Chemical-Biological Defense: U.S. Military Policies and Decisions in the Gulf War

By Albert J.Mauroni | Go to book overview

Preface

A former colleague of mine, Captain Bill Gregg, came back from the Persian Gulf War after augmenting the headquarters of the Tiger Brigade, 2d Armored Division, as a brigade chemical officer. He told war stories of the chemical defense support, the difficulties of procuring chemical defense equipment, and the military leadership's concerns about the threat of chemical-biological warfare. He told me that the story of the Chemical Corps during the war would make a great book. I casually agreed and promptly let the subject go. It wasn't until three years later that I noticed a disturbing trend in the many books written about Operation Desert Shield/Storm. All stressed that the political and military leadership were concerned about the chemical-biological weapons threat from Iraq. All of these books detailed the heavy, hot protective clothing, the protective masks ever present around the waists of soldiers, and the Fox reconnaissance vehicles present to warn of the threat. Most scholars agreed that the massive conventional attacks against the nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons production and storage sites, combined with not-so-veiled diplomatic threats of retaliation, had been a factor in stopping Saddam's use of weapons of mass destruction, as they were termed. Many books also quoted General Schwarzkopf's statement about Iraq's potential for chemical-biological warfare attacks: “We just thank goodness that they didn't!”

No one was bothering to ask why the US military, having the skills and resources of the Army Chemical Corps so readily available, was unprepared for an opponent using World War I and II chemical-biological agents in 1990. The reason had to be more than the military distaste and public revulsion for these unconventional weapons. The second point that irritated me was that I, as an Army chemical officer, didn't know what my colleagues had done in the Persian Gulf. Obviously, there was a failure somewhere to communicate exactly what had transpired among the professionals within the NBC defense community. After a limited open-source literature search, I realized that the best sources of information were the many chemical officers and non-commissioned officers that had served

-xv-

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Chemical-Biological Defense: U.S. Military Policies and Decisions in the Gulf War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Abbreviations xix
  • Chapter 1 - Incidents in the Gulf 1
  • Chapter 2 - Deployment to the Desert 19
  • Chapter 3 - Building Up the Defense 43
  • Chapter 4 - Move to the Offense 61
  • Chapter 5 - Tensions Rise in the Gulf 75
  • Chapter 6 - Operation Desert Storm Begins 91
  • Chapter 7 - “…and Then We Are Going to Kill It” 109
  • Chapter 8 - After-Action Report 129
  • Chapter 9 - Agent Orange Revisited? 151
  • Chapter 10 - Conclusion 169
  • Appendix A 187
  • Appendix B 191
  • Appendix C 201
  • Notes 209
  • Selected Bibliography 227
  • Index 231
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