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Freedom is not free. It is paid with every drop of blood, sweat, and tears of our men and women who serve or has served in the armed forces.

Gulf War from the air.

The Gulf War: Desert Shield/Desert Storm

As I watched President Bush announce the beginning of the Gulf War, I was amazed that my country would see another war in my life time. When I was young, I vaguely remember the Vietnam era. My parents were always watching the TV news to find out the latest information. Of course back then you only had three channels so you were almost forced to watch the news. But that is another story.

I was serving in the military at the time I heard President Bush commence his speech with these words: "Just 2 hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in Iraq and Kuwait. These attacks continue as I speak. Ground forces are not engaged." While the announcement was really not a surprise due to the events leading up to this moment, I did stop for a moment to think that I could be called to go fight in Kuwait.

As you can imagine, I did some serious thinking about this possibility. I resolved to my patriotic duty and with a commitment to my country, I promised myself that I would never hesitate should my country need me.

Before the war started, it was called Desert Shield. This occured around August of 1990. In November 1989 I left the regular Army and joined the Army National Guard. The unit I served with up until 1989 was one of the first units called up. I couldn't help but think of my friends who were spending their time in the desert while dealing with the unknown. Over the next few months, President Bush pleaded with Saddam Hussein to comply with UN Sactions.

With defiance, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and killed numerous leaders of the Kuwait Government. As the UN lacked the backbone and control to enforce its own resolutions, President Bush pushed for a final resolution from the UN that would give Saddam Hussein an ultimatum. The goal was to get Saddam out of Kuwait and return to Iraq. Unfortunately for Saddam, he did not take President Bush and the UN seriously.

On January 17th, aerial bombs began dropping on Iraq as consequence of Saddam's defiance. It was at this point that Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm. After a few days of aerial assault, ground forces were moved in to push the Iraqis out of Kuwait.

The effort was successful in pushing out the Iraqis, but Saddam Hussein had left Kuwait on fire by burning all the oil wells. The images on TV were horrific as scenes of black smoke covered the sky. Kuwait was left in shambles and American forces along with allied forces began to clean up the mess and help the Kuwaitis to get back on their feet again.

Unfortunately, this war did not stop Saddam Hussein. Even after the war, he continued to avoid complying with UN resolutions. In the end, 148 service members of our armed forces were killed (121 from non-hostile acts) and 458 wounded. For the Iraqis, it has been estimated that 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed, 300,000 were wounded, 150,000 deserted, and 60,000 taken as prisoners.

 

Sacrifice for free is not duty but an honor.

 

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