15 Unforgettable Photos From Operation Desert Storm

Operation Desert Storm kicked off 24 years ago on Jan. 17, 1991.

The Gulf War officially lasted from August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991. It consisted of two phases; Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Desert Shield was the codename used for the part leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Desert Storm was the combat phase by the coalition forces against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

15,000 Western civilians – including 3,000 Americans – living in Kuwait were rounded up and taken to Baghdad as hostages. In this YouTube screen capture, 5-year-old Briton, Stuart Lockwood refuses Saddam Hussein’s invitation to sit on his knee … Awkward.

stuart lockwood and saddam hussein

Photo: YouTube

700,000 American troops were deployed to the war; that’s more than 2015’s entire population of Nashville, TN.

moving the troops into iraq

Photo: DVIDS

Desert Storm was the largest military alliance since World War II; 34 nations led by the United States waged war in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

desert storm coalition forces

Photo: Wikimedia

American troops prepared for every scenario since Iraq was known for employing chemical weapons in the past.

chemical warfare training desert storm

Photo: DOD

Untested in combat, Desert Storm would be the first time the M1 Abrams tank saw action; 1,848 of them were deployed to the war.

m1a1 abram

Photo: Wikimedia

The Iraqi Army used T-55, T-62, and  T-72 tanks imported from the Soviet Union and Poland.

iraqi t-72 tank during operation desert storm

Photo: Wikimedia

But they were no match for U.S. forces.

destroyed t-55 tank during operation desert storm

Photo: Wikimedia

More than 1,000 military aircraft were deployed to the Gulf War.

F-15Es parked during Operation Desert Shield

Photo: Wikimedia

One of the key players in Desert Storm was the stealthy F-117 Nighthawk.

f-117 nightwahk frontal

Photo: Wikimedia

Coalition forces flew over 100,000 sorties and dropped more than 88,500 tons of bombs.

f-117 stealth fighter

Photo: Wikimedia

You can’t hit what you can’t see. Iraq’s anti-aircraft guns were useless against the F-117.

iraqi anti-aircraft guns

Photo: Wikimedia

Here’s the aftermath of a coalition attack along a road in the Euphrates River Valley…

demolished vehicles iraqi desert storm

Photo: Wikimedia

The Gulf War was the last time the U.S. Navy used battleships in combat.

USS Missouri firing during desert storm

Photo: Wikimedia

The famous oil fires were a result of Iraq’s scorched earth policy –  destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy – as they retreated from Kuwait.

USAF jets fly over iraqi oil field fires

Photo: Wikimedia

737 oil wells were set on fire…

operation desert storm oil field burning

Photo: Wikimedia

The following video is an hour-long BBC documentary of the Gulf War:


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