In addition to the thousands of American G.I.s now on station in the Middle East, allied forces there are also, to use a military expression, "good to go."
British Royal Marines have been preparing in the Kuwaiti desert, marines who have seen action in Afghanistan. In the event of war they would form part of a front line of assault. Lieutenant Colonel Ben Curry has been looking to have his men build stamina for, what could be a long desert campaign.”
LIEUTENANT COLONEL BEN CURRY
"You need to have, and maintain, a top level of fitness. Clearly, working in these sorts of temperatures provides an additional challenge.” This, as U.S. forces continue to horn their skills. Major General Swannack of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division speaking at an undisclosed location. He told reporters weather plays a big factor in preparations.
MAJOR GENERAL SWANNACK, U.S. 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION
"We can predict Mother Nature, but we can't control Mother Nature, as we learned last night with 70, peaking 70 knot winds here. But, if you look over a 24-hour period, we do our best business by jumping at night".
General Swannack compares his situation with a loaded gun that has its ‘hammer cocked back’
GENERAL SWANNACK, U.S. 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION
"We're cocking back that hammer just a little bit more every time every day as we go ahead and rig our equipment for a parachute assault".
In any conflict with Iraq, the 82nd would likely provide vital air drop support delivering heavy engineering and building equipment vehicles and water purification gear by air.
At an air base outside Kuwait city members of Britain’s royal air force are feeling some frustration. British Wing Commander Paul Lyall.
PAUL LYALL, BRITISH WING COMMANDER
"We have been here now for a month. We are trained, we are prepared, and we know the desert environment now, and we're ready to go, and frankly, we need to get on with the job."
R.A.F. Flight Lieutenant Paul Miller pilots a "chinook" helicopter.
PAUL MILLER, R.A.F. FLIGHT LIEUTENANT
"A lot of people in the U.K. are not pro-war, and likewise in the rest of the world. Personally, I would prefer that we weren't in this situation, and we didn't have to come to war. However, we're here, we're here to do a job.".
Lieutenant Miller and others have been practicing search and destroy missions over the Kuwaiti desert.
Meanwhile, should it come to war with Iraq, the man who would lead U.S. forces, General Tommy Franks, was in Egypt Tuesday, meeting with President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. Gen. Franks has been touring Arab states -- to gather support for the very real possibility of a U.S.-led attack against the Baghdad regime.