A soldier’s view

Posted: Monday, March 26, 2007

Editors note: Periodically the Clarion w ill print biographies and notes from peninsula soldiers stationed in northern Kuwait with the 3rd Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard. Staff Sgt. Mac Metcalfe, public affairs non-commissioned officer with the battalion, conducts the interviews.



Name: Sgt. Scott Alwin

Home town: Kenai

My military history started with my parents. In the early 1960s they were in the Navy. My dad flew helicopters and my mom was a photographer. They had known each other in high school but never dated. After meeting up again in the Navy they married, left the military and moved to Alaska.

They eventually ended up on the Kenai Peninsula where my dad, Orville, flew helicopters shuttling workers to the platforms. The family lived way out in Nikiski and the roads were bad and Dad would actually fly the helicopter home and park it by the house. When it came time for -my birth, Dad put my mom, Janice, in the helicopter and flew her to the clinic in Soldotna. About three hours after I was born he put my mom and I back in the helicopter and took us home. So I flew in a helicopter before I rode in a car which I think is kind of neat — only in Alaska!

As a junior in high school I joined the Alaska Army National Guard at age 17.

Making history: Later, I joined the active duty Army for six years and was part of Desert Storm in 1991. Our mission was the liberation of Kuwait and we spent about four and a half months just waiting in the desert for orders to attack.

When the air war started we moved up to the Kuwait border. Saddam had set all the oil wells on fire and during the day it was often dark because of the black smoke from the fires. You could look directly at the sun at noon and it was just this little dull orb in the sky. On a clear night, we could see the B-52s bombing targets that were a few miles away.

The B-52s looked like a satellite at night because they fly so high up you can see the sun from the other side of the planet reflecting off the bottom of the plane. The ground would shake and it was like hundreds of flash bulbs going off.

Entering Kuwait City was like the videos you see on the liberation of Paris during World War II. Everyone was partying and dancing. They were all really happy to see us, it was a big celebration!

The Iraqis had really pillaged the place. I mean looted it. Like the car dealership that we set up camp next to. They had stripped all the cars. I never understood why they didn’t just take all the cars and drive them back (to Iraq). They had just vandalized the cars, stripped them, taking all the parts. You know, they did that to all kinds of stuff, they tore the place apart. It was a wreck.

A lot of people in my unit thought the war was all about oil, but when we actually got to Kuwait City and saw all the devastation and the people were all cheering everybody kind of agreed that we did the right thing. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

I moved back to Alaska in 2002 and reenlisted in the Alaska Guard hoping I could deploy with Alpha Company to Baghdad in 2005. I missed that deployment but made the most recent call up for Kuwait this past summer.

So I am in Kuwait again as a squad leader. Our mission is to provide security for military camps in Kuwait.

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