IN EASTERN SAUDI ARABIA -- When members of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment fired a Patriot missile against an Iraqi Scud headed for Riyadh, it was the first time that most had ever heard their own weapon in action. Some mistook it for the Scud striking them.
"It sounded like something was impacting on our site," said Army Capt. Kevin Groome of Baltimore, the unit's commander. "It was pretty interesting," he said of the night of Jan. 21 when the first Scuds, which many had thought could not reach their position, bore in on them.
Captain Groome commanded the unit that was awarded the Army's Commendation Medal Saturday for their performance that night.
Company members had all trained with the Patriot, but many either had not witnessed a firing or had not witnessed one at such close range. Costing from $500,000 to $1 million each, the missiles are not fired often in training.