Chronology of the War- Updated Dec 26, 1999

ODSSA Chronology of Gulf War


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August 1:

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

became evident.

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.

August 2:

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.

August 3:

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.

August 4:

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.


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.

August 5:

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.

August 6:

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”.

August 7:


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.

August 8:

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 .