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Chuck A. Villanueva
119 articles

On This Day 2 August 1990, Iraq invades Kuwait

I't s a nice sunny hot Thursday morning flying up the California coast to NAS Bremerton, Washington. Just left Moffet topping off the tanks for the final leg of the flight. Pilot, Lt Luis "Ball" Saenz,co-pilot Lt Cdr "Doc" Severson, myself,Tactical LTCdr Chuck "Vman" Villanueva, , AM1 Carlos Tellez and Chief Charles Johnson, crew chief. We were going up to do a demonstration of our mission capabilities that weekend. Not a formal air show, mostly with the squadrons that were resident there. We had the aircraft configured for a tactical combat rescue mission overland. Our Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk, a specialized version of the SH-60F, with NVG capabilites and the ability to configure to carry all sorts of goodies on the hardpoints. Also the first Navy variant to use the HIRSS type of exhaust system to minimize the exhaust signature. As well as advanced avionics used by the spec op Blackhawks were also now on our aircraft with more systems in development. So had the miniguns mounted on the window and door. We had sent an advanced team in a truck with equipment to set up camp on station. This was an unscheduled tasking being August and the CO was getting a bit nervous as the end of the fiscal year was approaching and we had too much money still on the books (OPTAR). Navy is funny, cheap but yet, if you have any money on the OPTAR at the end of the fiscal year. The bean counters will give you less the following year to operate in their logic believe we had too much and don't need the funds. So here we are buying gas paying us to fly to Washington. Spend spend spend.

The flight to this point is uneventful. A bit of bantering, as I read up on this new title we have and to figure out what does a tactical officer do? Then I see a message come over the coms network but not on a normal channel, this is a Flash message, Funny was just reading on the different type of messages over military networks in the manual. I quickly read the message as I one click the skipper, he responds whats up? Strange, just got a flash message, not from home base but from COMHELWINGRES. San Diego, he says ummm what is that? Well let say something is up somewhere. Here it comes will send it to your screen, Doc you will get it as well. It simply says "RTB forthwith" I will notify Bremerton we are not coming. Next i will notify Moffet we are returning to refuel and will do a "hot refuel" as this sounds quite urgent to get us back. All this time we have turned around to head back to base, and while doing so Crater Lake passes below, beautiful sight. That was my day 2 August 1990.

This day starts with an invasion by Iraqi forces at 2:00 am in the morning into Kuwait, helo insertions with Republican guard special forces as well as naval attacks lead a well coordinated attack on a country totally unprepared despite the rattling and troop build ups along the Kuwaiti borders days before. Kuwait falls in 2 days. The US has condemned the attack and have demanded Saddam to withdraw. In the meantime the Saudi's are quite nervous as all of a sudden as there is a mass of troops now along the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. On 7 August Desert Shield begins.

So for everyone, since there are a few GB's already in progress, this will be an informal one for those who wish to build any aircraft, ship or armor equipment used by both the Iraqi forces and coalition forces.

Older and newer tanks fighting side by side, 1991 was a year that had the Apache and yet the Vietnam era Cobras albeit much more capable were used effectively, Hueys and Blackhawks, Alouettes and 's.

T-55 tanks, T-62's and T-72's among M60's, M1 and Bradleys, Hummers and Land Rovers. It was the last combat missions for the F-4 and A-7's. for Buccaneers and Victor's. On the other side, 's 's, 's and the 29. Su-22's Su-24 and the SU-25, several countries used the Mirage F-1 including the Iraqi's. Plenty of hardware to build. It was a war where new systems were first employed, J-stars for one. So there ya go. Cannot believe how long ago it has been since that August day, it is now 2020. To put things in perspective, I was born in 1960. WWII ended in 1945. 15 years past. Desert Storm was 1991, 2020, 30 years ago. Double the time. Where does the time go?

Some images to inspire I hope... God bless you all.

Fly Navy

18 additional images. Click to enlarge.

13 responses

  1. Thank you for this reminder! Would be a great opportunity for a GB - perhaps to start on January 17th when Desert Storm started, but to include the events from August 2nd?. My small country (Denmark) took part in the action albeit with a warship that took part in the checking of shipping in the area, under the Danish "Operation Faraway" with the Corvette "F355 Olfert Fischer" that was sent to the area on August 31st.

    • Morning Erik, reasoning is that several US units were sent over into theatre towards the end of their current tours. Some already were returning and were ordered to extend their current tours to support Desert Shield. Most of those were finally able to return back to base once sufficient units were in place. So these units did not participate in the actual combat operation Desert Storm.

  2. Chuck, @uscusn during the "Storm" I saw every one of the airplanes you showed, save one ... the Buccaneer. As my unit (A Troop, part of 1st Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division) was the lead element for the "Big Red One" and my tanks were in front of the rest of the Troops, Squadron, & Division we were "buzzed" quite often, especially by F4s & F111s. They were really quite impressive when they passed overhead at an altitude seemingly only a few feet above our tanks! VERY impressive!

  3. My Father just had a major heart attack (my beloved modeling mentor died at 64) and I was at his bedside when this news came over the TV. Long lines of Iraqi vehicles going into Kuwait. (Later to become crispy critters). Never forget that day.
    Yes time goes by UNBELIEVABLY fast.
    Thank you for your service.

  4. Days like this can also have other moments going on in life. And those dates in times past are not always fond ones. But memorable. So long ago, but vivid in our minds. Thanks Bill.

  5. Chuck @uscusn
    This is still vivid in my memory too. My last unit, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was deployed to Saudi Arabia with the 82nd Airborne as part of Desert Shield, and they were the very first of any armor units on the ground there. They provided the Armor protection for the 82nd, in case Saddam decided to go south into Saudi Arabia.

    At that time I attempted to re enlist in the Army, as I felt guilty because my buddies were over there and I was home with the ex and a bunch of kids. That's another story...

    Yes time has flown by... Where did it go ?

    You can count me in on this one. I have a nice 1/35 scale M-1 Abrams that has been waiting for years to be built. If time will permit I might do a few more armor and aircraft. What ! Louis building a jet ! It can't be true...

    Thanks for the reminder... Lest we forget.

    • We were told that afternoon our unit was being activated and put on 72 hours notice to deploy, prepare 4 aircraft to send with our provisional Det. Where? to be determined. Turns out we finally got our orders to ship out on 31 Dec 1990. In the meantime we had plenty of time to round up everything we needed. Sending an advance team to prepare our field of operations at the Tabuk AB in Saudi Arabia. And I was also communicating with the Apache, Blackhawk and other rotor communities on what they were experiencing out in that environment with their equipment and aircraft. There were some major annoying issues that they were dealing with and we were now prepared for those as well.

  6. And 22 days later I and the advanced party of the 23 TFW (A-10"s) was on the ground at King Fahd International Airport, 30 miles east of Dammam, Saudi Arabia...

    • Hey Tom, we had the boys from 115 TFW with us at the forward deployed base at Al Jouf, they would provide the "Sandy" support on rescue and recovery missions. Fun bunch of guys, couldn't keep my maintenance types away from theirs as they were incredible in keeping up on their duties. They would sit around and talk shop and learned a lot of tips and tricks that kept their Warthogs operational.

  7. Talk about time travel. I was a month into a new job when these events happened. at the time I was in a Navy Reserve unit for the USS Kennedy CV-67. The whole unit did not get called up, what they did was ask the various carriers what aviation rates that they needed, then they would pull people from the various reserve units and send them to sea. Every drill weekend at least three people got orders to go. The activation process took longer than the length of the war. Many had just reached their ships when it was all over.

  8. I'm already in here, Chuck @uscusn.
    Thanks for your service.

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