Chapter 4

The Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)


"I have seen in your eyes a fire of determination to get this war done quickly. My confidence in you is total, our cause is just. Now you must be the thunder and lightning of Desert Storm."

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command
Commander of Operations of Desert Shield
and Desert Storm
U.S. Army, Retired


General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
–U.S. Army photo

A series of events lead up to the involvement of United Nations' troops in the Persian Gulf in order to ease conflicts over oil production and military build-up in the region.


July 15-17, 1990
Iraq accuses Kuwait of stealing oil from the Rumaylah oil field on the Iraq-Kuwait border and warns of military action.

July 22, 1990 – Iraq begins its military buildup against Kuwait.

August 2, 1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait. The United Nations Security Council condemns Saddam Hussein for the Iraqi invasion and calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Iraqi forces. President George Bush freezes Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets.

August 6, 1990 – Economic sanctions are authorized.

August 8, 1990 – Iraq annexes Kuwait.

August 9, 1990 – The Security Council imposes full economic and military sanctions against Iraq.

August 10, 1990 – Hussein declares a "jihad," or holy war, against the U.S. and Israel.

August 25, 1990 – The U.N. Security Council calls for the use of force, if necessary, to compel Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.

September 14, 1990 – Iraqi forces storm a number of diplomatic missions in Kuwait City.

November 29, 1990 – The Security Council sets a deadline of January 15th for the peaceful withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait.


Maine citizens pay tribute to Desert Storm peacekeepers:

I am voting in honor of Lieutenant General Calvin Waller (deceased). LTG Waller was a soldier's soldier. He served in Vietnam and was General Norman Schwarzkopf's deputy command in Desert Storm.
Colonel J.T. Cuccaro, Freeport
Served 2 tours in Vietnam, U.S. Army (Ret.)

My husband, John Nelson, served 16 years active duty. He advanced from E-1 to Major and was awarded the Bronze Star for service as a medical officer in the Persian Gulf War. He is now in the National Guard and still serving as an Aviation Physician Assistant, U.S. Army.
Hattie Nelson, Lincoln
Served in the Women's Army Corp

Two Soldiers

I am honoring my spouse, Hans W. Heins, who gave twenty years of his life to keep all of us safe. Every day he served was one day each one of us had one more day of freedom. His belief was to serve his country with his heart and soul, to honor and obey, and to die for her if the need may come, and I am proud of him for this.

He joined the Navy in 1976, the end of the Vietnam War. But he still got over there to fix downed aircraft. He also served during Desert Storm. In the twenty years he served it was not done as a job; it was a choice, a choice he would do again.

I would also like to honor all the other veterans that served as well, the ones that never came home, and the ones that did. I honor all who served in all our wars, from the Minutemen to the most current soldiers. They did so from the desire to do something for their country and the people they loved, and now it's our time to honor them all.
Patricia E. Heins, West Gardiner


I am voting in honor of AK1 Debra L. Matchett, who served 20 years in the Navy and was an intricate part of Desert Storm.
Layne Curtis, Lisbon

Debra L. Matchett
Debra L. Matchett

I pay tribute to my aunt, Rhoda Sinatra, who served in Operation Desert Storm and is retired Navy.
Yussif Rishani, Bangor

My son, Chester W. Goggin, is retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service, including duty in Vietnam and Desert Storm. Also, I honor my son Richard J. Goggin, who was killed in Vietnam, my daughter Donna E. Goggin, a 20-year Air Force veteran, and my brother Donald C. Eye, who was a 20-year Navy veteran.
Thelma E. Brooks, Waterville

Pamela J. Farnsworth
Pamela J. Farnsworth


I am voting in honor of my daughter, Pamela J. Farnsworth, PNC (Ret.), who served in the U.S. Navy from 1973 – 1996 during Vietnam and Desert Storm.
Virginia Farnsworth, Bar Harbor


My niece, Debby (Elderkin) Willis, deserves to be honored when we vote. She was in the Army and was a hostage in Kuwait. Now she is a civilian and is a lawyer.
Patricia Johnson, Parkman

Debby Willis
Debby Willis



January 15, 1991
– The deadline of the U.N. Resolution 678 for Iraq to withdraw expires at midnight.

January 16, 1991 – Allied forces begin Operation Desert Storm with a massive air offensive. U.S. warplanes attack Iraqi forces in Kuwait and military targets in Iraq.

January 17, 1991 – Iraq launches its first SCUD Missile attack.

February 1, 1991 – U.S. Secretary of Defense warns that the U.S. will retaliate if Iraq uses chemical or unconventional weapons.

February 8, 1991 – The total number of U.S. troops in the Gulf is now over a half million.

February 25, 1991 – Iraqi SCUD missile hits a U.S. barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 27 U.S. soldiers.

February 27, 1991 – President Bush orders a cease-fire effective at midnight Kuwaiti time. President Bush declares Kuwait liberated.

March 3, 1991 – Iraqi leaders formally accept the cease-fire.

March 4, 1991 – First allied POWs freed.

March 5, 1991 – Remaining POWs released.



My son, LTJG. James B. (Jeb) Shields, was killed in the line of duty on March 21, 1991, when two P3 Orions collided in the sky off the coast of California.
Bethel B. Shields, Auburn

James B. Shields
James B. Shields


April 3, 1991
– The U.N. Security Council approves the cease-fire agreement in the Gulf and calls on Iraq to respect the boundaries, pay war compensation and destroy chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.


Gulf War Troops Return Home

Approximately 697,000 U.S. troops served during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. When troop carriers first began returning home, crowds of Mainers greeted flights returning from the Persian Gulf at the Bangor International Airport to give U.S. soldiers an all-American welcome.

I am voting to honor my brother, Charles "Chuck" Nute. He was a medic serving with the 11th Arm. Cav. 37th Med Co in the late 60's. He met every Desert Storm flight coming into Bangor.
Steve Nute, Belfast
Served during the Vietnam era

Television viewers across the country watched as Sgt. Kevin Tillman, among the first soldiers to receive the Bangor "welcome home" greetings, performed his impromptu rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on a saxophone borrowed from a musician in the John Bapst Memorial High School band.

When the last official flight departed from Bangor on May 27, 1991, crowds in Maine's Queen City had enthusiastically welcomed home an estimated 100,000 Gulf War soldiers. To commemorate these acts of kindness, Everett Steele, himself a Korean veteran, helped organize a 10-year reunion on March 7, 2001, at Bangor International Airport, for those who had been part of the Bangor Homecoming festivities. Steele estimates that he and a handful of others had greeted 350 flights since that first carrier landed.

Sgt.Tillman, in remarks made during that anniversary reception, remembers the enthusiastic outpouring of patriotism and gratitude that greeted him on his return home:

"If the first troop carriers had not come to Maine, and not come to Bangor, what did happen may not have happened. By rising to the occasion…and setting the standard for the rest of the country and how we take care of our military personnel, you all left no doubt…why we do what we do."

Sargeant Kevin Tillman

from the Bangor Daily News, March 8, 2001

Additional Tributes Submitted Online

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