Saturday, January 17, 2009

Today In History: Storm front coming.

On this date in 1991, at a little past two in the morning, a formation of Apache helicopter gunships crossed the border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq to take out Iraqi radar positions with volleys of Hellfire missiles. At almost the exact same moment, the first USAF strike packages were entering Iraqi airspace. Desert Storm had officially gotten under way.

For over a month, Coalition warplanes would fly practically at will over Iraq, shooting up and bombing anything that moved or looked slightly suspicious. Then, just when the Iraqis thought it couldn't get any worse, the tanks rolled. In 100 hours after the armored spearhead rolled north the Iraqi army famously went from being "the fourth largest army in the world to the second largest army in Iraq."


scottw said...

It was surprising for us -- we had practiced,practiced,practiced and did not know that the ballon had gone up. Until we heard the sirens blaring then we had an inkling that we were finally going to do it. All along we thought the un would have their way. A lot of memories

Marcus said...

And now after a mere eighteen years the war is almost over.

Anonymous said...

All because The State dept. told Sadaam the U.S. did not care if Iraq attacked Kuwait. Rah, Rah. Another American triumph in Imperialism and another nail in the Constitutions coffin.

reflectoscope said...

What strikes me is the effort to reconfigure overnight so many aircraft from whatever setup they had for the patrols they were flying to lull the Iraqi air defense operators into a pattern, to the config for flattening them and their little friends, too.


scottw said...

Whatever you might think EVERYONE in the theater did a GREAT JOB- PERIOD. If the .gov would have stayed out of it at the end we would have finished it then. No if, ands, or buts. PS... The aircraft were ready and loaded 2 weeks prior to the go time --

Tam said...


"Another American triumph in Imperialism[sic]..."

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Sgt.Fathead said...

Fond memories of a younger, hard charging version of myself; building endless bunkers in the rear, only to move forward and live in those glorious, unlined tents, hours of enjoyment detail cleaning the M60s and M2s in the sand and finally getting it all together for Operation Desert Sabre and that four days and then some of...well, I got the CAR for it! :) Semper Fi, folks, Semper Fi.

Old NFO said...

Remember it well, I just wish we had been allowed to finish the job the FIRST time around...

Gewehr98 said...

I remember it like it was yesterday. I flew many sorties, and the token SCUD launches at night were eerily beautiful. My SW Asia Service Medal sits right there in the shadow box hanging in my office, where I look at it every day.

Imperialism, eh? Give me your lat-lon, and I'll show you Imperialism.

Anonymous said...

Marcus, no it isn't. Keep that it mind. This is the Long War. John Adams the First got us into this.

When I saw Buffs contact-bombing the column retreating from Kuwait City at treetop level (had there been any trees), I got a whole new concept of what Air Superiority really means. We lost one: over the Indian Ocean, the airframe broke up--from old age.

We had a battleship in that war. Gawd, I miss battleships.

Hunter said...

Having just completed a ten hour drive from Daharan (Cement City), to midway betwixt the Neutral Zone and that huge freaking Log Base* to the west, I had just stretched out on top of the Humvee hood to catch a few winks. My cohort woke me up and said, get up, you gotta see this.
Outside, overhead, we watched aircraft running lights approach from the south, heading north, get over us, go out and...just the sound of jet engines. An hour later, running lights would appear overhead and continue south.
Our unanimous opinion was, "Go Air Force, go big."

*What was that, Log Base Charlie? On MSR Dodge?

Combat Engineer, USA, Ret

Marcus said...


No argument my friend, our boys and girls performed brilliantly during ODS and later during OIF. Unfortunately our senior civilian leadership during ODS had little or no operational or strategic vision, and therefore had no clear endstate. When James Baker asked Norman Schwarzkopf "So General, how do you see this thing playing out?" you knew the civilians had completely abrogated their resposibilies to the military.

The problem with OIF/OEF is very similar in that regard as well, but this time around the military has been given the time and resources to finish the job. Sadly though, most of our counterinsurgency lessons were forgotten and we've had to learn them all over again. Better late than never I suppose.


If I may quote a friend of mine, "This last time I went to Iraq things were a bit different than the first time. I had deployed to the war only to find that 'garrison' had broken out." Or perhaps another friend of mine who just returned from there serving on a Military Transition Team, "I volunteered for Iraq so I could finally get some combat experience--what a waste of a year. Next year I'm volunteering for Afghanistan 'cause that's where the action is."

Thanks to General Patraeus, Iraq is turning into a sleepy little backwater. If the boys and girls in uniform want trigger time these days they need to go to Afghanistan, or go home on leave to Detroit, Chicago or D.C. Iraq is far more peaceful than any of those other places.