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1st Cavalry Called to Desert Shield/Storm

1st Cav Div Soldiers deploy to Desert Storm

In August 1990, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for deployment to Southwest Asia as part of the joint forces participating in Operation Desert Shield. The focus at that time was the defense of Saudi Arabia against potential Iraqi attack.

Before hostilities, the First Team gained valuable experience in combined operations through coordination with French, Egyptian and Syrian forces.

With the First Team's 2nd Brigade and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) under its tactical control, the 1st Cavalry Division conducted a complex light force/heavy force defense of critical theater logistics bases.

In January 1991, the division was attached to VII (US) Corps and the focus of the First Team clearly began to shift toward offensive action. The division moved early 500 kilometers to another assembly area near King Khalid Military City (KKMC) in northern Saudi Arabia.

This put the division in a key strategic location covering the historic Wadi al Batin approach into Saudi Arabia and threatening Iraq along the same avenue into western Kuwait.

The time spent near KKMC was short, and the division once again packed up its 17,000 soldiers now accustomed to "jumping." The division moved north toward the juncture of the Saudi, Iraq and Kuwait borders through a series of defensive positions designed to thwart any preemptive attack along the Wadi. First Team deterrence was successful - no attack came. Meanwhile, the air war began and other Allied ground forces began to reposition for the

While other ground forces prepared for war, the First Team began a calculated war of deception along the Saudi border.

The enemy responded. Iraqi divisions focused forces toward the coalition threat in the Wadi, and the First Team froze them. Hussein's flanks were left thinned, allowing the other Allied Forces to attack virtually unopposed. The deception had worked.

On February 20th, in Desert Storm's "First" major mounted ground engagement, the division's 2nd (Blackjack) Brigade attacked 10 miles into Iraq, confirming and destroying enemy positions. Success exacted its price. During this engagement, the Blackjack Brigade suffered the agony of the "First" three Army soldiers to be killed in action.

On February 26, the Commander of the Allied Forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf directed, "send in the First Team. Destroy the Republican Guard. Let's go home."

The division charged west pausing only to refuel before passing through breeches in the enemy obstacle belt. Racing north, then east, the division moved in a vast armada of armor, stretching from horizon to horizon, Within

24 hours, the first Team had gone 300 kilometers, slicing deep into the enemy's rear. As the division prepared to destroy a Republican Guard division, the cease fire halted it.

1st Cavalry Division units setup defensive positions where the cease fire had stopped their attack, then expanded north to "Highway 8," clearing bunkers and looking for enemy equipment and soldiers. The 1st (Ironhorse) Brigade stretched through the historic Euphrates River Valley. Within 2 weeks the 1st Cav moved south into Saudi Arabia and its new assembly area (AA) Killeen. There on the plain of the Wadi al Batin - the Cav began to prepare for redeployment home.

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