THE ROAD TO SAFWAN: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War

Article excerpt

THE ROAD TO SAFWAN: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Stephen A. Bourque and John W. Burdan III, University of North Texas, Denton, 2007, 312 pages, 27.95.

Consider the humble unit history, a popular genre that combines memoir, after action report, and operational journal. The Combined Arms Research Library index at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, lists 172 such offerings, from histories of national armies and strategic campaigns to the understandably more concise account of the 1139th MP Company's recent operations in Baghdad. The collection also features three separate and lengthy bibliographies of military unit histories, suggesting there's plenty more where the others came from.

Stephen Bourque and John Burdan's The Road to Sqfwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, represents an important and enlightening addition to this collection. subject combines an appropriately significant topic and a relatively brief timeline, focusing on a divisional cavalry squadron that assumed its combat mission within weeks of its arrival in theater and later provided security at the ceasefire negotiations that ended the war.

The squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of the 1st Infantry Division in early January, only days before the start of the coalition's air campaign to liberate Iraq. After retrieving its equipment, the unit moved to the Saudi Arabian border, where it performed a dangerous and difficult border security mission, then supported the division's attack into Iraq and Kuwait as part of the coalition's ground campaign in late February. …