Atlanta VA Health Care System
Desert Storm Veterans Recall Experiences
On January 16, Veterans across the nation observed the 24th anniversary of the start of the Persian Gulf War after 100,000 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait. Two Atlanta VA Veterans recalled how they were among more than 500,000 American troops, from all branches of the U.S. military, along with forces from more than 30 allied countries, deployed to the Persian Gulf to remove Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait.
At the time of the war, both Veterans served as Army platoon sergeants in the 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Georgia. They described the months of preparations while living and working in rough condition, followed by four intense days of combat that will live in their memories forever. Adapting to such an uncertain environment, they said, demands that troops be in a constant state of combat readiness. For instance, both recalled the time when they were in full chemical gear and a SCUD missile landed just outside their tent.
“That was kind of scary,” the Veterans said. “But we felt ready to confront and deal with any situation because we train the way we fight.”
In addition to the threats of chemical weapons attacks, the two soldiers remembered how they and their families also had to deal with another unknown – the length of time troops would be deployed overseas.
Both said they remember returning from a 12-hour combat patrol the day coalition forces declared a cease-fire, Feb. 28, 1991, just 100 hours after the ground war began.
"Unlike with Vietnam, in Desert Storm, we went in with a single objective and that objective was accomplished,” the Veterans said. That is something all Veterans should be proud of."