No recruiting poster could match the message conveyed by the graffiti scrawled on the latrine walls at an air base where thousands of GIs have made their last rest stop before pounding sand in Saudi Arabia.
"It is said, it is done - 101st Airborne Division - Rangers lead the way.""Stealth - Death from out of the night"
"A10 Warthog - a tank's worst nightmare"
"You call, we fall" from an unidentified paratrooper.
And a message to the states: "I love you Leslie Ann, wherever I am."
The latrine is in an expansive maintenance hangar on a military base outside Madrid. The hangar walls and a few remaining fuel pods and other spare parts have been plastered with messages and military artwork by soldiers killing time as they waited for a new air crew or for their plane to be refueled.
Official information channels couldn't begin to match the information on several message boards in the hangar - signs, letters and posters giving details about the numbers and kinds of troop units that had come through.
If only Defense Secretary Dick Cheney could see this.
Activity inside the hangar was in a lullwhen 14 National Guard soldiers from Utah came through the door and were greeted by a sea of hundreds of cots that told of the numbers of soldiers that had surely come through ahead of them.
"When I joined the Guard, I figured I'd fight a fire - and I did. I figured I'd fight a flood, and I did. But Saudi? Who would've imagined," said Sgt. Andrew J. Harris of Lehi.
The 14 men were absorbed by the oversize surroundings, which seemed to remind them they're only a small part of a massive operation.
The noise of several television sets competed with the voice of a soldier who told the displaced Utahns they would be here at least two hours while their plane was being refueled.
Creature comforts, in addition to the aluminum-frame cots, included a small post exchange, a snack bar operated by the military's Morale, Recreation & Welfare concession, and a Red Cross station where volunteers from the community handed out cookies, stationary stamps and toiletries. Chaplains were also available, if needed, members of the group were told.
Most of the men took time to write a letter home - no one knew where the next mail opportunity would come.
Crossing six time zones in a plane virtually without windows left most of the men uncertain what time of day it was. It was a little after midnight Saturday morning when they left Colorado Springs. Warm and sunny when the men arrived, the flight line quickly grew dark as the sun sank on the Spanish horizon.
Following a floodlight powered by a trailer-mounted generator, members of the unit found their way through the darkness to a field kitchen set up in several dirt-floored tents near the hangar. They had just enough time to toss down a midnight breakfast of french toast and fruit before the sergeant in command of the unit gave the word that the plane was ready - the final leg of their trip to Saudi Arabia was about to begin.
Members of the 120th Quartermaster Detachment, pictured from left to right in photo on A1, are: Front row: Steve Willingham, Michael Kidd, Adam Ison and detachment commander Dave Stevens. Middle row: Gary Boren, Michael Wright, Verl Shelley, Rick Brown, Larry Anderson, George Hunter and Darrell Hayes. Back row: Stewart Wilson, Andrew Harris and Stephen Anderson.