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Before the shale oil boom in the United States, Americans were reliant on the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf.  The tiny Emirate of Kuwait was a reliable partner for us and a major oil producer in the region.  When the country of Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush launched the 82nd Airborne Division as the initial American ground force in the Persian Gulf under Operation Desert Shield.  President Bush explained that he was "drawing a line in the sand" by inserting the All Americans with their light M551 Sheridans, TOW missiles, and AH-64A Apache helicopters.

The United States quickly assembled an allied coalition of forces around the 82nd Airborne Division and committed to the largest military deployment since Vietnam. Air strikes against Iraq began on January 16th and the ground phase of the war, Operation Desert Storm, began on February 24th.

The 82nd Airborne conducted airmobile and mounted operations, penetrating deep into Iraq. Vehicle mounted All American Paratroopers allowed fast-moving armor and mechanized units to move deep inside Iraq. In the short 100-hour ground war, the Division captured thousands of Iraqi soldiers and tons of equipment, weapons and ammunition. With its mission complete, the 82nd Airborne began to deploy home on 7 March 1991. By April 1991, the entire Division was back at Fort Bragg.

In episode 39 of the All American Legacy podcast, we tell the story of the 82nd Airborne Division's role in the Persian Gulf War.

The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division with new epsiodes every Tuesday.  Please subsribe on iTunes and tell others about the program.  

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