The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War

The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War

The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War

The Road to Safwan: The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War

Synopsis

Presents the history of the 1st Infantry Division's cavalry unit fighting in Operation Desert Storm, showing how the unit deployed, went into combat, and adapted to changing circumstances. This work describes how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses.

Excerpt

In the early morning hours of March 1, 1991, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Robert Wilson and his 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry arrived at a small airstrip outside the Iraqi village of Safwan. a temporary cease-fire following Operation Desert Storm had been in effect for almost twenty-four hours and his division commander, Major General Thomas G. Rhame, had told Wilson to secure the runway forward of the American battle lines, for the upcoming negotiations between Iraqi officials and American General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of the allied coalition. Unfortunately, a large Iraqi force occupied the directed conference site. Wilson, in his M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle, drove onto the airfield, dismounted, and approached the senior Iraqi officer at the site. He told the colonel that the airfield at Safwan was now under the control of the United States Army and he must move his men and equipment immediately. Obviously disturbed by the American’s words and unaware that there even were negotiations scheduled between the two forces, the Iraqi officer left to speak to his commander. As he departed, four Iraqi tanks moved in front of Wilson’s vehicle and lowered their gun tubes.

The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry’s encounter on that small airfield in southern Iraq was one of hundreds of similar dramas that played out that winter during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. To the generation of Americans who came of age during that conflict, it was a whirlwind of television images of sand, airpower, and precision technology. Countless articles, television shows, and documentaries obscured the context and content of Operation Desert Storm by burying it in a haze of smart bombs, Tom-

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