17 January 2012

Anniversary: The Start of Gulf War I

Today marks the anniversary of the start of the air campaign known as Operation Instant Thunder.

The Gulf War air campaign was broadcast across the world on CNN.

At 2:43 A.M. two EF-111 Ravens with terrain following radar led 22 F-15E Strike Eagles against assaults on airfields in Western Iraq. Minutes later, one of the EF-111 crews – Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon – destroyed an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F-1, when their low altitude maneuvering led the F-1 to crash to the ground. It was not credited to the crew but an F-15E that was also involved in the manuevering.[6]

At 3 A.M., ten U.S. F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers, under the protection of a three-ship formation of EF-111s, bombed Baghdad, the capital. The striking force came under fire from 3,000 Anti-Aircraft guns firing from rooftops in Baghdad.

Within hours of the start of the coalition air campaign, a P-3 Orion called Outlaw Hunter developed by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which was testing a highly specialised over-the-horizon radar, detected a large number of Iraqi patrol boats and naval vessels attempting to make a run from Basra and Umm Qasr to Iranian waters. Outlaw Hunter vectored in strike elements, which attacked the Iraqi naval flotilla near Bubiyan Island destroying 11 vessels and damaging scores more.

Concurrently, U.S. Navy BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles struck targets in Baghdad, and other coalition aircraft struck targets throughout Iraq. Government buildings, TV stations, airfields, presidential palaces, military installations, communication lines, supply bases, oil refineries, a Baghdad airport, electric powerplants and factories making Iraqi war machine equipment were all destroyed due to extensive massive aerial and missile attacks by the coalition forces.

Here's the broadcast most people remember

Where were you when it all went down?

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

I was in my freshman dorm, glued to the TV not wanting to go to class. The class was taught by Adm Crowe (former head of the JCS) and only held three times a month. So you really had to go. When everybody trickled in to the class, he got on stage and said "You know what is going on, so do I...I am going to watch it like you, we will reschedule for another night."

RockyMountainNavy said...

USS America/Airwing 1 launching strikes from the Red Sea.

Brian said...

I was teaching Englsih at a middle school (Grades 7-9) in Japan. All the male teachers were gathered around a TV in the teachers' room, I couldn't follow the rapid-fire Japanese of the commentator but the pictures were clear enough.

On the last night of Gulf War I, I was at a party at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni - it was a goodbye for someone going back to the States.

Security was tight at the gate, because the Japanese Red Army had threatened to sabotage American military installations in Japan (nothing ever actually happened; the JRA was about 15 years past the point of acting on any of their threats but the government thought everyone should still be scared of them).

I met my (now ex-)wife there.

Anonymous said...

I was ptex-ing my skis in my parents basement when my dad turned on the TV.

A few months earlier, however...I was on a back-packing trip that took me through the subcontinent and the Middle East.

When I was in Kuwait, one of the locals invited me to his house for lunch. I spoke english with his teenage son and daughter during the meal, and afterwards, I sat down on the living room floor with his youngest son - a boy maybe 7 years old - who dumped a bucket of toy soldiers on the floor so that we could "play war". Later that afternoon, I went to the money-changers, a camera store, and then back to my hotel to pack my gear. I crossed into southern Iraq then next day.

I still wonder what those days and months were like for that family, and if that boy ever played war, again.

Jack Nastyface

Matt Purvis said...

I was in the bathroom. Nah, Ft. Benning, GA watching daddy spin up for war.

besilarius said...

Was working at the Washington Post at the time, selling advertising.
Had not really thought we would go to war with Saddam until about a week before.
Was driving down the beltway and saw a buff (B52) taking off from Andrews AFB and heading east.
IF they were deploying buffs, then it had to be war.

Brant said...

Freshman year, Sullivan Hall at NC State, watching on my roomate's tiny B&W TV before the dorms were wired for cable back then, and hoping Dad was going to be OK (he was deployed with the 212 FA BDE in support of XVIII Corps)

Pete Maidhof said...

Out in the Saudi desert with my platoon, preparing and waiting for the ground attack to start the next month.