The memories of what happened on 25 June 1996 are still very vivid to me and I’m sure I will never forget what happened that night. I was standing on the balcony smoking a cigarette.  My suite mates and I had just finished watching “Broken Arrow ”, not much of a movie really, Hollywood can’t seem to ever get the military right.  The others had left to go about their nightly rituals of showers or just personal time. I glanced down at my watch and noted that it was ten o’clock, I put out my cigarette thinking that I was an hour late for bed, having just come off mid shift hours I was trying desperately to get my sleep schedule straightened out.  No matter what hours you are used to, the Air Force always has a different schedule in mind.  I came in the sliding glass doors and struggled to get them closed (the rollers had long since given up their useful lives), I walked through the living room and into my bedroom (actually the dining room) and  I began to clean up the trash left over from packing because I was scheduled to leave on Thursday.  This had been a long and miserable TDY and I was very happy to be going home. Without warning the whole room began violently shaking.  I will remember this horrible rumbling sound for the rest of my life, unbelievably loud in intensity.  Having lived in California I thought it was an earthquake at first.  An empty gray metal wall locker, which served to section off the room between my room-mate and I, began to shimmy its way across the room towards me.  Not knowing where to seek sanctuary I laid down on my bed and curled up in a ball, with my arms and hands instinctively encircling my head for protection.  Time slowed and the rumbling and shaking continued on and on.  I began to think this can’t possibly be an earthquake; it must be a scud (missile).  My mind was racing, the rumbling and shaking continued.  I began to feel afraid, I kept thinking “Make it stop!?  Oh God please make it stop.”  The wall locker fell on top of me; I shoved it off, “Please, please make it stop!”  All at once the chaos subsided, what had seemed like minutes had only been a few seconds.  I first made sure I wasn’t injured, and then climbed over the other four wall lockers which had tumbled over, through the door and out into the hallway. My first thought being to check on my suite mates.  Looking right, I noticed shards of glass were everywhere; the sliding glass doors were in the middle of the living room.  I was lucky, two minutes later I would have been standing on the balcony and would have been cut to ribbons by all the glass. Steve and “Teddy” came out their rooms.  Everyone was asking “are you OK, are you sure?”  Once satisfied that no one was injured we began checking the other rooms, to see if anyone else was in the suite. Nothing, everyone else was out.  We then proceeded out to the entry hallway, the bulletin board said “In the event of attack stay in the entryway.”  We discussed this briefly and decided that the safest place would be outside.  Being on the first floor of an eight story building seemed like a bad idea.  What if the building came down? We then noticed the sound of the shower in the small bathroom off the entry.  Steve banged on the door.  My room-mate Jeff was in there, he said he was fine and was going to finish his shower.  We tried to explain to him the seriousness of the situation and he insisted that he would be out soon.  So, we told him that we were going downstairs. All three of us headed out of the suite and down the flight of pink marble stairs to the main lobby.  The exit door frames were hanging off the hinges and looked as if someone had grabbed them and twisted, glass was everywhere.  We made our way out through the rubble and carefully outside. Broken glass was everywhere, why I still had my shoes on I can’t really say as I always took them off when I came home.  This was one of the first strange coincidences that happened that night. Steve and I went out between the buildings, still unsure whether the buildings were safe.  We then saw it; about two hundred feet high, between the buildings, a huge mushroom shaped blast cloud.  I remember it was incredibly light, at the time it didn’t register why, later I realized it was the palm trees outside the parameter which were on fire illuminating the night.  I spoke quietly to myself “Those bastards finally did it”, I thought to myself after all the beefed-up security and all the briefings, “Those bastards finally did it.” Steve and I stood there each reflecting on his own thoughts, for a few seconds.  All those years of training kicked in; Steve turned to me saying, “Do you have a flashlight? We have to get over there and help.” We both ran back to our building, in the stairwell were several people bleeding mostly from arms, legs, and faces.  One of them I recognized, Young, a line driver from mid-shift.  I checked his wounds; they looked bad but were only scratches.  He was OK.  I looked around and couldn’t find Steve.  I figured he had gone for his flashlight.  I looked for him in the suite but couldn’t find him.  I found out later he had taken one of the more seriously wound to his room. He had a glass shard imbedded in his foot and there were no first aid kits to be had, so Steve wound up using one of his bed sheets.  The severity of the wound was attested to later by the eighteen inch circle of blood in Steve’s carpet. Retrieving my Mini Maglight, I then headed back downstairs.  The injured from other buildings were starting to come outside and were being helped to the clinic.  I remember the sight of wounded being carried piggy-back style, with their arms and legs wrapped in blood soaked sheets, Looking down I noticed the concrete sidewalk was covered with glass and blood splatters, in some places there were large puddles.  At this point the light was gone (the fires must have burned out).  Out of the blackness a stream of wounded were appearing on their way to the clinic. One particular sight that will haunt me forever, a big white weight lifter guy carrying a small black fellow wrapped in a blood soaked sheet in his arms, heading towards the clinic.  Scenes like these were repeated over and over again that night, Airman tending to their fallen comrades.  We took care of each other, we had to. I then took off running toward where I had seen the cloud.  Upon reaching the parking lot I saw a girl about ten feet from the pavement limping, many cuts visible on her legs.  I offered to help her, but she said, “I’m OK, please go to the building and help the others.”  I saw two uninjured and told them to help her to the clinic.  They responded immediately, happy to be able to help in some way. Having no idea exactly where I was going, other than towards the blast I had seen.  I ran to the building (133) on the left of the blast, which was actually the building next to the one seen so many times on television. Arriving outside, I turned on my flashlight and noticed huge strands of barbed wire and glass everywhere.  The residents were starting to come out of the building.  Many, I learned later, suffered cut feet from the glass on the ground.  In their haste they had forgotten to put on shoes.  The sidewalk had several strands of barbed wire across it.  I put my light in my mouth and began clearing a pathway.  I wasn’t until later that I realized this was the perimeter fence.  It had come to rest more than a hundred feet from where it was originally.  With the pathway cleared I looked up, stretchers were beginning to be brought out of the doorway. I hurried over to the picnic table area, where the wounded on stretchers and doors were being placed on the ground.  Someone yelled to clear off the table next to me, I grabbed a piece of metal and began pushing the debris off, someone from the other end upended it and all the glass slid off.  Immediately a litter was placed there, the victim was unconscious.  The stretcher bearers ran back into the building, I was alone with him, my vision narrowed, I remember it like looking through a tube.  I tried to remember self-aid and buddy care, but could recall nothing to help in this situation.  I examined his wounds, his left arm was almost completely detached, and the torso was sliced open in several locations with large chunks of tissue hanging out. The extent of his injuries were completely beyond my ability to stabilize. I then realized he was already dead, there was nothing I could do.  I remember thinking to myself “how can this be, a few minutes ago I was watching a movie.” Someone was screaming for medics.  There were none.  I can remember feeling completely helpless, we had no medical supplies and our training was so limited.  There were many others around me, I’m sure feeling the same way.  It’s just that you felt so damn helpless and so terribly alone. The "On Scene" commander, the guy with a radio, was standing on top of a picnic table.  He ordered all of us to the Desert Rose (the Chow Hall).  He said, “Secondary attacks are possible.”  I heard sirens coming; help was on the way.  Reasoning that many times the best way to help is to let the professionals do their job.  I left for the Desert Rose. At the Desert Rose there were probably a couple hundred people standing around.  Adam Smith was there, he was not only my Airman (he worked for me on mid-shift Control) but a friend.  We stood there for a while and discussed our disbelief in what had happened.  All the carnage we had seen had such an unreality about it.  I believe this was due to our unprepared mental state for such an attack.  Chief Whitley showed up and asked us to find the ammo people and have them all stay at the corner of Building 110, which was right next to the Desert Rose.  The Ammo guys as usual were more than happy to comply, they put their complete trust in the Chief.  We began checking each other for wounds, those in need of attention were escorted to the clinic.  One of the ammo guys was an E.M.T.  Somewhere in all the chaos he had gotten his hands on a bag full of bandages.  He began patching up the more minor injuries among us. We stayed there for about three hours; the waiting seemed endless as we all sat in silence.  Each person trying to make sense of what they had experienced.  The Third Country Nationals (TCN ’s for short) brought us water and orange juice.  I take back all the bitching about the food; these guys were real champs that night.  Karen Fanning had the fore thought to bring a carton of cigarettes with her.  That night, people who had never smoked before in their lives took up the habit. At about two-thirty we were told to find a place to sleep in Building 110.  Adam and I wound up in the Master Sergeants suite.  It was there we saw the news reports on the bombing.  Our major concern was that family members in the States had seen these reports and were hysterical, not knowing the whereabouts or safely of their loved ones. There was a great deal of cursing CNN that night.  Adam and I decided to go out on the balcony and smoke, the balcony looked down on the Desert Rose which had become the Clinic.  We looked directly down on the triage area; the blood was literally running across the pavement to the drain, scattered bandages, and a few stretchers.  There were no injured to be seen, they had all been transported, to hospitals or were inside the Desert Rose.  At this point Adam became extremely upset; the emotional shock was taking a terrible toll on him.  He couldn’t get over the injured people and destruction he had seen.  I spent a great deal of time talking with him that night, focusing on his problems gave me an opportunity not to think about my own feelings. We were allowed to return to our own buildings about four A.M. Adam, Carol Easily (another Ammo Troop) and I weren’t tired so we walked down to the bombed building.  The perimeter was taped off like a crime scene with Security Police standing guard.  We sat on the curb and talked with some to the Cops.  Many of them were in partial uniforms or civilian clothes, the only identifier were their M-16’s.  They told us many stories.  One of them had been a lookout on top of the bombed building; the only thing that had saved him was he was away checking his mail at the time of the explosion.  He told us of the playground on the other side of the fence and the children that were playing there, as well as the destruction to downtown Al Khobar.  He also told us the truck had tried to come on base and was stopped.  I shudder to think of what might have happened if the bombers had gotten through.  Additionally, he said the bombers had left their truck and gotten in a car and driven off.  For some reason, I think I would have felt better if they would have died in the blast.  There might have been some justice in that.  He also said there were reports of three other bombings downtown: the Old Mall, New Mall and a Thai restaurant.  All these places where know to be frequented by Americans. The sun was coming up and a terrifying scene was before us.  In the daylight the damage was very apparent, with almost all the windows blown out the sliding glass doors were gone from most suites, and the concrete was stained with blood as if someone had gone crazy with red paint.  It all seemed like a distant memory, but the evidence was all around.  The entire compound we knew so well seemed to have a surreal quality, just hours before everything was so normal.  The emotional shock was starting to set in. The three of us walked back to our building.  All the ammo guys were outside and Chief Whitley was giving a briefing.  He told us not to worry about the Dump (Munitions Area), everything was OK out there, and not to plan on going to work until mid-shift.  He also said to get some rest and then to help with the clean-up.  In all my years in the Air Force I have never seen sleep put before work.  He then dismissed us. On the way back to my suite I noticed the phones were unlocked in the lobby, usually we had to sign-out the key, only being allotted one call a week.  I thought I should call home.  After three tries I finally got through to Munitions Control at Kirtland AFB.  I reasoned that they would be the best ones to spread the word to my wife and my shop that I was all right. I then went back to my suite on the first floor.  Upstairs the destruction was all around.  The sliding glass doors were in the middle of the living room, the kitchen door was blown-in, most of the windows in the rooms were gone, the front door jam was pushed out about five inches, and the doors between the living room and my suite were so cockeyed they wouldn’t close.  I found the door latch in the middle of my room; it must have gone flying off during the explosion.  The under-pressure that caused all of this must have been tremendous!  I have spent the last fifteen years of my life working with explosives, but I was truly in awe of the explosive power unleashed here. My suite mates and I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the debris.  Trying to follow the Chief’s instructions I laid down to get some sleep, but it wouldn’t come.  I think I was past the point of exhaustion.  I could see no reason to just lie there, so I decided to go downstairs.  To my surprise; the phones were still open in the lobby; I could only imagine what Missy was thinking back home.  Again, after several tries I got through, when I heard her answer the emotions came like a flood.  As I relayed what had happened I cried.  The horror was too much to keep in.  Afterwards, I went upstairs and slept, I was lucky many other couldn’t.  The memories were too terrible or there was the fear that when they closed their eyes it would happen again. I still get choked up when I think about it today, but it’s not the terror that gets to me.  It’s the overwhelming sense of pride for the Air Force people I served with there.  These men and women gave everything they had that night; they are all in the truest sense of the word Heroes.