|Day 8 Wednesday, January 23, 1991
After one week of military operations, allied commanders were excited and confused by the lack of Iraqi opposition. With the minimal threat from Iraqi aircraft, allied planes could be shifted from the air-to-air roles to a participating in the hunt for SCUD missiles. During a briefing, General Collin Powell emphasized that Allied air power, which had now flown 12,00 sorties, would be concentrating on Iraqi air defense systems and early warning systems, along with a vigorous policy of finding and destroyed SCUD launchers. The countries now participating in the air war include: Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
When asked for his policy on the eliminating the Iraqi Army, General Powell said "First, we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it." There was one incident of ground skirmishing when soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment encounter an Iraqi patrol and exchanged fire, taking six prisoners with no losses.
The SCUD war continued on Wednesday with Iraq launching at least two SCUDS toward Saudi Arabia and one toward Tel Aviv. For the first time, the missile heading toward Israel was successfully intercepted and destroyed. The Israeli Cabinet issued a statement that Israel would not retaliate for the previous days SCUD attack and felt confident with the U.S. Patriots.
After the initial bombing of Iraq, all Western journalists, with the exception of CNN's Peter Arnett, were expelled. One of Peter Arnett's reports concerned a "baby milk factory" which was destroyed by allied bombers. The packages on the ground said "baby milk" in English, and file footage of the plant showed workers with clothing that also said "baby milk factory" in English. On Wednesday, the White House claimed this site was bombed because it was a chemical/biological weapons facility hidden behind the guise of a baby milk factory. They then went on to question all reports being filed from Iraq as "propaganda" and many people, including a U.S. Senator, began to question Peter Arnett's patriotism. The exact purpose of the "baby milk" plant is still being debated.
Day 9 Thursday, January 24, 1991
At sea, two Iraqi mine-layers were attacked by Navy aircraft and one was sunk, the other ran into its own mine. Nearly 22 Iraqi sailors jumped into the water, but were later picked up by U.S. forces and interned as P.O.W.'s. While attacking these vessels, U.S. helicopters came under fire from a small Island called Qurah. This island was then attacked and 29 P.O.W.'s were taken captive.
In a separate incident at sea, three Iraqi vessels, including a hovercraft, were attacked and destroyed. These vessels were believed to be engaged in mine warfare activities. To date, 25 free-floating mines had been found and destroyed by allied forces in the Gulf.
Iraqi forces launched what was believed to be their first air attack against allied vessels. Two Iraqi Mirage F-1's flew down the Saudi coast armed with Exocet missiles on their way to the Allied fleet. They were intercepted by two Saudi F-15's flying combat air patrol. Capt. Ayedh, a Saudi Air Force pilot, brought down both airplanes in the same engagement, garnishing considerable media attention.
Four CBS journalists were reported missing on Thursday after they were seen heading toward Kuwait. Many of the media have experienced difficulty operating under the guidelines established by the military and the CBS crew was no exception. The crew was later found to be in Iraqi hands in Baghdad and released after the cease-fire agreement.
Day 10 Friday, January 25, 1991
Militarily, there was little departure from previous days attacks. Allied air attacks continued with 2,00 sorties and one additional country participating in actions--Bahrain began flying defensive missions. U.S. officials also announced that 236 Tomahawk cruise missiles had been fired, including several from submarines in the KTO. This was the first successful launch of submarine cruise missiles in combat. Also at sea, one Iraqi ship was destroyed at sea and four more were attacked while in port. The SCUD war continued with seven fired at Israel and two at Saudi Arabia. Patriot missiles intercepted the incoming SCUDs, but debris did land in Israel killing one and injuring approximately sixty.
The major new development in the conflict was the announcement of a gigantic oil spill heading down from Kuwait toward Saudi Arabia. The Allies said that millions of barrels of oil were being dumped into the Persian Gulf from the Sea Island Terminal off Kuwait's refinery at Mina al Ahmadi and from tankers that were in port there. The exact size of the slick became subject to debate later on, but initial reports put it several times large than Exxon Valdez in Alaska back in 1989. The oil slick caused considerable ecological damage and raised concerns about the desalinization plants that provide water to Saudi Arabia, her people, and allied forces. Militarily, administration officials said the oil slick would have minimal to no effect on U.S. plans.
Day 11 Saturday, January 26, 1991
The oil slick doubled in size overnight with estimates on its size ranging between 30 to 70 miles long. The United States and other allied countries began to rush oil clean-up equipment and experts to the region to consult with military leaders and figure out a way to solve this problem.
Five SCUD missiles were launched Saturday, four toward Israel and one to Saudi Arabia, but all were intercepted by Patriots and no damage was reported. The air war continue with the number of sorties crossing the 20,00 mark and allied planes emphasizing Iraqi troop concentrations near the front.
The big air war story dealt with desertions on the part of the Iraqi Air Force. By Saturday, at least two dozen Iraqi warplanes and transports, including their most sophisticated fighters, had fled to Iran and landed. The Tehran Government, reaffirming its neutrality, said the planes would not leave Iran until after the war was over.
In Washington D.C., the largest anti-war demonstration to date took place when 75,00 protesters marched to protest the bombing and call for a cease-fire. Although the majority of the protesters were composed of the very liberal section of American society, there were a few relatives of troops who wanted to see their sons and daughters brought home. Despite the claims of organizers, this event was not the "start" of bigger protests, but more like a finale as after this event, the anti-war crowd essentially faded from view.
Day 12 Sunday, January 27, 1991
Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf held a press conference today to announce the results of allied actions against the oil slick in the Gulf. U.S. F-111's attacked with smart-weapons the facility pumping oil into the Persian Gulf. Two bombs were dropped on the manifolds of the pipelines leading out to the loading terminal. These manifolds were regarded as the "hub" of the spill, a place where the oil could be turned off without damaging the environment further. The offshore loading facility was set afire in a separate action when allied naval vessels engaged Iraqi patrol boats.
The war against the Iraqi Navy, a compilation of patrol boats and mine-layers, intensified when it was learned that some ships may be carrying Exocet anti-ship missiles. To date, 18 Iraqi ships have been destroyed.
The air war on Sunday experienced the most intense dogfight to date when two U.S. F-15's destroyed a total of four Iraqi aircraft, three MiG-23s and one Mirage. As for the rest of the Iraqi Air force, the number of Iraqi aircraft in Iran continued to climb with almost 40 on the ground to date. Explanations ranged from the obvious that Saddam Hussein was seeking to save his airpower for a later day to the more complex idea that the Iraqi Air Force was fleeing Saddam's terror. Communiqu?s out of the Soviet Union indicated that Saddam had killed his Air Defense Chief of Staff and was furious with his air force's cowardliness.
In Israel, the cabinet reaffirmed its position that restraint was the best course of action, alleviating some commanders fears of a possible break-up of the Arab coalition. As a result of this policy of restraint, Israel received considerable praise in the world community. To aid in the defense of Israel, additional Patriot batteries were deployed on Sunday.
Day 13 Monday, January 28, 1991
The air war topped 25,00 sorties with clear weather allowing better bomb damage assessment and giving allied pilots a clearer view of their targets. Also taking advantage of the clear weather was Iraq's Air Force by flying an additional 40 planes to Iran for safe-haven. Allied forces announced they would not attack the planes that have fled, but would try to intercept additional aircraft making a dash for Iran.
Two SCUDs were fired, one each on Israel and Tel Aviv, but Patriot batteries intercepted the incoming missiles. To date, 27 SCUDs have been launched at Saudi Arabia and 26 toward Israel.
The scheduled summit between President Bush and Soviet President Gorbachev was postponed today, indefinitely because of the war in the Gulf. Although Operation Desert Storm was said to be taking up to much of President Bush's time, there are many that suspect the summit was also delayed because of the Soviet crackdown in the Baltic republics and suspicion of the Soviet's true intentions in the most recent arms control negotiations.
Peter Arnett, scoring the first "scoop" of the war, was able to interview Saddam Hussein on camera for CNN. The first question asked, and the one most troops wanted to hear answered, was whether or not Iraq intended to use chemical weapons. The response, guarded in careful language, was that Iraq would use "whatever force is used against it" in its response. This did little to calm the fears of American G.I.'s and their families. Hussein also defended his use of P.O.W.'s as human shields and he responded it was hypocritical of the Western allies to complain about P.O.W.'s while Britain was holding Iraqi students at a military base in England. Arnett's entire interview ran several times and was labeled propaganda by both the U.S. government and those who feel Peter Arnett is a traitor.
Unlike Vietnam, the Administration resisted criticizing the anti-war protesters of the previous day. During the Nixon years, Vice-President Agnew frequently turned on the anti-war crowd with intense verbal assaults, questioning everything from their patriotism to their personal lifestyles. During Operation Desert Storm, Vice-President Quayle attacked the protesters only once, and then backed away when President Bush offered respectful comments toward those opposing his policy. "Tolerance is a virtue, not a vice" the President said to a group of religious broadcasters in reference to the protests around the country.
Day 14 Tuesday, January 29, 1991
In the air war, Marine Corps Harriers and other warplanes came across a convoy of Iraqi vehicles and caused considerable damage. In this raid, some 24 tanks were destroyed, along with a number of armored personnel carriers and trucks. This attack was called the largest loss of Iraqi forces in one engagement to date.
The Iraqi military reported that one of the allied P.O.W.'s was killed by allied bombing raids overnight. The Iraqis had stated they would be placing captured fliers in strategic and military targets to use as human shields, but some suspected they may have killed the P.O.W. and then claimed his death was caused by allied aircraft. Regardless of the cause of death, the United States reaffirmed its desire to punish those responsible for the pilots death.
Almost overshadowing the President's State of the Union was a joint statement issued by U.S and Soviet officials calling for a diplomatic solution to the war. The joint statement called on the Iraqis to take immediate and concrete steps toward complying with the U.N. resolutions and made vague references to talks on the future on "other Middle East issues," i.e. the Palestinian problem in Israel. This "linkage" of the Gulf crisis to the Israeli crisis is something the administration has vigorously rejected in the past and the release of this statement caused confusion about U.S. policy. Secretary of State Jim Baker eventually reaffirmed U.S. opposition to any "linkage" and his spokesperson attributed the release of the memo to "shoddy staff work" and not official U.S. policy.
President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress for his State of the Union address and spent half of his speech on the Gulf Crisis. Enjoying near unanimous support in the Congress and the American public, the President tried to explain why the United States had to bear so much of the burden. Bush said "Among the countries of the world, only the United States of America has had both the moral standing and the means to back it up." His speech was well-received and even the Democrats response, by Sen. George Mitchell, supported his efforts to bring the war to a "swift and decisive" end. The Congress gave a standing ovation for the troops when the President singled out their efforts in Operation Desert Storm.
Week Two Report
- Sorties to date:
- Total U.S. Aircraft Losses to date (combat):
- Total U.S. Aircraft Losses to date (noncombat):
- Total Allied Aircraft Losses to date (combat):
- Total U.S. Casualties to date:
- 8 Missing in Action, 7 Prisoners of War
- Iraqi Aircraft destroyed:
- Iraqi Aircraft in Iran:
- SCUD's launched to date:
- Against Israel:
- Against Saudi Arabia:
Other Gulf War Books and Videos
Aircraft Pins and Flight Jackets and other military supplies.