The U-2 in Desert Storm



The Dragon Lady Meets the Challenge
The U-2 in Desert Storm


19 June 1961 Kuwait declared free and independent.

March 1973 Iraqi troops occupied As Samitah, a border town in

northeast Kuwait.

February 1979 Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini

overthrows the shah and takes control of Iran.

16 July 1979 Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq and

commander of the military.

22 Sept 1980 Without warning, Iraqi jet fighters strike Iranian

airfields near Teheran and other bases throughout

the country. This begins the Iraq-Iran war.

August 1988 End of Iraq-Iran war.


July Saddam accuses Kuwait of ruining Iraq's economy

demands Kuwait lease 8ubiyan and Warbah to Iraq and

forgive the billions in war loans. To emphasize

his demands, Saddam moved about 100,000 troops to

the Kuwaiti border.

2 August Iraqi Republican Guard divisions cross the border

and captures Kuwait. JCS alerts CENTCOM, TAC, MAC,

and SAC to prepare to deploy forces.

4 August President Bush meets with General H. Norman

Schwarzkopf and Lieutenant General Charles A.

Horner to discuss the Iraqi invasion.

6 August UN Resolution 661 calls for restoration of Kuwaiti

sovereignty, independence, and territorial

integrity, and for an embargo on Iraq. Secretary

of Defense Cheney, General Schwarzkopf, and General

Homer arrive in Saudi Arabia to talk with King


6 August King Fahd asks the United States to send forces to

Saudi Arabia to help defend his nation from

possible attack.

6 August The 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB,

California has been alerted for possible deployment

to the Middle East.

7 August President Bush orders U.S. forces to deploy to

Saudi Arabia. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of

Staff orders two U-2s deploy ASAP.

8 August An eight-person advance U-2 site survey team, led

by Lieutenant Colonel Bruce L. Liebman, departed

for Saudi Arabia.

11 August Advance U-2 element arrives at Jeddah.

11 August MAC C-5s, supplemented by SAC KC-lOs, arrived at

Beale to carry U-2s and related people and

equipment to Saudi Arabia.

13 August The site survey team arrives at Taif, in time to

meet the first KC-10 carrying a load of people and

equipment from Beale.

13 August The SENIOR BLADE van arrives at Riyahd, Saudi


17 August First two U-2s arrive at Taif.

19 August Lieutenant Colonel Lafferty arrived at CENTAF

Headquarters at Riyadh.

19 August OL-CH launched its first two OLYMPIC FLARE sorties.

22 August 48th Tactical Fighter Wing's F-llls arrived at


23 August First two TR-ls arrive at Taif.

29 August First operation ASARS mission in theater.

September The Defense Intelligence Agency and the Air Force

Intelligence Directorate asked if the MIPE could

deploy to Southwest Asia.

14 September The first incident of Iraqi fighters harassing U-2.

October 17th SRW at RAF Alconbury begins phase inspections

for 1704RS aircraft.

18 October UN announces that military action to free Kuwait

would be legitimate if sanctions fail.

1 November The buildup of coalition forces reached 243,000.

8 November President Bush orders another 200,000 troops to the

Persian Gulf.

29 November UN votes to use force against Iraq unless that

country complies with all previous UN resolutions

by 15 January 1991.

19 December The mobile intelligence processing element (MIPE)

moved to Riyadh.

31 December The first U-2 IRIS-III mission. MIPE personnel

processed the film on 1 January 1991.


2 January Lieutenant Colonel Spencer deployed from the

Pentagon's Joint Reconnaissance Center to the

CENTCOM/J-2 in Riyadh.

9 January Talks between Secretary of State Baker and Iraqi

Foreign Minister Aziz fail to reach a peace

solution to Persian Gulf crisis.

15 January Deadline for Iraqi compliance with all UN


15 January 1704RS personnel moved into tents on base to

prevent possible terrorist attacks.

15 January President Bush authorizes military action against


16 January Military action begins at 2339Z.

17 January Flying aircraft 1076 with a SYERS sensor on-board,

Major B. L. Bachus flies the first U-2 "border-

crossing" mission into Iraq.

18 January The "Great Scud Hunt" begins.

19 January General Horner makes finding and destroying Scuds

his primary target.

22 January Iraqi forces set fires at Ruwaiti refineries and at

the al-Wafra oilfields.

25 January Iraq releases millions of gallons of crude oil into

the Persian Gulf.

February A second Senior Blade van (dubbed son-of-Blade)

deploys to King Khalid Military City.

24 February The coalition invasion of Kuwait and Iraq begins at


27 February President Bush declares "Kuwait is liberated" and

"Iraq's Army is defeated."

28 February The cease-fire goes into effect at 0500Z.

October 1991 The TR-1 was redesignated U-2R.



The Dragon Lady Meets the Challenge
The U-2 in Desert Storm