Tensions rose on Aug. 2, 1990 as members of the Iraqi Republican Guard invaded Kuwait, immediately triggering a response from the United States. This response resulted in Operation Desert Shield and was a means to prevent Iraqi forces from invading Saudi Arabia. United Nations Security Resolutions 678, an ultimatum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, was issued on Jan. 15, 1991 and demanded that Iraqi forces withdraw from Kuwait immediately. The United States launched air attacks on Jan. 17, 1991 and commenced Operation Desert Storm.
“As we remember the events that occurred 22 years ago, AMVETS would like to thank all of the service members who were involved in Operation Desert Storm,” said AMVETS National Commander Cleve Geer. “At times we, as Americans, must defend the rights of others, and Operation Desert Storm ensured that tyranny did not prevail in the Middle East.”
Operation Desert Storm was an immense success under the supervision of Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, a Vietnam veteran. While the military operation was not as lengthy as today’s conflict in Afghanistan, service members and individuals in the National Guard and Reserve came forward to ensure the concept of freedom was preserved overseas.
“When service members from the Vietnam War returned to the United States, our country did a poor job of welcoming them home,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Stewart Hickey. “Operation Desert Storm was our nation’s opportunity to celebrate what our military does for people in other countries.” Hickey served in the Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm and was in-country from Sept. 15, 1990 to March 22, 1991. He was a company commander for D Company, 3rd Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division.
Operation Desert Storm lasted until Feb. 28, 1991 when those involved declared a cessation of hostilities. Cease-fire terms were negotiated in Safwan, Iraq on March 1, 1991, with Iraq officially accepting the terms on April 6, 1991.
Photos: Top: President George H.W. Bush speaks during a welcoming ceremony for U.S. military personnel just returned from deployment in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm at Sumter, S.C., March 24, 1991. Photo by N. Miller.
Middle: U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (center), commander in chief, U.S. Central Command, walks to the reviewing stand with President George H.W. Bush (left) at the beginning of the National Victory Celebration parade in Washington, D.C., June 8, 1991. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.
Bottom: President George Bush (center) speaks to the crowd at an air base while making one of several Thanksgiving Day visits to U.S. troops who are in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield, Nov. 22, 1990. U.S. Navy photo by JO3 Gerald Johnson.