Hey Mister, Wanna Buy A Flying Carpet?
I met with Gulf War Veteran Jeff McIntyre at his home in Tampa Florida. McIntyre was honorably discharged from the army in 1996 and moved to the Tampa area to be with family. He currently works as a technology consultant with a software development firm.
Derek: So tell me what you did in the war.
Jeff: (laughs) Sounds like a line in some movie, don't it? I was officially attached to the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade out of Fort Monmouth New Jersey but that was just on paper.
Lieutenant Jeff McIntyre with 3 of the Saudi Arabian's that help Military Intelligence during Desert Storm
D: What was the reality?
J: Well I'm really not suppose to say but it's safe to say that I was based a little further south than New Jersey, closer to Arlington Virginia. . .
D: OK I'll let it go at that. When were you shipped overseas to participate in Desert Storm?
J: I left for Saudi in October of 1990. Me and 6 other guys were station near the Kuwait border in this sheiks house. When we got there we were amazed since all you could see was sand and more sand and then all of a sudden sat this guy's mansion. He had a swimming pool, Mercedes and Jeeps, it was like living in Beverly Hills.
D: And this was known by the Army?
J: Oh yeah, they set it up for us. We were suppose to be sorta apart from the rest of the units pouring into Saudi Arabia. There were other groups like us spread out across the country.
D: What was your job?
J: Well the official name for it was recon but we called it 'sneaking and peeking.' We were suppose to go over the border and find out what was going on. Find out how stupid Iraq was and how to exploit that.
D: And were you successful?
J: Not at first. We were trained for recon work against a much more heavily industrialized enemy. I mean if we had been put down in London and told to recon Princess Diana we could have told you what color her panties were by the week's end. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq it was just to desolate. We stuck out like sore thumbs. We finally began using 'moles' to do the work for us. There was no way we could get anywhere.
J: Yeah, local people who could or would work for us. We'd set up missions based on what they could accomplish and then turn 'em loose. We started getting some good intel that way but nothing great.
D: But then you did start getting information. What changed things?
J: That's where it gets a little weird. Luke, er I mean Second Lieutenant Eisert went out to meet with a potential mole and came back with one heck of a story.
J: Well the meeting was set up through the guy we were staying with. It was like his Uncle's brother's cousin or something, his name was unpronounceable so we just called his Alfred. Luke said that he asked the guy if he could find stuff out for us and this guy said something like 'Why do it the hard way?' and invited Luke to come met with some friends of his. Well Luke did and discovered that his friends were basically this secret group of . .I don't know the right word for it in English, you might call them magicians or warlocks. They practiced the old religion, like pre-Islamic.
D: And how did this help you?
J: Well Alfred was in pretty good with this group and when he told them that we needed help getting Hussein out of Kuwait they got all excited. Luke said they did some chanting and some ritual and when the guys came out of it one of them asked for a map of Kuwait. Luke gave it to him and he pointed to a particular spot and said 'That's where a scud sight is at.'
D: And did you believe it?
J: (laughs) Not at first. We told Luke that he had sunk pretty far down to be getting help from sand witches but then as a joke we passed it on up the chain of command. 48 hours later we got a call back congratulating us on finding a hidden launch site. It was situated in a cave system and even the satellite intel guys had passed it over!
J: Hell yeah, freaky. Well after that we all decided to go and see our new benefactors. We brought all kinds of gifts for them and told them how much help they were. They said thanks and agreed to help us more. They did make us promise not to tell any of the higher ups how we were getting the information since what they were doing was way against the law in Saudi. The practice of magic is still punishable by death there. Kinda like American when we had the Salem witch trials.
D: What else did they help you with?
J: Mostly logistics. Where forces were forming up. Where Hussein was staying. The biggest coup they did was help us shut down the Iraqi military computer system.
D: Tell me about that.
J: Well this was around the middle of December and we knew that the airwar was going to start soon. Intelligence was still really thin about what state the Iraqi Airforce was in. They had been trained by the Soviets and had a lot of French Mirage jets in their arsenal. We put the question of how we could hurt the command system of the Iraqi Airforce to the warlocks and they said they could put a spell on it but they needed a something from it. We worked though a Jordanian smuggler and got a printer that was suppose to go to Iraq. These guys just sorta stood around the thing and looked at it and finally asked us if there was a smaller piece they could work with. I opened up the printer and got a microchip and handed it to one guy. They went back to their tent and then 6 hours later brought the chip back to us. Alfred talked to them and told us that everything was set. I put the printer back together and gave it back to the guy from Jordan.
D: Did it work?
J: I guess so! We had air superiority over Iraq in a matter of hours. Later I heard that a rumor was going around that the NSA had put a virus into the computer system. Typical of those guys to claim all the glory. (laughs)
D: Anything else?
J: Well toward the end of the war, a couple of the higher ups were eager to get Saddam himself. We were contacted and told to find him. By this time I think some of our commanding officers knew we were using unorthodox measures but they were like, whatever worked . . .
D: And did you find him?
J: Oh we knew where he was all along! Sometimes we wouldn't pass info up the food chain because it looked too suspicious that we had all the answers but on this one we sat around for 2 days, drinking the Sheiks beer and then told our superiors that we had found the exact location. He just asked the guys and they told us.
D: But obviously nobody did anything.
J: Bullsh*t! Saddam had put himself into a bunker approx. 15 NW of Baghdad. Problem was that the bunker was the toughest bitch he had. It was buried under 30 feet of reinforced concrete. Finally the R and D boys developed a new bomb, a 5,000 pounder called a bunker buster. I heard they used old artillery tubes to make it way. Anyway about 18 days after we told them where he was they dropped 2 of these things on his ass.
D: And failed to kill him.
J: Well yeah, the job was so hurry up that one of the laser spotters missed the bunker entirely. The other hit it and went straight through all the concrete like butter. Exploded on the top levels of the bunker and killed some of Hussein's generals. Hussein must have buried himself a little deeper. If the second bomb would have penetrated then he'd been just an oily spot in a big hole in the ground.
D: Did anyone in your unit keep in contact with the group that helped you?
J: No, when we left back for Stuttgart Germany it was quick. Since they were worried about their own government getting after them for their beliefs they didn't even show themselves at the Sheik's house. A lot of the guys were less than friendly to them also since they were spooked that they could work their magic so well. I was just the other way. If they worked then I thought the army should have hired them on permanently. Made our jobs a lot easier.
-interview with Jeff McIntyre February 8th, 1999
-photo courtesy of Jeff McIntyre