

Number one. I mean, literally, I'd been there for days. If I didn't have to do

Melody Sexton:

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Are you a tanker?

Chuck Sexton:

Oh, yes.

Melody Sexton:

That explaineds Yeah, that explains. eHow about you Jay< Where did you end up? What was it like? Like I said, I I was bounced all over Kuwait. Till I finally got to my unit. And they were out on out on the field already. They were in the alpha alpha. What's the alpha alpha?

Jay Borja:

What's that? It's an assembly area what they call an assembly. This is Where, A unit just pick an area on a map. Yeah. Okay. This is where we're going to assemble it goes to this area. And that's where everybody's at.

Melody Sexton:

So where, you were in Saudi Arabia. So we're in salt. What? Were there any towns near you or anything or

Jay Borja:

No, no. When you look at something, there's nothing there to see

Melody Sexton:

don't turn left at the

Chuck Sexton:

North. North of tap line, right.

Melody Sexton:

Don't go chasing wild camels. Anyway, we, like I said we we were just bouncing all over the place. There were several, That was the last people that came out in the unit, Fort Riley. And we we got there. And I said is there telephone anyway. And so I

Jay Borja:

I was attached to the air force. Oh, they had their own their own phone. My wife said Where are you calling me from? Is it don't ask where I'm at? Because I don't know. But I'm calling you

Melody Sexton:

somewhere and

Jay Borja:

send me some coffee. Really never had any coffee. You know mousehole was too far away. You never had coffee. So coffee was a commodity that you? I mean, that's a black market. Right. And so they were sending me coffee. She had we had friends and they were putting coffee together and pack it and sending it over there. I beat every one of them back.

Melody Sexton:

No,

Jay Borja:

I beat every one

Tony Nichols:

of them back.

Chuck Sexton:

Well, Oh, well.

Tony Nichols:

I was still receiving care packages when I retired. Anyone know?

Chuck Sexton:

Your phone conversations are heartbreaking. Because a two and a half hour drive to the closest phone drive.

Tony Nichols:

It was about an hour and a half. Two hours. Two and a half. five tons.

Chuck Sexton:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. covered completely in a moon dust at the end of our Yeah, from at&t. Yeah, it was nothing free at the time. drive all the way we had the phone center when we got there. In August, they set up a phone center they made an agreement with the with the nation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to allow us to tap into their phone lines. So we're all set. They they built the phone Center, which they quickly surrounded it was a divisional level thing they quickly surrounded with concertina wire and their phones on four by fours on a little piece of plywood, you had regular dial up phones, and they were spaced out in a in a GP medium general purpose medium size tent. Yeah. And you you you had an MP was with an M 60 position, standing there. At the front of them, and you were in in line, and you'd line up there, and they had a MP at a stopwatch. Yeah. And you had exactly 10 minutes on the phone. And there was a two minute transition time. So the guys that were on the phone before you got out, and you went in, and you picked up your phone, and you hope you got a good one. And the MP would say, go and that's when you'd start dialing. And I still remember what you'd always get (in Arabic) Afwan Sadiq which was the first thing that your phone call didn't go through. Sorry, sir, your phone, your phone got so you dial like crazy. And sometimes, you know, I can't understand why my wife would get so mad at me sometimes I get through and have about a minute of talking. And she was out doing all the important things that that people have to do back in the rear. And I would just get like crazy angry when my call and it would take her that minute to get to the phone. And in the time up the M 60 would pull back the cocking handle and everybody got the move out.

Tony Nichols:

They gotta go two hours to go make a phone call. I just step out of my tent

Chuck Sexton:

Yeah, I know Air Force.

Melody Sexton:

Glad you were with the Air Force because we all know they got it.

Tony Nichols:

The best assignment swear to God, I'll do it again. I tried to do it A few times. And I decided

Chuck Sexton:

that I was just I did it every every time every

Tony Nichols:

every time you shoot and just not talk to anybody. Well

Chuck Sexton:

I lived Did you guys have tents?

Tony Nichols:

airforde did ? Yeah, we had a little squad tent.

Chuck Sexton:

That's really nice.

Tony Nichols:

It would hold four people comfortably. We had five people in there.

Chuck Sexton:

I had a squad camouflage net, which was until December we got Christmas gifts of a GP small.

Tony Nichols:

Well, when they brought RBI mail you've heard

Chuck Sexton:

No, we didn't have any of that.

Tony Nichols:

basic items initial issue a quick track Bradley company. Each section come with a tent.

Chuck Sexton:

We had our nothing. We had our camouflage net

Jay Borja:

we brought our own from Fort Riley. Yeah,

Chuck Sexton:

yeah,

Jay Borja:

we It was. It was desert green and brown.

Chuck Sexton:

I had a cot. I had a cot and I broke two pieces of wood off a pallet that I used to stand when I changed my boots. That was pretty cool.

Tony Nichols:

When I showed up I was like, you know the last guy show up and they gave me a cot and it was a broken cot. So my car for six months.

Chuck Sexton:

Yes. Way back now because it's held up VA w

Tony Nichols:

was held up with a Maddox handle that I held up with a Cargo strap. Yeah. And it's something else just like I had to hold it up.

Chuck Sexton:

Did you claim that on your VA when you got out? Bad back? You should have I'll

Tony Nichols:

be honest, I didn't want to claim it because I felt it made me a

Chuck Sexton:

little suffering little monkey.

Tony Nichols:

Do you think your war was hard?

Melody Sexton:

Well, the people back home kind of found out about the coffee and toilet paper was the big thing and baby wipes was a huge thing. And so that started going overseas. Often it missed the soldier. Got it after you retired.

Jay Borja:

I mean, I did get some of the care packages. First, maybe first four or five? Yeah, yeah. And after that, you know, it was a it was the week that did come in. And right out right, February, right. War finish. My commander says pack your shit. You've own home. Yep,

Tony Nichols:

that's a good deal.

Jay Borja:

Well, is because I had already submitted my

Chuck Sexton:

retirement.

Jay Borja:

Yeah, my retirement has already gone through. You've been approved.

Tony Nichols:

paperwork is approved. Congratulations.

Melody Sexton:

Oh, okay.

Jay Borja:

Anyway, there. It was approved. But then you said your stop loss, right. Hey. I got nothing better to do.

Chuck Sexton:

Oh, an extra 150 a month.

Jay Borja:

I only receive two or three months of combat pay.

Chuck Sexton:

Well, you guys are tax free to know. Yeah, they were tax free. The enlisted guys were tax free. 100% Yeah, cuz it was the same rules that they had in Vietnam. Yeah. Yeah. Officers. No, you weren't tax free.

Tony Nichols:

I didn't do it for the money chuck. Oh, I did for the glory. Well, I did that too. And the free haircut

Chuck Sexton:

Companty barbers kit. Really company. Shira,

Jay Borja:

I always had to pay for

Chuck Sexton:

the not that kind of haircut.

Melody Sexton:

Okay, anyway. So I wanted to ask you guys I seem to have Remember that in Desert Storm? We were coming up against the third wasn't it the third largest, or

Chuck Sexton:

the fourth largest army in the world or

Melody Sexton:

fourth largest, largest army in the world. They were just finishing I guess, a very long war with Iran. And they were equipped by the Russians, which is who I think if I remember right, that's who everybody was training to fight at that time. And so there was a real perception at least stateside there was a lot of talk from former Army officers and about how ill equipped the Americans were to go up against the Russian equipment that from from their boots have a metal plate in them and they're gonna they're not gonna be able to walk in the sand to the Bradley's and tanks are going to get congested with the sand from the desert. It was just it was just not expected to go very well. So what did you guys think? How did you train for this or how you know what? What do you think about going up against the Russian stuff

Tony Nichols:

our equipment was is war proven. Okay, our M1s our Bradley's our attack helicopters. They are all combat proven during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. I was in a 113 which is a armored personnel carrier. Okay, okay. That that is an ancient vehicle

Chuck Sexton:

aluminum box.

Tony Nichols:

Yeah, the French word for it is sheet box.

Chuck Sexton:

Any if you could design a target

Tony Nichols:

make it square It proved itself in Vietnam and he proved it so in Desert Storm. Yeah. Go through the jungle proved itself going through the sand proved itself is war hardy is just like Warhog. Yeah, yeah. Well proven. And I would take Warthog anytime and I would take a 113 anytime you put a monetization packet on Yeah,

Chuck Sexton:

I don't know. I like bad Brad. But I mean,

Jay Borja:

I was I would Bradley trained. When I got there, my 113 was there. What am I doing?

Chuck Sexton:

You get Do you guys remember you guys remember that book that Hackworth came out with

Tony Nichols:

About Face

Chuck Sexton:

About Face right before? Right? This was right before and that was the big buzz it was going throughout the entire army was Hackworth and about face and because of his experiences. So you know, he won a silver star in Vietnam and a bunch of other highly decorated from Korean War. And he was making the rounds. And it my wife told me this I didn't know it because I was out. All I heard was the voice of peace. But which we'll talk about a little bit but the the,

Tony Nichols:

the, we do not like the Bush

Chuck Sexton:

but Hackworth wrote this book that said, and he was doing the rounds, and he was a respected military expert. And he did CBS morning show and today's show and CNN. And he said that basically the Americans, American army, and American military will just run up against this hardcore army and they're not going to be able to stand it and we're going to be beaten by by the Iraqis and it's going to be another quagmire similar to Vietnam and it's going to grind down. And that's Mel, you you heard it better than me. So what the stuff that Hackworth was saying,

Melody Sexton:

Yeah, he was he was the one that was talking about how the boots even our boots for our soldiers were

Chuck Sexton:

because the spike plates

Melody Sexton:

ill equipped to be in the desert and that he was the one I remember saying and of course, I just read his book. And he was he was just on all the networks thing. gloom and doom. As a matter of fact, I remember distinctly in one of the newspapers reading that the the government had ordered. I think it was 165,000 body bags for this war.

Chuck Sexton:

Sorry to disappoint. Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. So

Melody Sexton:

it was it was pretty It was pretty scary on the home front.

Tony Nichols:

Well, even even I was in a scout platoon. There was nobody in front of us except one or two helicopters, right. And they had given us an assessment of what they thought was like why would you tell me that that I'm gonna

Chuck Sexton:

get Oh, the the T 72. will destroy every M1 on the battlefield. It's autoloader. Do you remember hearing all that nada, the M1 will not? Because we had been fed on the same malarkey that NTC had been pitching for all those years. And where they supposedly replicated T72. And any m one that came against it was immediately destroyed. Well, reality will teach different in the coming episodes

Tony Nichols:

were the guys in Germany were all all they're trained to fight the Russian so we were these guys were highly, highly trained. I mean, very professional and That army they put in the field and Desert Storm was trained. Oh, yeah, the fact that they could sit in that ridiculous terrible desert for six months after fighting, fight the war when and then sit there and wait. I mean that is a discipline to our well being with them though is that they they were battle hardened only they were tired. Okay and you're you're facing a fresh, fresh right off boat combat unit and well, you're not you're not going to win if you are already battle hardened and then you face in the fresh.

Chuck Sexton:

You guys are selling yourself short, you know, I mean, you know that honestly, again, when you look at it, our leaders, every single one of our general officers was in Vietnam, every single one of our Brigade commanders was in Vietnam and I'm not talking one tour I'm talking. My Brigade commander was a guy named Paul Kern, who was on the initial he was a troop commander on the invasion of Cambodia. He was in the 11th ACR at the time. And he had done tours before that. My the battalion commanders, Vietnam at every noncommissioned officer above the rank of Sergent First Class was a Vietnam veteran. So and they knew the deal. They they knew the deal, they knew the deal. So

Jay Borja:

there was four of us in in my, in my Squadron, that was all from the 101st except for the squadron commander, the squadron commander came from somewhere else. But he had, he had been Namm. And he knew tactics already Vietnam in then,

Chuck Sexton:

was the mindset more than the tactics, they weren't going to lose, and they weren't going to have the same thing happen again. And we were just going to kick shit out of them and get it over quick. And that, you know, I remember, as a fly on the wall here in General McCaffrey it was who is our Division commander, a big time warrior, talking with our Brigade commander, Paul Kern, a big time warrior. And a guy named Terry Scott, another Vietnam vet, big time warrior and the Sergent Majors all getting together. And then specifically saying what happened to us is not going to happen to these guys. And I remember that. So they had it down to where nobody was going to let them lose. Nobody was going to stand in their way. And so don't ever, you know, the Vietnam vets won that war. We may have been the the guys on the field, but they're the ones that won the war for us.

Tony Nichols:

So from my perspective, they let that leash go,

Chuck Sexton:

Oh, yeah. And they trained us too

Tony Nichols:

I was that was because there was no civilians. It was them. And us. And I had a front row seat to that. Yeah, it was crazy. They just, you know, fast forward 15 years. I'm an advisor for a former Republican Guard.

Melody Sexton:

Yeah. Wow.

Tony Nichols:

So I got their perspective. Well, that's they think they won the war.

Chuck Sexton:

Well, I remember talking to I talked to Funny enough, almost, let's see. 15 years later, I talked to one of the guys that I actually captured who has and he kind of remembered, but he was in the the Al Fah, the Parachute Regiment. And we captured him. And I still got his jump wings that I ripped off uniform. And I got his squad book or his platoon book. But the the guys who trained that army were the Vietnam guys. And the they were the ones that trained that force that problem. And I know this sounds, you know, like an old guy sitting back and drinking a beer. But the reality is, is that is a force. That probably was the finest that has been fielded since 1945.

Tony Nichols:

And I think we get you know,

Chuck Sexton:

we were not sensitive. I can tell you. I was not sensitive after my experiences in Korea.

Tony Nichols:

Remember, the first time I saw a woman in like three months? Well, I was like, What is she doing there?

Chuck Sexton:

There's what everybody would always want to listen to the radio when the estou from one of the units from first Brigade because they could hear a woman's voice. And that was just something very comforting. Other than getting a cassette tape, which my wife sent me, which were listened to over and over and over again. And night we listened to cassette tapes, but just hearing that somebody else that sounded different that wasn't using a swear word. every other word was something really kind of nice to talk. Yeah, well, yeah. No you do what she.

Melody Sexton:

And speaking of a woman's voice How about Baghdad Betty? Did you guys hear any of that?

Tony Nichols:

Never got her never heard her?

Chuck Sexton:

You guys you guys missed out? she?

Jay Borja:

She was like I know. Hanoi... Hanoi... Yeah.

Melody Sexton:

Was it Hannah?

Chuck Sexton:

Hannah? Hannah? Hannah.

Tony Nichols:

Something like that. Yeah.

Melody Sexton:

Did you hear her?

Jay Borja:

I heard her. Yeah. I was on guard duty. Well, Bob Hope was in country.

Chuck Sexton:

Bob Hope

Jay Borja:

I was on guard duty. I was in the tower. how

Chuck Sexton:

angry were you about that? how angry were you?

Jay Borja:

I was getting ready to shoot. Whatever came to come across,

Chuck Sexton:

we would get to go back. They had a rotation that could go back to this place called Halfmoon Bay and it was an all male Saudi Arabian swimming club on the beach. It was terrible. But I never went back because I traded every one of my slots I said okay, all I want is to go to the Bob Hope show cuz he's i know i know Bob's gonna come to Saudi Arabia he's gonna show I know Bob's gonna be here I want to go to a show like you are apparently went Oh, no. He went Bob went Bob went the week before and I retired and then general Kern, he said know before the war started tough, Gen Kerns, My brigade commander said okay, Chuck, I got it. You're gonna go see Bob Hope that's all you want because uh, you know the guys from the second war two guys from Korea guys from Vietnam. Got to see Bob Hope and that's what I wanted to do. And the week before Bob Hope came all our cars in country were cancelled by Gerald McCaffrey. He cancelled them all because any vehicle was either running medical supplies ammunition or mail so everything else was dedicated man. General McCaffrey he wouldn't even let us say so our name tags aren't uniforms we had we didn't have name tags because everything was bundled washed so you that's what they said it was bundle wash this is Vietnam stuff you know where they kick out a bundle? Well, he cancelled it all and I felt that was almost a near mutiny right there. I was sewing melody

Melody Sexton:

I got a letter Oh yeah, I want

Tony Nichols:

to know what kind of waffle eaten unit you were in but we didn't have uso eaten shows you know that it was not on bad we're seeing dirt MREs Okay, just pain in combat. I don't have a shower.

Chuck Sexton:

Oh. Oh you or oh you are oh you sweetheart. Oh Hold on. Let me give you let me give you a tissue

Jay Borja:

they had turkey meat in them

Chuck Sexton:

Well, speaking of chow, 90 days Chicken Cacciatore every hot meal every day because not after day 40 our our cook was so lazy. That he went the palettes that were laid out you know they have palettes and there's there's breakfast palettes there's lunch palettes and they're broken based on you go to each one of the meals and you can pick. no. lazy goes to the one palette that was all Chicken cacciatore because there's all chicken cacciatore shorting the chicken breast and you had roast beef which was the guy roast beef man you were good. You must have been in a cav unit but we we had chicken cacciatore t rations every day. And and the one time that he tried to make amends is when he almost destroyed he took out more American soldiers than Saddam he

Jay Borja:

he went dysentery Yeah.

Chuck Sexton:

He went downtown on the on the civilian market in the Ville and he bought tomatoes and he cut up the tomatoes and put them on a on a salad from the the lettuce that he got from downtown. And he fed us a salad and everybody got och nods revenge and it wiped out a brigade of the 24th Division had Saddam come across just rolled over never I never have I contemplated suicide like that. That was and it was a great latrine to go to too by the way. Yeah, the burnout latrine and love a lovely thing.

Jay Borja:

We did that in Viet Nam

Chuck Sexton:

Oh, it's terrible burn. When we hit that was the Olympics year 90 was the Olympics year. So we had we had the start of the Olympics, that company Olympics and they took a barrel of shit up to the top of the one hill that was around us and everybody and everybody was In their long johns in formation are all the kid ran up the h never to repeat

Jay Borja:

that's why you were introduced when you first get in country.

Chuck Sexton:

Yeah, shit burner.

Melody Sexton:

Oh really?

Jay Borja:

Oh yeah, that was you you go into the like this area full of tabs and full fo Soldiers, and you know they're all waiting to be assigned to a unit yeah you were there for a week you were burning oh yeah

Chuck Sexton:

yes Cami net pull tape to to to stir it that was always a pleasant thing

Tony Nichols:

I really want to know because you didn't ever burn shit because you were an officer I was a private I burned lots of shit it's 20% mo gas 80% diesel Yeah,

Chuck Sexton:

if you get the mixture right, but if you get the mixture wrong, it'll explode

Jay Borja:

Dont be standing there

Tony Nichols:

and nothing if you use all just Mo gas

Chuck Sexton:

Oh no, no, no No do

Tony Nichols:

because instead of a three hour detail it turns into a one hour

Jay Borja:

or using incendiary grenade

Chuck Sexton:

I remember it explode I remember it exploding on guys because they did use too hot of a gas mix.

Tony Nichols:

It's an art and I apparently everyone else yeah. I was really good at it

Jay Borja:

He was a chemist.

Chuck Sexton:

Fashion Design.

Tony Nichols:

You know we all have gifts that the lord gives us

Jay Borja:

And shit Burning's not one of them.

Tony Nichols:

I'm a 360 degree soldier. I'm either dealing death or burning shit never stop. Constantly is

Jay Borja:

he's one or the other. Yeah.

Melody Sexton:

Oh my gosh. All right. Last question. Last question. You guys spent a lot of time in the desert waiting for this all to kick off. And so when the air war started, what did you think were you like oh, finally this is it. We're going to move? Or you know, what in the world did you think when that happened?

Tony Nichols:

Well, again, I was private and that was me and my buddy sip tack. You know, we always did everything together. We're sitting there on the ramp and it was like it was dark. It's so dark. You can't see your hand.

Chuck Sexton:

Everything

Tony Nichols:

Yeah, you can't see. Then it goes radio Okay, the air war started and we just grabbed the ammo cans turn shovin bullets into the magazine. They wouldn't let us load until the war started. So then we got all our combat loads out. Everybody starts throwing tow missiles in the launchers

Melody Sexton:

you're ready within an hour right to go you

Tony Nichols:

know just picture the guy from Mad Max with the Mohawk shoulder back now.

Chuck Sexton:

The humongous

Jay Borja:

no we had general Schwarzkopf hold our s3 and says Be prepared because the first launch is getting ready to to go

Melody Sexton:

and just reminding everybody you were attached to the Air Force. Yeah.

Jay Borja:

We were we were right there. The artillery and the rocket launchers. And Whoa, yeah. That's all you hear. You were trying to take a nap. Because you've had a long road March to get there. And the first thing year was that rocket coming out of that pot. And then the long five, five and then it's, it's now we're never Here we go. And then we were about three o'clock, four o'clock that morning where we started breaching the berm.

Tony Nichols:

But I wouldn't die until Yeah, we

Chuck Sexton:

Airforce nailed him for a bunch of when it I remember it happened. And then nobody told us that it was going to happen. But you knew something was going on. Because all of a sudden mlrs started kicking in and they were shooting the URL. The multiple launch rocket system was shooting at all the enemy radar sites that were they all arrayed along the border. So we started I remember the MLRs is kicking in. It's like, Oh, this is something's happening. And they hit they hit all the rocket and then next thing I remember seeing was all these zoomies coming over us just hauling and the one way you could tell they're on our side was they had the lights on. And you could see as they were going in once once they cross the border the lights go off. And you see the zoomies going up to hit all the all the different positions

Melody Sexton:

oir planes? Yeah, the radios Oh yeah, the fast Movers. Yeah. And then because they didn't send the a 10s until till later on after the the big the big and then then the buff came in then the B 52 started coming in it was like and you started hearing boom boom and then the via the Vietnam guys it's like Arc Light our light Arc Light

Jay Borja:

there we go

Chuck Sexton:

and you just see that on the horizon just flash flash flash flash flash and that went on for 30 days.

Tony Nichols:

Yeah, I was still sitting yeah eating memory yeah well and guard duty and I got it got pretty good morning.

Chuck Sexton:

Oh, they're gonna they're gonna shoot us. Good

Melody Sexton:

morning to six in the morning. Yes, because

Tony Nichols:

I was a private and I was new so i i

Chuck Sexton:

know you were a mail clerk. Dude.

Jay Borja:

I was waiting for puff the magic dragon to come through.

Chuck Sexton:

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, they did too. That was uh,

Melody Sexton:

which one was that which plane

Chuck Sexton:

AC 130.s They, they there was this. This one. After they knocked out they thought they'd knocked out all these different sites. And there was one that was called a fan song radar, which is one of the big air defense radars that the Russians had given them and the Russians were actually running it because you could hear him talking in Russian back and forth on the different nets. And there was one right along the borders. And it was spinning. You know, it had a it had a top on it that spun the radar dish was spinning on top of it. And they hit that thing with mlrs. They hit that thing with eight inch, they hit it with 105 millimeter howitzer. 155 millimeter howitzers. They hit it with fast Movers. And the thing kept spinning. That's how they were registering it. Okay, it's still spinning because the Iraqis would turn radars on and off. Well, they're like, oh, man, this thing. We can't kill it. We can't kill it. So they called it they called it an ac 130. And it just drilled just wipe wipe dto clean, but the thing was still spinning. Well, then they send the cabvguys from the cabvup to look at it. And they're like, oh, man, everything here is ctompelyt destroyed. They look like Swiss cheese. But the little dish was still turning like a windmill

Jay Borja:

like they're not doing anything. around.

Tony Nichols:

Oh, yeah, there's like seven. There's like 70 pairs of boots. Where the Iraqis a hand with a sandwich in

Chuck Sexton:

the for that fan song radar every night. Oh, we're gonna hit the fan song again. We're hitting the fan song.

Tony Nichols:

Hardcore dog on Turkey.

Chuck Sexton:

Yeah, the cav came I was like, oh, man, it's completely

Jay Borja:

missed it.

Chuck Sexton:

The fans on radar?

Melody Sexton:

Well, I think that leads us right up to Desert Storm to the, to the launch of the ground war. So we're gonna go ahead and end it right there. I hope you guys will all come back. So we can finish the story. And that'll be our next podcast episode will be about the storm.

Chuck Sexton:

Yeah, thanks for giving us the time.

Tony Nichols:

Absolutely. Wonderful to share the, you know, my contribution to America's freedom,

Chuck Sexton:

the true hero.

Melody Sexton:

Well, and we hope and we hope everybody enjoyed this podcast today, Vets On The Net. We hope you'll join us again for our future episodes. If you like what you've heard, please subscribe. I would like to thank our sponsor for this broadcast. It's Eric and Callie MacMahan. They are longtime financial supporters of the Flint Hills veterans coalition. And we just want to appreciate their they're making this broadcast possible for us today. Also, I'd like to thank Dave Lewis of Dave Lewis entertainment. Yep, he gave us I didn't have to buy equipment. So I'm very happy with that

Tony Nichols:

the great American and

Chuck Sexton:

if anybody's got any specific questions to send them in, and we'll do our best to answer

Melody Sexton:

Yep, I will on our website when we post this on the website. If you go to our website, Flint Hills veterans.org I'll post links to the plains of Desert Storm and Desert Shield. I'll post links to different things that we've talked about today. So you'll be able to kind of learn more and you know, let's have a conversation about this.

Tony Nichols:

Why do you Sagittarius?

Chuck Sexton:

Why do you fight for the bush?

Tony Nichols:

Why do you fight for the bush?

Chuck Sexton: Baghdad Betty:

American soldier Why do you fight for the bush

Melody Sexton:

thanks for listening till next time.

Introductions
This Aggression Will Not Stand
My Friends In The Pentagon
The Mail Must Go Through
Merry Christmas
Never Leave The Track
How About A Nice Cup Of Coffee
Reach Out And Touch Someone
Home Sweet Home
Care Packages
The Soviet Superman
The Viet Nam Vet Advantage
Most Successful War Of The 20th Century
Thanks For The Memories
Speaking Of Chow...
You Gotta Get The Mixture Right
The Air War Begins
That Leads Us Right Up to Desert Storm
Our Sponsor: The McMahan Family
Thanks for Listening to Vets On The Net