The U.S did not take long to respond to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein occupying neighboring Kuwait Aug. 2, 1990. Five days later, President George H.W. Bush ordered Americans to the region to start Operation Desert Shield. Air Force Veteran Howard “Pip” Pope, commander for the 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron, was among the first American forces to arrive. Leading a squadron known as the “Ironmen” flying F-15s, they deployed with little notice in a matter of days. After a 14-hour flight from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, they arrived at Dhahran Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Pope kept a diary of the events, excerpts of which follow.