"Attention in the compound!" crackled the Tent City public address system: "Alarm Red."
The alert Sunday sent hundreds of Air Force personnel into their chemical gear and bunkers to wait out Saddam Hussein's Scud missile attacks.Those scary words over the speakers have become a litany to the military men and women within earshot. Sgt. David Brode and Staff Sgt. Darryl Peek, hoping to relieve the tensions those words bring, have turned them into a song.
"Alarm Red. Listen up! Can't you hear that siren?
"Got the word the Scuds are firing.
"Grab your gear. Better get under cover.
"Put on your mask and jump in the bunker. . . .
"Alarm Red . . . Patriots have been deployed.
"Another Iraqi missile destroyed.
"We're closing in and starting to get warm.
"Can't you feel the thunder, Desert Storm!"
When they're on the job, Brode, 26, of Lonaconing, Md., works as a mechanic; and Peek, 28, of Philadelphia, loads bombs on A-10 attack airplanes.
They work 12 hours a day, but in their little free time they often work on their music, scribbling down ideas on paper napkins or picking out a new tune.
The specter of Vietnam and the memory of how the American public turned against that war weigh heavily on the minds of Americans here, many of whom are barely old enough to remember those troubling times.
Brode put his reflections in a folk-style song:
"I was only 9 years old when I saw it on TV,
"Soldiers from the U.S. sent to help a land stay free.
"In '75, when they returned, the public did them in. . . .
"Sixteen years have passed, and I've proudly raised my hand.
"I find myself preserving peace out here in desert sand.
"And like those men before me I shall never lose the faith.
"We pledge our lives and blood to liberate Kuwait."
Peek writes ballads and rap songs and creates a one-man band effect with his electronic keyboard.
One rap, titled "Get Out Kuwait," goes in part:
"There was an Arab man who was insane, who invaded Kuwait, and Saddam was his name. . . .
"Well, George Bush got with the U.N., and said, `I'm on vacation, but count the U.S. in.'
"Sent all his forces, and all of his troops to Saudi Arabia. `Hey, put up your dukes.'
"Sent to the desert, out in the field. Hey, this is war. This is Desert Shield. . . .
"We're over here and we're ready to fight. We just ask one thing. Please write.
"Get out Kuwait. Get out. Get out. Get out Kuwait."