Desert Storm – 1st Gulf War Gets Its Own Memorial

F-117 Nighthawk Played an Essential Role in the Conflict.

The National Mall in downtown Washington contains different memorials to every war that the United States has been involved in. Included are the memorial to the Second World War, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which will be just half a mile away from the proposed site for the newest war memorial to be erected: The National Desert Storm Memorial.

It will be located in the western part of the National Mall, next to the Lincoln Memorial and adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

The location for the memorial came about after a number of rounds of heady debate but ultimately came down from the US Commission of Fine Arts, who decided on the location after reviewing a plan already supported by the National Capital Planning Commission.

A Marine at Vietnam Memorial. Photo: Meutia Chaerani – Indradi Soemardjan / CC-BY-SA 2.5

The organization responsible for the memorial’s planning and construction, The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, experienced considerable resistance from the authorities regarding that spot in particular.

They argued that the placing of the monument elsewhere would impede attempts to reach it in relation to the other war memorials. The project hit a snag when in March when the Capital Planning and Fine Arts commissions failed to reach an agreement required for the commencement of the project.

US Army soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade during the Gulf War

The Desert Storm memorial received official approval in a resolution by United States President Donald Trump, who signed off on it in March. The construction of the memorial is set to begin in 2021 and will cost approximately twenty-five million dollars.

M1A1 Abrams Tanks from the 3rd Armored Division.

It will commemorate the actions of the approximately seven hundred thousand United States troops who were deployed to fight in the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

The human cost in reversing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was nearly 400 dead and 800 wounded coalition soldiers, while the estimates regarding the death toll for the Iraqis were around twenty to thirty-five thousand lives.

US Barracks following an Iraqi SCUD missile attack.

The Gulf War, which had the codenames  Desert Shield and Desert Storm, was a war waged by a worldwide coalition of forces with the express purpose of pushing the army of Iraq out of Kuwait, which it had occupied and annexed. Desert Shield and Desert Storm themselves refer to the two phases of the Gulf War, which occurred between 1990 and 1991.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and President George Bush visit US troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990.

Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait began 2nd August 1990 and was met with widespread international condemnation. This came in the form of economic sanctions by members of the U.N. Security Council followed by the deployment of U.S. forces into Saudi Arabia, who were joined by other countries deploying their own.

In the end, the first Gulf War was the largest military coalition since the Second World War, with the greatest contributors by far being the United States, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Egypt, in that order. In terms of the cost, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf States put up thirty-six million American dollars of the sixty-billion dollar cost.

Oil well fires rage outside Kuwait City in 1991

The National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act made its way to the House of Representatives on February 5, 2014, introduced by Representative David P. Roe, a Republican from Tennessee.

It was referred first to the United States House Committee on Natural Resources and then the House National Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environment Regulation. It was amended once by the committee on May 6th and then passed on May 28th with a unanimous vote of 370-0.

F-15Es During Operation Desert Shield.

The official address for the memorial will be 23rd St NW and Constitution Ave NW, in Washington, D.C., but even though the ground has been secured, the next hurdle for the project is the acquisition of all the required funding as the construction of the building and the monument will include no use of taxpayer funds.

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