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War Chronology: January 1991

1 Jan
USS MISSOURI (BB-63) arrives in the Gulf of Oman. USNS MERCY (T-AH 19) records 1,000th helicopter landing.

2 Jan
CINCCENTCOM announces new U.S. troop strength at over 325,000 in region (35,000 USN, 55,000 USMC); updates numbers of intercepts - 6,221; boardings - 749; diversions - 32. Navy ship strength: 25 (Arabian Gulf), 20 (North Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman), 10 (Red Sea). 6 anti-ship mines discovered floating in Gulf during December, all destroyed. Investigation of origin/date of deployment continues. USNS ANDREW J. HIGGINS (T-AO 190) runs aground on an uncharted reef off Oman, hull rupture leaks undetermined amount of mixed fuels. No injuries.

4 Jan
USS GUAM (LPH-9) and USS TRENTON (LPD-14) conduct Operation EASTERN EXIT. Embarked elements of 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade evacuated 65 U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals caught in civil war in Somalia. Evacuees helicoptered from U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu to ships offshore. No injuries or incidents. USS MISSOURI responded to distress call from Saudi-flagged tanker TABUK (2 small fires, inoperative fire pump) near Dubai. MISSOURI fire party and repair officer transferred onboard, and extinguished fire.

Spanish frigate intercepts and diverts Soviet-flagged cargo ship DIMITRIY FERMANOV in Northern Red Sea after multinational boarding team, including Navy personnel from USS MISSISSIPPI (CGN- 40), discovered improperly-manifested military equipment on board. DIMITRIY FERMANOV, enroute from Odessa, USSR to Aqaba, Jordan, anchors while manifest awaits reconciliation and is found to be in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

SECNAV activates 438 additional Naval Reservists from 55 units.

5 Jan
With Operation EASTERN EXIT, the U.S. Ambassador, the Soviet ambassador, and 193 additional foreign nationals evacuated in four helicopter roundtrips from U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia to USS GUAM and USS TRENTON. The rescue operation was initiated from a range of 460 miles, and involved the first in-flight night refueling of helicopters by USMC KC-130s. 60 U.S. Marines provided rear security until 48-hour evacuation completed. Evacuees taken to undisclosed location for processing and return to respective countries.

6 Jan
USS SARATOGA (CV-60) transits Suez Canal en route Red Sea for the fifth time, a record canal transit by any Navy ship during a single deployment. USS MISSISSIPPI diverts a freighter in the N. Red Sea.

7 Jan
In Operation SHARP EDGE, USMC Fleet Antiterrorist Security Team (FAST) relieves Marine Amphibious Readiness Group at U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia providing security.

8 Jan
DOD announces new U.S. troop strength at over 360,000 in region (540,000+ Iraqi troops); updates numbers of intercepts - 6,566; boardings - 785; diversions - 34; 147,300 Reserves/National Guard recalled: 9,939 Navy, 18,155 USMC. Navy ship strength in region - 63: 18 (Arabian Gulf), 21 (North Arabian Sea/ Gulf of Oman), 12 (Red Sea), 12 (Mediterranean). Sealift update: 245 ships in support, 218 under MSC operational control; 253 offloads completed (12 billion pounds of equipment/fuel). Soviet-flagged DIMITRY FERMANOV remains in the Red Sea. Cargo ship will be allowed to proceed to its destination of Aqaba when the intercept force has determined the cargo is properly manifested.

9 Jan
Anti-ship contact mine discovered in Arabian Gulf, the 9th in last week. USS MISSOURI (BB-63) explosive ordnance disposal team retrieved/destroyed. USS NASHVILLE (LPD-13) departs Liberian coast, ending Operation SHARP EDGE. USS ELMER MONTGOMERY boards 100th ship, designated MIF Centurion as first ship in theater to reach this milestone. SECNAV activates 1,868 additional Naval Reservists from 333 units.

10 Jan
USS MISSISSIPPI diverts a freighter in the N. Red Sea.

8-ship Amphibious Task Force enters Arabian Gulf to conduct routine operations. Led by USS NASSAU (LHA-2), task force carries complement of nearly 10,000 sailors and Marines.

12 Jan
U.S. Congress approves joint resolutions authorizing the use of force against Iraq USS RANGER (CV-61) Carrier Battle Group arrives on station in the North Arabian Sea. Amphibious Group Three (with 5th MEB embarked) arrives on station in the Arabian Sea. The 18-ships, USS OKINAWA (LPH-3), USS TARAWA (LHA-1), USS TRIPOLI (LPH-10), USS NEW ORLEANS (LPH- 11), USS OGDEN (LPD-5), USS VANCOUVER (LPD-2), USS DENVER (LPD-9), USS ]UNEAU (LPH-10), USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD-43), USS GERMANTOWN (LSD-42), USS ANCHORAGE (LSD-36), USS MOUNT VERNON (LSD-39), USS DURHAM (LKA 114), USS MOBILE (LKA 115), USS CAYUGA (LST-1184), USS BARBOUR COUNTY (LST-1195), USS PEORIA (LST-1183), and USS FREDERICK (LST-1184) will join amphibious group presently deployed creating the largest amphibious task force since the Korean War. USS MIDWAY Carrier Battle Group reenters the Arabian Gulf. USS MISSOURI explosive ordnance disposal team retrieves/detonates another anti-ship contact mine in the Arabian Gulf USS OLDENDORF (DD-972) and USS TRENTON (LPD-14) team boarded/ inspected IBN KHALDOON, and after determining Iraqi-flagged cargo ship was no longer carrying prohibited cargo, vessel was cleared to proceed to stated destination Basrah, Iraq. No incidents.

14 Jan
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) Carrier Battle Group transits Suez Canal. arrives on station in the Red Sea. Navy ship strength in Central Command Area of Responsibility - 91: 35 (Arabian Gulf), 35 (North Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman), 21 (Red Sea). SECNAV activates 423 additional Naval Reservists from 36 units. In second call-up, SECNAV activates 357 additional Naval Reservists from 19 units.

15 Jan
USS AMERICA (CV-66) Carrier Battle Group transits Suez Canal. arrives on station in the Red Sea. USS RANGER (CV-61) Carrier Battle Group transits to station in Arabian Gulf DOD announces new U.S. troop strength at about 415,000 in region (545,000 Iraqi troops); updates numbers of intercepts - 6913; boardings - 823; diversions - 36; 157,716 Reserves/National Guard recalled: 10,952 Navy, 21,628 USMC. Navy ship strength in region - 108: 34 (Arabian Gulf), 35 (North Arabian Sea/ Gulf of Oman), 26 (Red Sea), 13 (Mediterranean). 17 anti-ship mines discovered in Arabian Gulf since 21 December 1990. 16 are believed to be of Iraqi origin.

Soviet-flagged DIMITRY FERMANOV is diverted, not allowed to proceed to its destination of Aqaba. Vessel departs Northern Red Sea for transit back through the Suez Canal to a non-prohibited port as determined by her master.

16 Jan
At weekly briefing, CINCCENTCOM announces new U.S. troop strength at about 425,000 (60,000 USN, 75,000 USMC); 19 countries have deployed ground forces; 14 nations are participating in naval efforts (U.S., 100 ships [80 combatants]/50 multinational ships); updates numbers of intercepts - 6960; boardings - 832; diversions - 36. Completion of two naval exercises announced; Operation CANDID HAMMER: communication techniques/mine warfare drills in central Arabian Gulf (Participants: USN, Royal Saudi, French, British, Canadian, and Australian naval forces); Operation CAMELOT: personnel and equipment trained in various areas, to include anti-air warfare/vertical replenishment in central Red Sea (Participants: USN, Royal Saudi naval forces).

At 1900 (EST), White House announced commencement of OPERATION DESERT STORM, offensive action against Iraq under provisions of U.N. Security Council/U.S. Congressional resolutions.





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