The United Nations set a withdrawal deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait. However, they missed the deadline, and the Persian Gulf War started on Jan. 16, 1991.
On Aug. 2, 1990, in the middle of the night, the Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait at the behest of Saddam Hussein. The United Nations did not approve of the invasion and told Iraq they were to leave or there would be consequences.
However, Hussein was not interested in following the U.N.’s directions. So, on Jan. 16, the U.S. led coalition planes to attack Baghdad.
Bombs rained from the sky for 42 days straight. Over 100,000 attacks took out the Air Force, anti-aircraft equipment, communication and command centers, and other military targets. In total, 900,000 coalition troops were fighting, with 540,000 Americans.
Operation Senior Suprise
The U.S. air attacks focused on taking out Iraq’s communications, oil refineries, weapons, and air defenses when the invasion began. But as time went on, a classified bombing mission was launched known as Operation Senior Surprise.
The airmen were called the Secret Squirrels. Ground troops rolled into Kuwait between Feb. 24 and Feb. 28th.
By the end of the four days, Kuwait was free from Iraq as President George H. W. Bush called a ceasefire, and Iraq said they would stick to the peace agreement. The United States lost 382 soldiers in the war, and the war cost about a billion dollars.
However, there was a great problem. All 250,000 troops who came back from the gulf were sick. The aptly named Gulf War Syndrome caused muscle pain, fatigue, insomnia, rashes, digestive issues, and cognitive problems.
The troops had been exposed to pesticides via the pills they had taken to keep them safe from nerve agents, among other causes. Peace in the region was short-lived, and the U.S. would find themselves right back where they started.