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 Storm 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.
Three 4th Cavalry elements participated in the Gulf War. The 1st Squadron, 4th
Cavalry continued to serve as the reconnaissance squadron for the 1st Infantry
Division (Mechanized) assigned to the VII Corps. The 2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry
was the reconnaissance squadron for the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps. "D" Troop, 4th Cavalry, the
reconnaissance troop of the 197th Infantry Brigade (which was attached to the
24th Division) was placed under operational control of the 2nd Squadron.
The ground attack of Desert Storm was launched shortly after midnight on 24 February 1991. The attack began in the XVIII Airborne Corps sector on the extreme left flank of the Coalition Forces. The 24th Division had the critical mission of blocking the Euphrates River valley to cut the escape of Iraqi forces in Kuwait and then to attack east with VII Corps to destroy the Republican Guard divisions. The 2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry had crossed the border six hours ahead of the main attack and scouted north along the two axis of advance. The 2nd Squadron found little evidence of the enemy and the division made rapid progress. With the 4th Cavalry screening 5 to 10 miles in front of the attacking brigades the 24th continued north until around midnight when the division was halted 75 miles inside Iraq. By 27 February, the fourth day of combat, the 24th Division had destroyed all Iraqi units it had encountered securing the Euphrates River Valley and had trapping most of the Republican Guards divisions for the two Corps to destroy.
In the VII Corps sector the 1st Infantry Division was given the mission of breaching the enemy's defensive line. In turn, the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry was ordered to lead the Big Red One. The 1st Squadron had arrived in Saudi Arabia without its tanks which had been in storage while the squadron served as the Opposing Force in 1st Division maneuvers in Germany and was short tank-qualified personnel. The 1st Squadron quickly integrating new replacements just out of training and readied newly issued tanks for "A" and "B" Troops. On schedule, the 1st Squadron, with its two armored cavalry troops and two air cavalry troops lunched the VII Corps attack destroying over twenty-seven Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles in the initial attack.
The Big Red One soon had destroyed some ten miles of enemy defenses and had created a breach in the Iraqi lines for the VII Corps to pour through. Swinging east the Corps with the 1st Division on the south passed through the cavalry screen and attacked the Iraqi forces. By 27 February the 1st Division had destroyed two armored divisions. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry then set up blocking positions on the Al Basrah - Kuwait City highway preventing Iraqi forces from escaping from Kuwait. The Squadron received a Valorous Unit Award for its actions during Desert Storm.
On 28 February 1991, a cease-fire was declared. Thus ended the quickest and most overpowering victory in US Army history. The 4th Cavalry elements that participated in Desert Storm the 1st Squadron, the 2nd Squadron and "D" Troop all performed their missions with courage, and outstanding professionalism adding to the reputation of the 4th Cavalry as being one of the Army's finest regiments.
The deep draw down of the Army beginning in the middle 1980s and continuing after Desert Storm combined with the burgeoning peace keeping commitments led to the decision to halt the implementation of the unit replacement system. Unfortunately by the time the decision was made the Army had completed a massive reassignment of regiments, which had often terminated long standing historical associations between regiments and divisions. The inactivation of the 3rd Squadron 4th Cavalry after serving with the 25th Division for thirty years is a case in point.
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