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Glossary: Operation Desert Storm


Definition: Operation Desert Storm was the air and ground assault phase of the the first Gulf War against Iraq, which had invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990. Operation Desert Storm followed Operation Desert Shield at 3 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1991, as a U.S.-led coalition force of 30 nations launched an air war on Iraqi forces in Kuwait and thousands of Iraqi targets in Iraq proper. The air assault, carried out overwhelmingly by American and British warplanes, lasted 38 days.

On Feb. 24, 1991, at 4 a.m. Iraqi time, the coalition's ground assault began. About 120,000 Iraqi forces occupied Kuwait at the time. Kuwait was cleared of Iraqi forces within 100 hours and a cease-fire declared at 8:01 a.m. on Feb. 28, 1991, bringing Operation Desert Storm to an end. U.S. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf was the commander in chief of the operation.

Coalition combat air sorties flown totaled more than 116,000. For the combined Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, U.S. casualties totaled 148 battle deaths and 145 nonbattle deaths, and 467 wounded in action.

Use of Force Resolution in Congress: The Vote

The U.S. Senate had approved the the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution by a vote of 52 to 47 on Jan. 12, 1991 (the majority including 42 Republicans and 10 mostly Southern Democrats). The House of Representatives approved the measure 250 to 183, with 164 Republicans and 86 Democrats in favor of the use of force, 179 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 1 independent opposed.

Also Known As: Gulf War I
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