The mission of US ARCENT, Kuwait is to acquire, maintain and protect a heavy brigade (reinforced) equipment set, to plan, direct and support all joint training exercises with the Kuwaiti Armed Forces and, in concert with the Government of Kuwait, to establish and maintain the contingency plans for the security of Kuwait. The center of Central Command operations is at Camp Doha, twenty miles north of Kuwait City. Doha is a large logistics base with a working population of over two thousand personnel - US soldiers and airmen, and both US and Kuwaiti contract personnel.
On 02 August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. In the background of this invasion there were three basic causes for this action. First, Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire from the 18th century until 1899 when it asked for, and received, British protection in return for autonomy in local affairs. In 1961 Britain granted Kuwait independence. Iraq revived an old claim that Kuwait had been governed as part of an Ottoman province in southern Iraq and was therefore rightfully part of Iraq. This claim led to several confrontations over the years and continued hostility.
Second, rich deposits of oil straddled the ill-defined border and Iraq constantly claimed that Kuwaiti oil rigs were illegally tapping into Iraqi oil fields. Middle Eastern deserts make border delineation difficult and this has caused many conflicts in the region. Iraq also accused Kuwait of producing more oil than allowed under quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), thereby depressing the price of oil, the main source of money for Iraq,
Finally, the fallout from the First Persian Gulf War between Iraq and Iran strained relations between Baghdad and Kuwait. This war began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran and degenerated into a bloody form of trench warfare as the Iranians slowly drove Saddam Hussein's armies back into Iraq. Kuwait and many other Arab nations supported Iraq against the Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran, fearful that Saddam's defeat could herald a wave of Iranian-inspired revolution throughout the Arab world. Following the end of the war, relations between Iraq and Kuwait deteriorated due to a lack of gratitude and acknowledgement of the Baghdad government for financial assistance and help in logistic support provided by Kuwait during the war and the reawakening of old issues regarding the border and Kuwaiti sovereignty.
On 07 August, President George H. W. Bush ordered the organization of Desert
Shield. The order prepared American troops to become part of an international
coalition in a war against Iraq that would be launched as Desert Sortm in
January, 1991. This was a decision to deploy US forces on a massive scale to
eject the Iraqis from Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia. The lead unit for this
deployment was the VII Corps from Germany.
With the follow up announcement of President George H. W. Bush, in November to deploy more units for a possible offensive, ARCENT put the final touches on its ground plan. During the first 90 days of DESERT SHIELD, ARCENT coordinated the reception and sustainment of a force equal to what had taken a year to deploy during the Vietnam War. Their plan called for a deep, wide sweep into southern Iraq. ARCENT's multinational combat forces consisted of two corps headquarters (the XVIII Airborne Corps and the VII Corps), nine divisions (82nd Airborne, 101st Air Assault, 24th Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored, 3rd Armored, 1st British Armored and 6th French (Light)) along with two armored cavalry regiments (the 2nd ACR and 3rd ACR).
By the end of three months intensive training, the 1st Cavalry Division was
one of the most modern and powerfully equipped divisions in the Army. The
first glimpse of their capability came in December 1990, on the division's
Pegasus Range which had been built up from the sands of the Saudi desert.
Every tank and Bradley crew test fired their new weapons as part of the new
equipment transition training. Throughout this period, leaders of the division
were planning and rehearsing the First Team's role as the theater
counterattack force - the force that would defeat any Iraqi attack into Saudi
The First Team began a calculated war of deception along the Saudi border. The goal was to lure Saddam Hussein into believing the main ground attack of the Allies would come up the Wadi al Batin, a natural invasion route, causing him to reposition additional forces there. The deception consisted of three major thrusts;
Then the KNIGHT STRIKE turned ugly. Rounds came in while Alpha Company and the scouts were taking prisoners. The tanks of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry regained fire power superiority while Charlie Company moved up to help with the prisoners. Shortly before 0200 hours the task force withdrew under the cover of an artillery smoke screen. That night and for the next four days ending with the start of the ground war offensive, heavy air strikes pounded the Wadi.
After thirty-eight days of continuous air attacks on targets in Iraq and
Kuwait, the commander of the Allied Forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf
unleashed all-out attacks against Iraqi forces very early on 24 February 1991.
On that day, the mission of the 1st Cavalry Division was to conduct a "feint"
attack up the Wadi al Batin, creating the illusion that it was the Allies
main ground attack.
The enemy reacted as anticipated. Iraqi divisions focused on the coalition threat in the Wadi, and the First Team froze them. The deception worked, in that it tied down four Iraqi divisions, leaving their flanks thinned and allowed the VII Corps to attack virtually unopposed, conducting a successful envelopment of Iraqi forces to the west. In the meanwhile, far to the west, the VII Corps and the XVIII Airborne had already began a deep strike into Iraq.
Having fulfilled their assigned mission of deception, the following day,
General Norman Schwarzkopf issued the command "Send in the First Team. Destroy
the Republican Guard. Let's go home". On 26 February, at 1000 hours, in the
approximate center of the allied line, along the Wadi al Batin, Major General
John H. Tilelli, Jr directed the 1st Cavalry Division to swing west,
conducting refueling on the move. Crossing the 1st Infantry Division breach
sites, the Division moved up the left side of VII Corps' sector by late 26
February, and attacked north into a concentration of Iraqi divisions, whose
commanders remained convinced that the Allies would use the Wadi al Batin and
several other wadies as avenues of attack.
By mid afternoon 27 February, after a high-speed 190 mile (305 Km) move north
and east, slicing into the enemy's rear, The Brigades of the Division joined
in with the 24th Division across the VII Corps' boundary. The dust storms had
cleared early in the day, revealing the most awesome array of armored and
mechanized power fielded since World War II. In a panorama extending beyond
visual limits 1,500 tanks, another 1,500 Bradleys and armored personnel
carriers, 650 artillery pieces, and supply columns of hundreds of vehicles
stretching into the dusty brown distance rolled east through Iraqi positions,
as inexorable as a lava flow.
The units of the 1st Cavalry Division setup defensive positions where the
cease fire had stopped the attack, then in its final mission, expanded north
to "Highway 8" clearing bunkers and looking for enemy equipment and soldiers.
The 1st (Ironhorse) Brigade stretched through the historic Euphrates River
Valley. On 13 March, the Ironhorse Brigade crossed the border berm the last
time and moved south into Saudi Arabia and the new assembly area (AA) Killeen.
There on the plain of the Wadi al Batin, Operation Desert Storm was over - the
Cavalry began to prepare for redeployment home.
During Operation Desert Storm, the First Team accumulated several new
|First Team Persian Gulf Color Guard|
Upon return to the United States, The first of a series of reorganizations were initiated in the period, May 1991 to August 1993, which resulted in a contingency force, ready to deploy anywhere in the world on a moments notice.
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