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.
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:
The First Team's Multiple Launched Rocket Systems (MLRS) repeatedly lit
the sky, battering targets deep in Iraq.
Cannon batteries fired Copperhead rounds (computer controlled, rocket assisted projectiles) and thousands of high explosive along with improved conventional munitions into Iraq.
The Aviation Brigade flew obstacle reduction and serial reconnaissance missions, identified, screened and designated targets for destruction by the division's artillery units.
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. Meanwhile, far to the west, the VII Corps and the XVIII
Airborne had already began a deep strike into Iraq.
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.
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". In the approximate center of the allied line, along the Wadi al Batin, Maj. Gen. John H. Tilelli, Jr.'s 1st Cavalry Division 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.
The 1st Cavalry Division crossed the line of departure and hit the Iraqi
27th Infantry Division. That was not their first meeting. General
Tilelli's Division had actually been probing the Iraqi defenses for some time.
As these limited thrusts continued in the area that became known as the "Ruqi
Pocket". The 1st Cavalry found and destroyed elements of five Iraqi divisions,
evidence that they had succeeded in their theater reserve mission of drawing
and holding enemy units.
By 28 February 1991, when the cease-fire ordered by President Bush went into
effect, the Iraqis had lost 3,847 of their 4,280 tanks, over half of their
2,880 armored personnel carriers, and nearly all of their 3,100 artillery
pieces. Only five to seven of their forty-three combat divisions remained
capable of offensive operations. In the days after the cease-fire the busiest
soldiers were those engaged in the monumental task of counting and caring for
an estimated 60,000 prisoners.
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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