ODSSA Chronology of Gulf War
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The Commander of Army
Central Command, and the Third United States Army, Lieutenant General
John J. Yeosock meets with the Pentagon Leadership to review the
Army’s portion of the Central Command’s draft operations plan for the
Middle East. The Army Operations Center at the Pentagon will serve as
the DESERT SHIELD management center for the Department of the Army.
A crisis action team, with
representatives from each Army Staff element, is planned to man the
center on a 24- hour basis, compiling daily comprehensive briefings
and updating them continuously. The Operations mission will be to
monitor personnel, equipment, and maintenance requirements for the
troops in the field, and assisted in correcting shortcomings as they
The center will also
coordinate the plans for Army support, the allocation of assets to
meet worldwide demands, and the dissemination of information to and
from the field. Less than twenty-four hours after this organizational
meeting, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
The Army Chief of Staff
General Vuono and his deputy for operations, Lieutenant General
Dennis J. Reimer, will create a strategic planning team. This group,
with six permanent members and additional temporary specialists as
needed, will have the responsibility for long-range planning and will
try to anticipate U.S. Army needs during this time. The team will
study such issues as unit rotation, force replacement and
reinforcement, along with reemployment, as well as overall strategy,
sustainment, and finally the war termination.
Iraq invades Kuwait. By
seizing Kuwait, Iraq had obtained control of 10 per cent of the
worlds oil supply and the exports of 4 million barrels per day.
Kuwaiti oil had traditionally been moved by super tankers, but Iraq
only transported 400,000 barrels per day this way.
The rest went through two
pipelines, one across Turkey with a potential capacity of 1.7 million
barrels per day, and the other across Saudi Arabia, which could carry
800,000 barrels per day to a terminal in the Red Sea. Both pipelines
had been built during the Iran-Iraq War as a means to circumvent
Iran’s naval blockade of the Persian Gulf and the closure of the
Syrian pipeline as an act of support for Iran.
Six U.S. Navy Middle East
Force ships in Persian Gulf (continuous Middle East Force presence
since 1949). The USS INDEPENDENCE Carrier Battle Group is in the
Indian Ocean and the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Carrier Battle Group is
in the Mediterranean.
U.S. President George Bush
meets with the Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan to try to
convince the Saudi leadership that the U.S. government is serious
about their commitment in the Middle East. The Saudi government is
showing reluctance in cooperating with the U.S. proposals, they are
concerned that the American government might follow previous patterns
of not following through with their commitments.
A case in point, was the
dispatch of some F-15 aircraft by the U.S. in response to the
overthrow of the Shah of Iran, only to be followed by the
announcement that they were unarmed, and the subsequent disengagement
by the Reagan Administration, in which Bush played a major role as
Vice-President, following the 1983 attack on the Marine Corps
barracks in Beirut.
Ambassador Bandar was also
briefed this afternoon by U.S. Secretary of Defense Cheney, and the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell. He was
told that the American proposal was to insert ground troops and not
to initiate a limited air strike strategy.
To increase the powers of
persuasion, the Ambassador was shown the latest satellite photography
of the three Iraqi armored divisions that had spearheaded the
invasion. One was already moving through Kuwait and into the
“neutral zone” on the Saudi-Kuwaiti border, shared by the
two neighbors, and was ten miles from the border. Saddams other units
were following in a similar pattern, a pattern that was observed
prior to the invasion of Kuwait.
U.S. Central Command
commander, General Schwarzkopf, his planners, and his intelligence
analysts, meet with U.S. President George Bush at Camp David. They
describe to the President how 40,000 light forces could be in the
Kuwaiti theater within a few weeks. To implement fully, Plan 1002-90
would take 250,000 men and four months. General Yeosock suggests to
General Schwarzkopf that Major General William G. Pagonis act as
ARCENT’s deputy commander for logistics.
Although there was no doubt
about air superiority, this would be, it was stressed, a defensive
force, inadequate for offensive operations. Following that briefing,
General Schwarzkopf and U.S. Secretary of Defense Cheney fly to Saudi
Arabia to negotiate the deployment of U.S. troops to that country.
The USS INDEPENDENCE
Carrier Battle Group is en route to North Arabian Sea.
The Saudi National Guard, a
brigade sized unit, is mobilized. The Saudi military strength is
reported as being 70,000 and well equipped. The Saudi Air Force has
both the air defense and the strike versions of the Tornado, along
with fifty-seven F-15’s, and ninety-eight F-5’s. The Saudi Army, with
two armored, one mechanized, and five infantry battalions, had some
550 tanks and 850 artillery pieces.
Operation SHARP EDGE, a
noncombatant evacuation operation authorized by the U.S. State
Department to remove U.S. citizens caught in civil war in Liberia,
begins. The USS SAIPAN (LHA-2), the USS PONCE (LPD-15), the USS
SUMTER (LST-1188), and the USS PETERSON (DD-969), standing off the
coast of Liberia, insert a USMC reinforced rifle company into the
U.S. Embassy compound in Monrovia for increased security.
U.S. Secretary of Defense
Dick Cheney travels to Saudi Arabia.
The European Community
Foreign Ministers agree on a series of tough measures against Iraq,
including an embargo on oil exports and a freeze on Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets.
The U.S. Secretary of
Defense travels to Saudi Arabia to discuss the request for assistance
and the deployment of U.S. forces in the country. The U.S. Secretary
of Defense then travels to Egypt and obtains permission to send U.S.
warships through the Suez Canal. President George Bush, who was
meeting with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the Oval
office, receives a call from U.S. Secretary of Defense Chaney,
reporting from Riyadh, that King Fahd was prepared to accept American
troops on his territory.
ARCENT commander General
Yeosock arrived in Saudi Arabia. With the help of the handful of
American officers who had been involved in the modernization of the
Saudi Arabian National Guard, he set up an interim headquarters.
Resolution 661 is adopted
by the United Nations. The resolution prohibits all trade with Iraq
or Kuwait and any transfer of funds. The only exception was
“supplys intended strictly for medical purposes, and in
humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs”.
The USS INDEPENDENCE
Carrier Battle Group arrives in the Gulf of Oman. The USS DWIGHT D.
EISENHOWER Carrier Battle Group transits the Suez Canal en route Red
Sea. The USS SARATOGA Carrier Battle Group and the battleship the USS
WISCONSIN, depart for east coast ports on their scheduled deployment.
U.S. Secretary of Defense
Cheney meets with Egyptian Leaders to discuss the Gulf crisis. Upon
completion of his meetings with the Egyptian Leadership, the
Secretary returns to Washington and briefes President Bush on the
Middle East situation. Cheney told the president that King Fahd had
agreed to permit the United States to send forces to defend the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
After hearing Cheney’s
report, the president approves the deployment of combat forces to the
Saudi kingdom. Shortly thereafter Cheney issued a directive assigning
Central Command the missionto deter and counter any Iraqi aggression
against Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of
Staff issues the first DESERT SHIELD deployment order to two U.S.
F-15 squadrons, the U.S. Maritime Pre-positioned Squadrons 2 and 3,
based on the islands of Diego Garcia and Guam; two U.S. carrier
battle groups, the ready brigade of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division,
and an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) unit. The U.S.
Secretary of Defense Cheney’s directive unleashed what became the
most concentrated and complex projection of American military power
since World War 11.
The first U.S. Army units
of the XVIII Airborne Corps begin deploying to Saudi Arabia.
Lieutenant General Gary E. Luck had taken over the command of the
corps in July 1990 after serving as the commander of the joint U.S.
Special Operations Command, and then the Army Special Operations
Command. The ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 2nd
Brigade, commanded by Colonel Ronald Rokosz, is deployed, along with
its light antitank weapons and M551 Sheridan’s. One battalion of
AH-64 attack helicopters from the Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne
Division, accompanies the 2nd Brigade.
The lead element of the
XVIII Airborne Corps Assault Command Post, Brigadier General Edison
Scholes commanding, departs the Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina,
in one C-141 Starlifter aircraft carrying 77 personnel, one
communications vehicle, and one pallet of equipment,
The lead aircraft carrying
the Corps Assault Command Post lands at Torrejon Air Base, Spain, for refueling.
General Pagonis lands in
Riyadh. Four hand-picked logisticians – Colonel Stephen J. Koons,
Colonel John B. Tier, Colonel Robert Klineman and Lieutenant Colonel
James Ireland deployed with the General, and the remainder of his
personally selected 22-man team join him within a few days. The team
arrives in-country just hours before the first transport carrying the
ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division hit the tarmac at
Dhahran, 250 miles away.
U.S. President George Bush
announces troop deployment. At the same time that the U.S. President
Bush is making his announcement, Iraq announces the annexation of
Kuwait. President Bush signs a financial conflict – of – interest
waiver authorizing Secretary Baker and ten other cabinet officers and
officials – including Brent Scowcroft, Robert Mosbacher, and Robert
Gates – to participate in “current United States policy-making,
discussions, decisions, and actions in response to the Iraqi invasion
of Kuwait.” White House council Boyden Gray requests the
President sign waivers for all officials with substantial oil,
defense, or other business holdings that might be effected by the
Persian Gulf Crisis.
James Baker departs for a
fishing trip to Wyoming .