Fort Bragg Reacts to Latest Iraqi Skirmish
Posted June 29, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — Defense Secretary William Cohen said that there are no plans to increase our forces in the Persian Gulf. However, tensions in the Gulf and at home are certainly heightened after this latest Iraqi incident.
Many of the soldiers and airmen at Fort Bragg were preparing for their July 4th weekends, and had not heard about the latest skirmish by the end of the day.
"I will definitely go home and find out what happened," Sgt. Tyron Bender said. "I am interested in what happened over there."
One soldier said that he had been through similar situations, and there is no need to worry.
"Little skirmishes happen all the time," SPC. Richard Bass said. "I was in Korea when they would have little border shootings and I knew nothing was going to happen with that. So until something really big happens I really don't worry about it."
Local military experts said that it is too early to tell what Iraq's intentions were.
"It could be a provocation," retired Lt. Gen. Robert Springer said. "You know the president is out of the country, and is enjoying some news media visibility in China, lets focus on Iraq for awhile. It could be a personnel error at the missile site."
Many Fort Bragg soldiers hope that it was an isolated incident, but they are ready for whatever happens next.
"One of the things you haven't seen is very frequently do the Iraqis use that radar because they know if the aircraft are up there they are going to get a missile fired at them," Springer said.
For many soldiers the incident was cause for concern.
"It's always in the back of my mind, I mean anywhere." SPC. Gerrardo Rojas said. "If it wasn't the fourth of July or nothing was happening, something could happen at anytime you may never know."
Several soldiers said that they were disgusted with Iraq leader Saddam Hussein.
"It's getting old, they're letting him do too much," SPC. Michael Carr said. "He's getting away with way too much. They should have stopped him when we were over there the the first time."
One important fact to consider is that there has not been an incident like this radar lock on since the fall of 1996. So military expects say that the next few days are critical to find out if this situation was an isolated incident or the start of something else.