WASHINGTON: Several US Gulf War Veterans expressed their honor to take part in the liberation of Kuwait, reiterating that they would do it again ‘in a heartbeat.’ Exactly twenty-five years ago today, the United States Army, backed by an international coalition of 34 countries, began the Desert Storm mission, an operation that lasted 41 days, resulting in the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s occupying troops.
In several interviews with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the Army veterans said that they are proud to have partaken in ‘something very significant,’ liberating and returning a forcefully occupied land to its rightful owner.
Scott Stump, a Gulf War Veteran and the President and CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial (NDSWM) committee, said that “I am honored to be a part of this momentous war, we did the right thing, I am proud to make a difference in Kuwaiti people’s lives, giving them a future.” Stump added that knowing what the Kuwaiti people have endured during the seven-month invasion urged the half a million US troop to combat the “terrorism” that was inflicted upon them.
Gulf War memorial
The NDSWM is designing and lobbying to place a Gulf War memorial on the National Mall in the heart of the US capital Washington DC to highlight the 292 US servicemen who gave their lives for the two operations in the war, Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
They are in the process of choosing the ground and designing in a way that highlights the efforts of all the coalition and educates in one of the most important and most swiftly won wars that the US have partook in the 20th century.
It was an ultimate success, “what it was supposed to be and what it ended up being were so different,” Stump noted about the offensive operation, Desert Storm, that began its aerial and naval bombardment of occupying Iraqi forces for five weeks and a ground assault on the February 24th, only two days before the official liberation of the State of Kuwait.
Stump visualized the dark black smoke that came out of Kuwait oil fields as it was set on fire “desperately” by Iraqi forces as they were fleeing out of Kuwait’s north boarder. “We have a responsibility to our fellow man,” Kent Shively, a US Marine infantry during the Gulf War, told KUNA and that “nobody has a desire to leave their family and home, but when you see snippets of what has occurred to your people (Kuwaitis), you go on ahead.”
“To be a 19-year-old kid and write your own will,” Shively said who was married for 3 and half weeks at that time, but the swift victory gave them “an enormous sense of relief, as we believed this mission was a one-way trip.”
Finish the job
On the other hand, Stephen Venneman who was a Firefinder Radar Operator during the war said that “I only wish we would have been able to finish the job and remove Saddam Hussein from power,” however; he added “we met out objective to liberate the people of Kuwait from an illegal occupation.”
“I knew i wanted to go as soon as we heard about the Iraqi invasion,” Venneman reiterated “I felt that the invasion was wrong, unjustified, and deserved a swift and decisive response from the international community,” which it did.
On the reaction when he returned to the US after the victory he explained “I was treated like a conquering hero,” noting that “I treasure the Liberation of Kuwait medal I received from the Kuwaiti government.”
A fourth US Army Veteran Cee Freeman also told KUNA that “I had to say goodbye to my parents,” but when asked if he would do it again; he and the other veterans jumped and said “in a heartbeat.” “We were riding along with a full army brigade when the news of the ceasefire broke and Kuwait’s liberation. Miles of vehicles halted, soldiers came out of their vehicles and started jumping like kids,” Freeman recalled. “We have accomplished the mission.”
Starting January 17th, 1991, the international coalition back-then lead by the United States launched an aerial campaign dropping over 88 tons of bombs destroying Iraqi military infrastructure, targets and Scud missile launchers. More than 900,000 troops participated in Operation Desert Storm that continued two days after announcing Kuwait’s free on the February 26th ending the around seven-month occupation. – KUNA