Burruss was in Center East servicing aircraft for Desert Defend

This is the 3rd installment of an interview that historian Joe Todd did with Mark…

This is the 3rd installment of an interview that historian Joe Todd did with Mark Burruss on Could 15, 2021, in Bartlesville. The interview has been frivolously edited for length and clarity.

(The job interview picks up with  Burress likely to Saudi Arabia to provide in Operation Desert Defend.) 

Todd: Wherever ended up you when Saddam invaded Kuwait?

Burruss: I was at Hurlburt Area. The store main came down and claimed, “We are heading to have to send four individuals to Saudi Arabia.” He stated the ones that were being in Just Trigger had initially selection. He said this was August and if you want to go, you would almost certainly rotate out before Xmas. My shop main, Kenny Tyson, Rodrigues, myself and Mike Mathers all volunteered to go. We thought we would go and be back again in advance of Christmas.  We all experienced households. As quickly as we landed above there on the tarmac, it was 105 levels, your boots stuck to the blacktop and it was unquestionably a distinct weather from tropical Florida.

T: Wherever did you land in Arabia?

B: King Fahd International Airport.

T: Where by is that found?

Mark Burruss

B: In the middle of nowhere. There is no city. The British experienced persuaded Saudi Arabia that if you develop an airport, a city will improve close to it. When we landed at King Fahd International Airport, they experienced the runway created, the terminal crafted and that was the only detail built. We had a sister airport they identified as the “Royal Airport” and was essentially a quarter-mile absent and that is where by the royalty landed. They experienced their have minimal terminal and wasn’t as lengthy a runway. That is the place they had A-10s. Us, as AC-130 gunships, we experienced the major terminal and we shared the primary terminal with the Army, which they had Blackhawks, Comanches, Apaches and all their plane at the exact same foundation. There genuinely wasn’t anything at all shut. We were being basically in the center of the desert. To go to city, you had to get in a car or truck and generate 30 minutes.  

T: This was even now Desert Shield?

B: Desert Shield.

T: What did you do?

B: Basically, if you had an plane to do the job on, you labored your aircraft. If you did not have an aircraft, we had revetments and it was metal plating that you assembled and fill it full of sand. You create up the upcoming amount and continue to keep filling it up and you make a barrier wall that way if a little something did appear in and explode one plane, it would continue to keep the shrapnel from going to the following airplane and blowing up consecutive plane. We did that for roughly about a few weeks to shield every plane we experienced about there. Other than that, we had a large amount of engage in time. Play time is not what persons believe. You might get a soccer and throw it all around or could possibly get a basketball and engage in around. There was not a whole whole lot there. You actually didn’t have just about anything to do. If you were being not performing, they would locate anything for you to do. At our foundation, they experienced the A-10s and they brought woodworking tools and you could in fact construct furniture for your tent. We stayed in a 20-man tent and there have been generally 10 males in a tent. You could build yourself a bed, develop a bookshelf. Your relatives would deliver you things, so you had trinkets and set them on your shelf. You labored 12-hour shifts, and on your down time, you could go more than and create nearly anything out of wooden you wanted. I would like to thank the Coca-Cola Business, because in Saudi Arabia, they did not permit Coke. The explanation why, mainly because there was a Jew that sat on the board of administrators of Coca-Cola. Saudi Arabia does not like Jewish individuals, so they would not let them import Coke. But Coca-Cola sent above cases of Coca-Cola for just about every company member and they gave it to us absolutely free of cost. I am a Coca-Cola drinker and say thank you to the Coca-Cola Firm.  

T: Did you have any contact with the local men and women?

B: Yes, we acquired to get started heading downtown right before Desert Storm took off. There was just one mall, and I did volunteer to drive a bus, so I obtained my bus professional license, so I could either acquire people down in a bus or a van. Basically, it was just like a shopping mall here in the United States. It had a bunch of outlets inside. The only big difference, you experienced distinct procedures. There is no alcoholic beverages permitted in Saudi Arabia, in any way. We thought it was weird that there was no alcohol, but however, you could go to a Safeway and on aisle 18, they experienced all the things you necessary to make a even now. They experienced kettle pots, copper tubing, 50-pound bags of sugar and yeast in massive portions. You could not have alcoholic beverages in Saudi Arabia, but anything you essential to make a however. Needless to say, we had some youthful guys that attempted making a continue to. I’m not saying it worked, but they tried out. We didn’t have any hillbillies from Tennessee that could make a still, but we were being wanting for them. We discovered methods about it.  

After working 12-hour shifts at a desert airbase in Saudi Arabia, U.S. airmen toss a Frisbee at day’s end near a tent city on Friday, Sept. 29, 1990, that houses American troops on duty with Operation Desert Shield.

T: How did you come across techniques close to it?

B: To the up coming generation, you tell your spouse to acquire a bottle of ginger ale, give the youngsters the ginger ale and fill it with your favorite beverage. Mine was Jim Beam. She would get a 2-liter bottle, give the ginger ale to the youngsters, pour the bottle of Jim Beam into the 2-liter bottle, seal it again up and place it in a care bundle and mail it to you. My spouse started sending me a care package about after a thirty day period. That is how I had cost-free Coke.  For the full length of the war, I claimed, “If you want some ginger ale, I have to have some Coke.” These men would go invest in a six-pack of Coke just so they could open one and I would set some ginger ale in their Coke and they would be glad to go away me the other five. I experienced my personal supply of Coca Cola.  

T: Did you acquire element in the air war?

B: Was I in the aircraft? No. We have been there when we despatched our aircraft out. We missing 1 aircraft. One of our AC’s, they ended up out executing their evening mission. Most of our missions have been at night time. They were out executing a mission and the sunlight was coming up and we had some Marines that came on the radio and they have been under heavy attack and they were inquiring for anyone that could support, by any means. The aircraft commander received all people on headsets and he mentioned, “I have to have everyone agree, we both stay and help these men or we go property.” He had to have 100 {f7ace28afe27113323ebcbc15db4aacb666c5f5c079bf840994bad8a1353241c} Alright to remain. All people gentlemen did and they ended up shot down. I have a tattoo on my arm that is a listing of their names.  Fourteen of my brothers died that working day. I experienced that tattoo set on there for them so they will not be neglected.  

T: Did you acquire part in Desert Storm?

B: We have been there the complete time. We didn’t leave right until March. That is when they finally permit us rotate out.  

T: Did your job improve among Desert Shield and Desert Storm?

B: No, we took care of our plane. You in essence took care of everything that required to be finished. It did not issue if it was your job or not. If any person desired help, you served them. That is the way it is. Hurlburt is a smaller field and most of the men there ended up like spouse and children.