T306 Block 1: Activity 37

When you talk about experience what do you mean?

Describe what was, for you, a new experience.

Experiences are circumstances that I’ve been through that I’ve remembered. They shape my perspectives and, eventually, my worldview. They are things that I may remember in the future during new experiences, and these prior experiences may shape how I act in the new ones.

I was in the RAF for 12 years and part of that time was spent with a tactical unit in Kuwait. I wasn’t running around in the desert or anything (thankfully!) but I did get to maintain the communications systems at the main airbase there. I’d seen the bombing of Iraq on the television – like everyone else – but had no direct experience of war until I got to Kuwait.

I only got to see some of the aftermath in Kuwait. The airbase had several reinforced concrete aircraft shelters and each of these had been bombed by the allies during the first gulf war. The concrete in these things was several meters thick and these bombs had somehow penetrated all the way through, no doubt destroying everything underneath. I’ve stood on top of one of these shelters and looked down the massive hole left by these bombs. The amount of energy released in these impacts must have been utterly immense.

You really don’t get an idea of how much damage can be done by modern weapons until you’ve seen it yourself. The television makes it look terrifying but you get a feel for how terrible when you can touch the results.

There were other war relics visible in the squash courts. These were used for executions by the Iraqis and the bullet holes were still there. The pragmatism of the British military meant that there was a special “let” rule so that balls ricocheting out of one of these holes would be replayed.

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