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On this Day: 16 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm 30 year Anniversary

Task Force “Normandy is launched soon after dark on 16 January 1991, 8 AH-64A Apache attack helicopters along with a CH-53 mother ship, belonging to the 101st Airborne Division, their mission was to attack and destroy 2 Iraqi air-defenses systems west of Baghdad, 380nm inside Iraqi territory. Loaded with Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets, along with the chain gun, each Apache also carried 230 gal external fuel tank. The primary task was to open a corridor to Baghdad and the airfields surrounding the region. As they penetrate the Iraqi border flying low. The timing of the destruction of the radar defense sites being destroyed as coalition aircraft penetrated the radars area of cover. Helicopters were chosen for this part of the operation over fixed wing aircraft to achieve surprise and to have eyes in real time confirming the destruction of the targets. Around midnight F117A Stealth fighters launched from Khamis Mushait AB, coming from the south to meet their assigned tankers. Some 60 tankers were up to support the air taskings. KC-135’s, KC-10’s USAF, USN KA-6D’s RAF Victor’s and VC-10’s were all up to provide fuel for around the 700 aircraft involved in the initial operation of the war. The next phase was Tomahawk cruise missiles being launched from the USS Wisconsin, the USS Missouri and the USS San Jacinto. a total of 52 cruise missiles were launched. The missiles were launched into Baghdad finding their targets at around 2:37AM. At 2:38AM is when the Apaches started their attack run on the 2 air defense sites. In less than 2 minutes 27 Hellfire missiles were launched, 100 70mm rockets and 30mm ammunition assured destruction of both sites, after confirming the destruction the helo’s wheeled about to head home.

The F-117A was up next as the Apaches turn around to head back to base. They commence attacks on the Iraqi air defense installations to the west of Baghdad. The F-117 would be the first to drop bombs on Iraqi targets. Mission tasking would include high asset heavily defended targets, Command and control bunkers, airfields, aircraft hangers, telecommunication centers and power plants. By wars end the F-117 flew 1,271 combat sorties. Each mission took 5 to 6 hours to complete. Flying out of the Khamis Mushait AB that was far south into Saudi Arabia, called “Tonopah East” as the base was quite similar in terrain like their stateside base in Nevada. Away from potential SCUD attacks, nuclear and potential chemical strikes. A brand new air base designed to operate high value aircraft. Underground bunkers could house the 45 Stealth fighters in theatre. Each bunker kept 2 aircraft within safe and away from prying eyes in the daytime. (only 59 airframes were ever made). All missions were flown at night. All missions were conducted with radio silence. Most missions had the aircraft in Iraqi territory for at least 30 minutes anything farther north about 45 minutes in one of the most heavily defended skies in the world. Not one Stealth was lost in combat or accident, not one was ever damaged or hit by flack. Not one scratch on any of the airframes that flew into combat.

45 additional images. Click to enlarge.


20 responses to On this Day: 16 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm 30 year Anniversary

  1. Thanks for sharing, Chuck.
    That’s also a very good looking build you have.
    What a huge difference when compared to that, also fantastic looking, A10.

  2. What a wonderful model and what a great story, Chuck @uscusn!
    It is not the easiest task to come up with an impressive F-117, but you did so.
    I had the pleasure to follow your build thread and I loved it!
    Congratulations!

  3. Nice work, Chuck. That’s an interesting plane that isn’t modeled enough.

    • Thanks John, only thing that comes to mind is that it is an unusual air frame, it’s black, though later one was painted grey and there is one painted in a rarely seen experimental camo scheme (like the one B-58 Hustler) and served just in the USAF. So your limited to what you can build unless doing some what if’s. Unlike the F-16,F-15, F/A-18’s of the time with several options to choose from.

  4. Looks great Chuck! You got it knocked out it pretty short order. Your A-10 is in my favorite scheme too! Back in the 80’s the Wisconsin ANG flew A-10s out of Truax and they’d be shooting touch and gos here in Oshkosh once a month. Once they switched to the F-16 we don’t see them here as often. Still looking for some WANG decals with Bucky Badger on the engine cowlings for my A-10.

    • Hey josh thanks, that is the Tamiya A-10, built that for the 25th Anniversary of DS Group build held on the ARC website. Though shelved I have the Monogram A-10 on hold in an Enduring Freedom scheme also it is an updated LASTE version when finished someday.

  5. Chuck, @uscusn
    This is an excellent article. Thank you for posting it, and again I thank you for sending me the decals so I could finish up my F-117. I plan on posting it later today.

    Wow !!! Where did the 30 years go ???? 30 years ago today I was in the US Army recruiter’s office filling out paperwork trying to get back in……………… I felt guilty because some of my closest friends were deployed in Saudi Arabia and I was not there with them. I needed to get a waiver for dependents since I was then married with children at home. My last Armor unit was the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. They were deployed along with the 82nd Airborne and became the very first Army units on the ground when it was still called Desert Sheild.

    The waiver finally came a few days after the ground war was over and our troops were headed back home. So I didn’t follow through and re enlist. Part of me thinks I should have……….. part of me thinks I did the right thing by staying home. I still have mixed emotions about that to this very day.

    I really like how your builds turned out…… They look amazing and very realistic.

    Your “lizard schemed” A-10 reminds me of another story…… I’ll keep it short. One of the A-10 “drivers” was making a simulated strafing run on our tank column as we were road marching on a tank trail in the desert. He (or she) flew so low over the top of our tank, the aircraft removed the top section of our radio antennae !!! My loader froze in fear and kept his head and upper torso sticking out above the loader’s hatch on the turret. I ducked down inside the Tank Commander’s cupola and popped back up after the plane flew over us. I watched in amazement as the A-10 continued to fly low along the entire length of our tank column. I watched the vortex from the jet kick up dust along the wingtips as the pilot flew over the rest of the column.

    Then as quick as it appeared, it was gone………… Just like that it disappeared using the terrain as cover so we couldn’t see it anymore.

    I’m glad they flew on our side. Watching one make a strafing run and firing the Gatling gun cannon is another amazing sight to see. I’ll save that one for later.

    Thanks again for posting this.

    Definitely “liked” !!!!

    • Thanks Louis, yeah I wonder how quick those 30 years have passed. I look back and think hmmm what did I miss? At the forward deployed air base at Al Jouf where we would stage our mission from as well all the Specs ops. So not only us but RAF, USAF and the Saudi’s were operating out of this base as well. One of the neat units that would rotate in would be a couple of A-10’s that would support rescue ops as “Sandy’s”. Which one incident made national headlines when a Jolly Green Giant rescued an F-14 pilot as one of the A-10’s supported that rescue mission. That is the A-10 along with the Stealth. Those Warthogs are incredible, still serving.

  6. Great build Chuck, I was 15 years old then and remember this event like yesterday! This F117 is a great one, some of the pictures would fool one for the real deal, the “remove before flight” strips give it a great finish! @uscusn

  7. Great presentation and build, Chuck! Had I been keen on the date, I would have gotten my Italeri (Testors) F-117 off the work bench this weekend.. current being decaled up as “Mad Max”. As the others have said, you’ve nicely detailed a rather “simple” airframe. Definitely liked!

  8. Thanks Andrew, you still can if you wish ,there is no time limit. So have at it.

  9. Awesome build, Chuck!

  10. Very nice rendition of the Wobbly Goblin!

    • You know I was around someone who worked on the F-117. And they don’t like that Wobblin Goblin moniker. I have read that term in some references about that. And for the most part was never an official term for the Stealth fighter. I would probably figure that didn’t want any negative said about the Stealth.

  11. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    A not much seen model Chuck … yet as soon as I saw it, memories of those times flashed by … thank you.
    Very good work on it, the weathering is very well done.

  12. Awesome build Chuck @uscusn! Great presentation as well. Wow………30 years ago. I was glued to the TV watching all that was coming in.

    Well Done!

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