Some of the first casualties of the ground war were brought here, and they included Marine Cpl. Anthony Muskus, who was hit by shrapnel from a land mine blast that killed his buddy.

"Just bang," Muskus, 21, of Agawam, Mass., said on Sunday. "I thought I was dead. But a couple seconds later I heard voices and I knew I was OK."Muskus suffered shoulder and arm injuries when his friend, walking ahead of him near the northern Saudi border, stepped on the mine.

Allied officials have not released overall casualty figures from the offensive but have said the figures were very low.

Marine Lance Cpl. Martin Wilcox, 24, of Seattle, arrived with his left arm heavily bandaged from a bullet wound he suffered while moving into position to breach an Iraqi minefield.

"I was going to try and fire three to five round bursts with my SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon, a semiautomatic rifle) and just rock and roll and that's what wound up happening," he said.

Wilcox said he felt good and wanted to return to his unit. "I'm basically griping right now, but the doctors have done a lot for me," he said.