In January 1991, members from all five military branches joined a coalition to push out Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait for Operation Desert Storm.
During January 2021, VA will profile these Veterans in a series of stories for Desert Storm’s 30th anniversary.
During Operation Desert Storm, there was an anthem that came to define the war: Lee Greenwood’s country song “God Bless the U.S.A.” When Greenwood originally released the song in 1984, it was moderately successful. The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart July 28, 1984. However, the song took on a renewed life during Operation Desert Storm.
Gary Kunich originally wrote this first-hand account the morning after Desert Storm started, when he was a 21-year-old Air Force sergeant. It’s 11:55 p.m., Jan. 16. The clock continues ticking past the United Nations’ deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait. While the world holds its breath in anticipation of war, F-16s sit silently on a quiet runway. Will these mighty, Fighting Falcons fly into combat tonight? If they do, when?
Borne the Battle #226: Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, President and CEO, National Desert Storm Memorial Association
This week’s Borne the Battle episode features Marine Corps Veteran Scott Stump, who discusses his military career to becoming President and CEO of the National Desert Storm Memorial Association.
On the 30th anniversary of Desert Storm, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Michael Scott Speicher, an F/A-18 pilot who was the first combat casualty.
During Desert Storm, there were many faces of the war. President George H.W. Bush made decisions as the commander in chief and delivered remarks from the White House to the American people on the war’s opening night. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney advised the president on policy. Army Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf led the troops downrange. Serving as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, there was an Army Veteran advising Bush and Cheney while working with Schwartzkopf: Gen. Colin Powell. Powell was less than a year into his tour as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Operation Desert …
When Air Force Veteran Greg Feest took off in his F-117 Jan. 16, 1991, there was a 50/50 chance he wasn’t coming back. Iraq was one of the most heavily defended airspaces in history. According to the Gulf War Air Power Survey, there were 972 anti-aircraft artillery sites, 2,404 guns and 6,100 mobile guns. There were also surface-to-air missiles: 6,500 SA-7s, 400 SA-9s, 192 SA-13s, and 288 SA-14s. Pilots spent months planning operations, developing routes and making target lists during Operation Desert Shield. During that planning, the numbers were grim. For the 12 F-117s that left Jan. 16, commanders said six might not return. Most spouses didn’t know when the Desert Storm air war started and watched the TV coverage from the U.S. Bridget McGovern, Feest’s wife and also an Air Force Veteran, knew hours before. She watched from a command center at their base in Saudi Arabia.
In 1990 the newest aircraft in the Air Force’s fleet of KC-135 air refueling tankers was already 25 years old. The venerable airframe based on the Boeing 707 airliner and its crews were being asked to do something few of them had been trained to do – take part in a conventional war.
Desert Shield and Desert Storm Veterans who want to comment on their health concerns or ask about Gulf War Research can do so through the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses.
Desert Storm was a short war, but Veterans from that era still have many different avenues and programs to connect with VA.
Nearly 700,000 men and women served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. Now, three decades later, as many as a third of that population are affected by a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that have plagued them following their return from deployment. The symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, bowel discomfort, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, skin problems, and memory impairment. VA clinicians and researchers often call this condition “Gulf War illness” in the medical literature.
During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, over 695,000 service members deployed, while 2.2 million were in service during the war. As of 2019, there were nearly 5 million living Veterans, of whom 2.7 million served exclusively during the Pre-9/11 time period. Here’s how the access VA.
While deployed during Operation Desert Storm, a horrific accident changed Marine Corps Veteran Kevin Jackson’s life. In a short period, he went from normal sight to permanent vision loss. A normally sighted person has 180 degrees of vision in both eyes. Jackson’s vision is down to one degree in his right eye, with a small amount of his optic nerve attached to the eye. That gives him an extremely narrow window to view the world.
Though it was first designed in 1962, finalized in 1976, and then standardized in 1990, the Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU)—affectionately known for its “chocolate chip” or “cookie dough” camouflage patterns—defined the U.S. military era known for a single event: Operation Desert Storm.
Dan Zedan chokes up as he remembers saying goodbye to his children when he went off to war 30 years ago. “I’ll never forget that night. Forgive me if I get emotional,” he said. Zedan, a Coast Guard Reserve commander at the time, served more than six months in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He spent the first two months as a liaison to the Joint Task Force, planning and executing the war. Then he took command of Port Security Unit 302, protecting ships coming into the Bahrain harbor and advising their Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard never mobilized …
On the evening of Jan. 16, 1991, Jacky Frawner was in a weight room when he heard his skipper come across the shipboard public address circuits, also known as the 1MC. The alert let the sailors aboard USS Paul F. Foster they were about to transition from Operation Desert Shield to Operation Desert Storm. USS Wisconsin was supposed to fire the first Tomahawk missile. However, the mission shifted to the USS Paul F. Foster. Within hours, Frawner and his shipmates would be part of the opening shots of Desert Storm.
Marine Veteran and Desert Storm Veteran Matt Malone went from self-described troubled youth to superintendent of Fall River Public Schools in Massachusetts.
In U.S. wars prior to Desert Storm, military spokespeople would answer questions, then wait for the next day’s newspaper clippings or the nightly news to see developments. Desert Storm changed that, when reporters broadcast the war as it happened.
The U.S did not take long to respond to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein occupying neighboring Kuwait Aug. 2, 1990. Five days later, President George H.W. Bush ordered Americans to the region to start Operation Desert Shield. Air Force Veteran Howard “Pip” Pope, commander for the 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron, was among the first American forces to arrive. Leading a squadron known as the “Ironmen” flying F-15s, they deployed with little notice in a matter of days. After a 14-hour flight from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, they arrived at Dhahran Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Pope kept a diary of the events, excerpts of which follow.
In January 1991, members from all five military branches joined a coalition to push back Saddam Hussein’s force out of Kuwait for Operation Desert Storm. During January 2021, VA will profile Veterans through stories for Desert Storm’s 30th anniversary.
- Free to eligible Veterans and no co-payment
- Not a disability compensation exam or required for other VA benefits
- Enrollment in VA’s health care system not necessary
- Based on Veterans’ recollection of service, not on their military records
- Veterans can receive additional registry exams, if new problems develop
- Veterans’ family members are not eligible for registry exams
VA’s Gulf War Registry Health Exam alerts Veterans to possible long-term health problems that may be related to environmental exposures during their military service. The registry data helps VA understand and respond to these health problems more effectively.
Contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator about getting a Gulf War Registry health exam.
Veterans who are eligible for the Gulf War Registry may also join the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, which includes additional data related to airborne hazards.
- The registry is a database of information about Veterans and Service members collected through a questionnaire.
- OEF/OIF/OND/OFS Veterans and Service members who have deployed to the Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990 as well as those who have deployed to Afghanistan or Djibouti after September 11, 2001 can use the registry.
Check your eligibility and sign up through an online questionnaire.