Mullen Visits Kuwait During Desert Storm Ceremonies

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Feb. 25, 2011 — The U.S. military’s top offi­cer arrived here today dur­ing his swing through the Mid­dle East to meet with Kuwaiti offi­cials and par­tic­i­pate in cer­e­monies mark­ing the 20th anniver­sary of Oper­a­tion Desert Storm that lib­er­at­ed Kuwait from Iraqi occu­pa­tion.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is slat­ed to attend a grand mil­i­tary parade tomor­row fea­tur­ing U.S., Kuwaiti and coali­tion forces. Mullen will join 22 pres­i­dents, 64 heads of state and oth­er senior offi­cials attend­ing the cer­e­monies.

Air and mar­itime dis­plays and wreath-lay­ing activ­i­ties are planned, cul­mi­nat­ing a month-long com­mem­o­ra­tion that also marks Kuwait’s 50 years of inde­pen­dence.

U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand and its com­po­nents are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fes­tiv­i­ties, with Third Army and U.S. Army Cen­tral lead­ing the sup­port. The parade will fea­ture Army sol­diers, tac­ti­cal vehi­cles and heli­copters. The Wash­ing­ton-based 3rd U.S. Infantry, “The Old Guard,” will march and car­ry the col­ors of Oper­a­tion Desert Storm units, Army Cen­tral Com­mand offi­cials said.

These units include CENTCOM, Third Army, 7th Corps, 1st Infantry Divi­sion, 1st Cav­al­ry Divi­sion, 1st Armored Divi­sion, 3rd Armored Divi­sion, 18th Air­borne Corps, 82nd Air­borne Divi­sion, 101st Air­borne Divi­sion, and the 24th Infantry Divi­sion.

Marines from Marine Corps Cen­tral Com­mand For­ward, based in Bahrain, also will march, offi­cials there con­firmed.

The Navy is slat­ed to show­case three F/A-18 fight­er jets and par­tic­i­pate in a mar­itime demon­stra­tion off the Kuwaiti coast. In addi­tion, the Air Force will fea­ture numer­ous air­craft, rang­ing from a C-130 Her­cules car­go plane to F-16 fight­er air­craft, ARCENT offi­cials said.

Kuwait’s com­mem­o­ra­tion kicked off Jan. 24, with Kuwaiti marines car­ry­ing the Kuwaiti col­ors as they ran to the cen­ter of the kingdom’s Qaruh Island. That cer­e­mo­ny reen­act­ed events 20 years ear­li­er when the island became the first land the U.S. and Kuwaiti mil­i­taries lib­er­at­ed from Sad­dam Hussein’s forces.

“We have a long-term com­mit­ment to this region, and for the past 20 years we have proved that it is a com­mit­ment of deeds and not just words, Army Lt. Gen. William G. Web­ster Jr., Third Army com­man­der, said dur­ing that event.

Web­ster said the month-long com­mem­o­ra­tion activ­i­ties “fur­ther illus­trate that our part­ner­ship is that of equals who are com­mit­ted to peace, pros­per­i­ty and free­dom through­out the region.”

Iraqi forces invad­ed Kuwait at Sad­dam Hussein’s order Aug. 2, 1990. Saddam’s goal, his­to­ri­ans say, was to acquire Kuwait’s vast oil reserves, can­cel Iraq’s debt to Kuwait and expand Iraq’s pow­er in the region. Kuwait suf­fered harsh atroc­i­ties dur­ing the Iraqi occu­pa­tion.

Five days after the inva­sion, a U.S.-led coali­tion of more than 30 coun­tries oper­at­ing under a Unit­ed Nations man­date launched Oper­a­tion Desert Shield. The first U.S. forces, F-15E Eagle fight­er jets from Lan­g­ley Air Force Base, Va., arrived in Sau­di Ara­bia Aug. 7, 1990.

Then-Pres­i­dent George H. W. Bush autho­rized the first call-up of select­ed reservists for 90 days by exec­u­tive order Aug. 22, 1990. Anoth­er exec­u­tive order issued Nov. 12 extend­ed that peri­od to 180 days. Ulti­mate­ly, Bush autho­rized the call-up of up to 1 mil­lion Nation­al Guards­men and reservists for up to two years.

When Sad­dam Hus­sein refused to com­ply with inter­na­tion­al demands and leave Kuwait, Oper­a­tion Desert Storm’s air war phase kicked off at 3 a.m., Jan. 17, 1991. The allied ground assault began about six weeks lat­er, on Feb. 24.

The ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties was offi­cial­ly declared Feb. 28, but not before an Iraqi Scud mis­sile destroyed the U.S. bar­racks in Dhahran, Sau­di Ara­bia, killing 28 U.S. sol­diers.

The Unit­ed States suf­fered 148 com­bat deaths and 145 non-com­bat deaths dur­ing the sev­en-month con­flict. In addi­tion, 467 U.S. ser­vice mem­bers were wound­ed in action.

The Defense Depart­ment announced the first troop rede­ploy­ment home -– the 24th Infantry Divi­sion from Fort Stew­art, Ga., on March 1, 1991.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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