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Desert Storm 3/4/1991
By John Fisher
Author: Angels in Vietnam

Ben and his mother arrived at the Bonner residence on Thanksgiving Day. Heidi Bonner, Ben’s younger sister, and her daughter, Peggy, were working in the kitchen. Jeremy, Heidi’s eldest child, and his father, John Bonner, were in the family room watching football. There was loud cheering reverberating from the T.V. room, but Ben was hesitant to join them. Jeremy, home on leave from the service, would have news of his next assignment. Ben wasn’t sure he wanted to know what it was.

During the previous summer, Jeremy was having difficulty figuring out what to do with his life. He had tried college, but left after his first year. Finding a good job, without a college education, was elusive. His father suggested that he join the service to help him discover what he wanted to do. Ben had protested profusely saying that enlisting means you might have to go to war. John countered by saying that there wasn’t any kind of a conflict eminent and now was a good time for his son to join. Besides, if he wanted to return to school after his discharge, the military would pay for it. Ben enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corp on July 4, 1990.

On July 17, 1990, less than two weeks after Jeremy’s enlistment, Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of oil overproduction and theft from the Rumailia Oil Field. The dispute went almost unnoticed by the American Press until April Glaspie, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, announced that the Iraq-Kuwait dispute was strictly an Arab matter and one that should not affect the United States. But on August 2, Hussein invaded his southern neighbors and actually captured the Kuwaiti capital within 12 hours.

President George H. W. Bush immediately froze Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets. The United Nations (UN) called for Hussein to withdraw passed Resolution 660. On August 6, Resolution 661 was passed enforcing economic sanctions. Meanwhile, Iraq proceeded to annex Kuwait on August 8 and the UN passed Resolution 662 the very next day declaring the annexation invalid. On August 22, President Bush authorized a call up of the military reserves and the U.S. was now very much affected by the confrontation in the Middle East.

Thus began the five and a half month operation called Dessert Shield. Nine million tons of equipment and 527,000 troops were shipped to Saudi Arabia for tactical positioning. And, 31 other countries, including many of America’s foes during the cold war, allied with the U.S. in principle against the Iraqis. If Saddam didn’t pull out of Kuwait soon, there was sure to be another war in a foreign land for the United States.

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