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Brief Reports From The Field EDITORS: The following reports are based in part on pool

January 24, 1991

Brief Reports From The Field EDITORS: The following reports are based in part on pool dispatches which were subjected to review by U.S. and British military authorities.

IN EASTERN SAUDI ARABIA (AP) _ Although they are far from the front, the specter of chemical warfare haunts doctors and nurses at the U.S. Army’s 85th Evacuation Hospital who would have to treat any contaminated soldiers.

″It’s that kind of unknown element because none of us have ever faced that before. That makes you a bit apprehensive,″ said Col. Bob Leaver, 50, a neurosurgeon from Hyannis, Mass.

The medical staff of 26 doctors, 47 nurses and 93 medics are trained and ready to treat soldiers exposed to varieties of poison gas, he said.

″It’s scary, nonetheless. All of us are taking pretreatment pills that allow you to treat someone if they are exposed,″ Leaver said.

The drug, phisostigmine, ″makes your system more acceptable to further treatment should you be exposed to the gas.″

The hospital has 408 beds - 48 in intensive care, 160 intermediate and 200 minimal care. There are six operating tables, two each in three operating rooms.


ABOARD A U.S. TANKER PLANE (AP) - A pas de deux of warplanes and ″gas stations in the sky″ 20,000 feet above the Persian Gulf is allowing allied bombers to constantly strike Iraq.

All aircraft going to strike Iraqi targets from air bases in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf make an obligatory ″pit stop″ in the skies.

″They refuel on the way to their mission and sometimes come for more,″ said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Arlen Rens, 43.

″It’s a real choreographed ballet and it’s really pretty when it goes right,″ he added.

And Wednesday, a smooth day, everything went right.

Planes cautiously approached the tanker then glided gently under it before vanishing from sight in a powerful reactor boost.

Pilots say at least one tanker is airborne at all times.

The tanker plane used by the Marines Aircraft Wings is the vintage Hercules KC-130. The Air Force prefers the bigger, faster but less versatile KC-10 for its mid-air refueling.


DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (AP) - The 700 journalists covering war operations here have the chance to get a close-up look at one of the Patriot missiles that have defended the city from Iraqi Scuds.

The scorched orange section of a missile has been erected as a 5-foot-high sculpture in the lobby of the Dahran International Hotel, which news organizations use as a base for coverage of the Persian Gulf war.

Journalists, hotel employes and members of allied forces - most of whom have huddled in air-raid shelters as the Patriots blasted Iraqi missiles from the sky - have stopped to admire and pose with the remnant.

″We love you all,″ say letters painted in white on the missile.

Chip Beck, a U.S. Navy artist, added an unflattering portrait of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.


IN CENTRAL SAUDI ARABIA (AP) - When missile alerts sounded in the opening days of war, Filipino cook Felicito Hernandez pulled a large black plastic bag over his head.

Wednesday was the best day for him since the war began: He finally got a gas mask.

On Sunday night, when Iraq launched Scud missiles at the Saudi capital of Riyhad, an air base here was put on black alert, meaning chemical weapons were suspected or present in the area.

U.S. soldiers quickly donned gas masks and chemical suits, but the foreigners serving in the dining hall had none.

″It was sad to see them with plastic bags over their heads,″ said senior Master Sgt. Robert Smolen, 45, of Marcellus, NY., a member of the New York Air National Guard. ″I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. They may be third country workers, but they are human beings.″

Smolen said he applied some pressure, and the workers’ employer, the Saudi Catering Co., supplied the masks.

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