My name is Daniel Wilson. I was a corporal in the Canadian Armed Forces. I served with 416 Squadron in the Gulf War. In 1990 I served as an aero-engine technician with 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta. We were a NATO-tasked rapid reactor squadron capable of deploying as an entire unit anywhere, anytime, and had arguably the best trained pilots and technicians of any CF-18 squadron. With the news of Iraq’s invading Kuwait in the summer of 1990, our focus took on a whole new dimension of reality. No longer were we training for an abstract enemy, we had a real one on our television each night. And how history repeats itself. Only in real life could it happen that 11 years later, the son of President George Bush is saying the same things about Saddam Hussein in preparation for another war.
Four-Sixteen Squadron left Cold Lake, Alberta en route to Doha, Qatar in November, 1990. Our CO shook each of our hands as we boarded the bus on our way to Germany for final NBCW training and then on to Qatar. We were excited, as Canadians had not embarked on a mission such as this since 1950. Qatar is a desert country, just south of Kuwait on the Persian Gulf. The first impression I had of it was, it looked like the planet Mars. It has only one urban area, the city of Doha, and that is where our base of operations was located. We were very concerned with physical security and expected attacks from the PLO which had supported Iraq. Our squadron flew combat air patrols, or CAPS, in support of the coalition fleet in the Gulf. The Americans had an F-16 Squadron and the French had a Mirage Squadron also at Doha. I can remember at the beginning of the campaign, how envious everyone was that the Americans were bombing and we were not. A few F-16s did not return from missions. It made everyone realize that this was for real. (more…)