If you ask Michael Robinson, he’ll tell you the skills and profound sense of purpose he gained while leading Marines in Desert Storm helped him climb the corporate ladder in his post-military career. His journey from Platoon Sergeant to Director of Seller Tools, Programs and Services at eBay took years of personal growth, networking and understanding the value he adds to the civilian workforce.
My earliest television memory other than my Saturday morning cartoon ritual was watching Operation Desert Storm occur live. And since it was the first American war to have 24-hour news coverage — and since, like many families, we only had one TV — it was the only thing I saw.
Anthony Drees vividly recalls the 1991 Iraqi missile attack on U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia that claimed the lives of more than two dozen fellow service members — an event that would also put his on a new course.
In response to my item the other day opposing a Desert Storm Memorial (my concerns were, 1. Too small an operation and, 2. War it began not yet over), I got a lot of responses. Some of it hate mail. It is striking how unimaginative such messages are—same words again and again. It felt like we were sitting in the Long March Bar and a bunch of drunks ran through screaming and then ran out the back door. And then the regulars right the chairs and order another round of Imperial IPAs.
On the morning of Feb. 21, an American official with the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait paid a visit to Jermaine Rogers, a 41-year-old U.S. Army veteran incarcerated at Central Prison, a notorious jail complex on the outskirts of Kuwait City. Last year, Rogers’ sentence — for the crime of possessing seven grams of cocaine — was reduced from death by public hanging to life in prison. He has been behind bars for two and a half years and maintains his innocence. According to Rogers, the Embassy official brought with him a printed copy of a Task & Purpose article, titled American Veterans Say They’re Being Abused In A Kuwaiti Prison And The Government Hardly Cares, which had been published the day before — and he wasn’t happy.
Desert Storm was one of the most lopsided conflicts in modern history. For several weeks in the spring of 1991, an American-led coalition of 32 countries pummeled the military of Saddam Hussein as it retreated from Kuwait into the heart of Iraq. Casualty estimates vary widely, but it’s safe to say that tens of thousands of Iraqis — soldiers and civilians — were killed in the offensive. Coalition ground forces stopped short of Baghdad. Commanders theorized (correctly) that taking out Saddam would plunge the country into a civil war. In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis perished as a result of malnutrition, preventable diseases, and other causes attributable to the international sanctions that the United States advocated for to punish Saddam. We obliterated Iraq. Mission accomplished.