Lingamfelter: The Wash Day ‘Attack’

By Scott Lingamfelter

Even in combat, you’ll have a few days to attend the necessities of life. Thirty years ago Thursday was one of those times when after a major Shamal—sandstorm—we were all coated in grit and grime. It was “wash day,” but not just any day. I was cleaning some clothes in a Tupperware container when suddenly there was a large explosion in our headquarters area just 100 meters from our perimeter.

White smoke drifted skyward as a number of our soldiers sounded the alarm for a chemical attack. People quickly donned their gas masks and took cover expecting more explosions since an aircraft had just roared overhead, and another might be on the way. After we investigated a bit, it wasn’t an Iraqi chemical attack. It was a U.S. AIM9 air intercept missile that had been haplessly dropped on top of our position by one of our own aircraft.

Yep, this was a dangerous place, but this incident turned out to be one of the “lighter” stories we experienced. You can read about this one and others far more serious in my book, Desert Redleg: Artillery Warfare in the First Gulf War. I hope you will get a copy today and read along with others as the BIG RED ONE—the storied 1st Infantry Division—prepared to launch its ground assault against the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division, dug in and waiting for us.

Also, if you would like an autographed and personalized copy of Desert Redleg, you can get one by ordering the book directly from my website. It’s a few dollars more because I have to mail it to you via USPS. But as soon as I get your order, I will send it to you in the mail. If I run out of copies, I can do a reorder and will then complete your order with a signed book. Just click Shop/Autographed Copy on my website and place your order there.

Meanwhile, on February 24th, 2021 — 30 years to the day — the First Division Museum will host a presentation by me on the war at 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM (Central Time). On that date, the 1st Division began its invasion of Iraq that led to the liberation of Kuwait. You can register for that presentation here. Desert Redleg: Artillery Warfare in the First Gulf War | First Division Museum (

The Army Heritage Center has also invited me to make a virtual presentation on April 14, 2021 (NEW DATE) at 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. You can register in advance for this webinar at this link and I hope you will.

Finally, as I noted last week, my email is changing. As of 1 March 2021, the CORRECT email will be [email protected]Please delete [email protected] from your contacts now so you will be ready.

Again, I hope you will get a copy of Desert Redleg: Artillery Warfare in the First Gulf War and read it now, even as we approach the 30th anniversary of the war. If you know someone who fought in that war, now would be a good time to get them a copy.


Scott Lingamfelter is a graduate of VMI and the University of Virginia Law School, a retired U.S. Army Colonel after 28 years of service, and a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002-18.

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