U.S. Navy in Desert Shield/Desert Storm banner

War Chronology: March 1991

1 March
DOD announces cease-fire remains in effect, only one minor violation. U.S./coalition forces remain on alert, in strong defensive positions. DOD reports Marines captured, destroyed, or damaged, 1,060 tanks, 608 armored personnel carriers, 432 artillery pieces, five FROG launchers and 2 SCUD transporter erector launchers during 100 hours of offensive combat. Marine sweeps also uncovered a bunker containing chemical artillery shells.

Navy, Marine and other aircraft are conducting defensive, counter-air, reconnaissance, SCUD reaction, and resupply operations.

Naval forces are conducting maritime interception and minesweeping operations. 125 mines have been destroyed to-date.

Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers waving white flags on Faylaka Island surrendered to the battleship USS MISSOURI's Remotely Piloted Vehicle flying overhead after their trenchline was bombarded.

The U.S., British, French and Canadian Embassies are open in Kuwait City and fully functioning. Kuwaiti International Airport is operational.

2 March
By 11-1 vote, U.N. Security Council approves Resolution 686, outlining conditions Iraq must meet prior to a formal cease-fire. Conditions include release of all POWs, release of all Kuwaiti hostages, provide locations of all mines in Kuwait, and compliance with all previous U.N. resolutions.

DOD announces cease-fire remains in effect. U.S./coalition forces remain on alert in defensive positions. Navy, Marine and other aircraft are flying reconnaissance, resupply and combat air patrol missions.

Naval forces are conducting continuing maritime interception and minesweeping operations. USS WISCONSIN's RPV gathered intelligence on Faylaka Island's defenses prior to evacuation of Iraqi EPWs.

Marine LAV strikes a land mine, killing one Marine, wounding three others. Mine-clearing operations continue.

Over a thousand additional enemy prisoners of war surrender at Talil Airfield. To-date, over 50,000 EPWs in custody.

3 March
CINCCENTCOM General Norman Schwazkopf and Joint Forces Commander General Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz meet 7 Iraqi military officials, led by Deputy Chief of Staff LT General Sultan lIasheem Ahmad, at Safwan Airfield in occupied Iraq. After two hour meeting, Iraqi military formally accepted all demands for a permanent cease-fire. Iraq agrees to immediate release of a small number of POWs as a token of good faith, and to safety measures to ensure that military forces do not accidentally engage each other with hostile fire.

DOD announces defensive air reconnaissance and combat air patrol operations continue. Naval forces continue defensive counter-air, reconnaissance, maritime interception and minesweeping operations.

Navy CH-46 helos with loudspeakers rounded-up 1,405 surrendering Iraqi troops on Faylaka Island. EPWs were ferried by helo to the USS OGDEN (LPD-5) for further transport to Saudi EPW facilities. 62,000+ EPWs in custody to-date.

Twenty Iraqi aircraft, including F-1s, MIG-21s, and 8 helos, were captured in bunkers at Talil Airfield.

4 March
Iraq releases ten Prisoners of War (6 Americans. 3 of whom were designated MIA), including Navy LT Jeffrey Zaun, LT Robert Wetzel, and LT Lawrence Slade. No Marines repatriated. POWs were turned over to U.S. officials by the International Committee of the Red Cross near the Jordanian border station of Ruwayshid, then transferred to the hospital ship USNS MERCY (T-AH 19) for medical treatment.

DOD announces establishment of a demarcation zone in southern Iraq between U.S./coalition forces and Iraqi forces to prevent engagements between forces. Iraqis have provided information on location of land and sea mines.

Naval forces are conducting defensive counter-air, mine removal, reconnaissance, and maritime interception operations. Air reconnaissance operations continue, including over Baghdad.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 98 KIA, 308 WIA, 35 MIA, 6 POW (reflects release of 6 Americans). Enemy prisoners of war total 63,000+ in Saudia Arabia, 37,000 in U.S. facilities, 3,000+ in Turkey.

6,661 Naval Reservists are currently serving in the Arabian Gulf theater.

5 March
Iraq releases thirty five Prisoners of War (15 Americans. 9 of whom were designated MIA) to the International Red Cross, including USMC Lieutenant Colonel Clifford Acree, Chief Warrant Officer Guy Hunter, Jr., Captain Michael Berryman, Captain Russell Sanborn, and Major Joseph Small III. No Navy personnel released.

DOD announces minor repositioning of forces in the KTO, continued defensive posture. Naval forces are conducting counter-air, reconnaissance, maritime interception operations and mine removal.

To-date, 140 mines dectroyed. USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS diverts freighter in N. Red Sea.

Over 114,000 sorties have been flown by U.S. and coalition forces.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 115 KIA. 65 Non-Combat Fatalities. 330 WIA. 37 MIA. 6 POW. Based on the end of hostilities with Iraq,

USS FORRESTAL (CV-59) Carrier Battle Group will not deploy on March 7 as previously announced. The eight ships and embarked air wing will be ready to deploy should circumstances warrant.

Sealift update: 247 ships in support, 211 under MSC operational control; 450 offloads completed (18.3 billion pounds of fuel and equipment involving 2,000+ tanks, 2,200 armored vehicles, 1,000 assorted helos, aircraft, trucks and other combat equipment for the Marines and Air Force, hundreds of self-propelled Howitzers for the Army, and equipment for three Navy Fleet Hospitals).

6 March
At D + 49, in a prisoner exchange, 35 released Prisoners of War transit from Baghdad to Riyadh, 294 Iraqi Enemy Prisoners of War transit to Baghdad. U.S. POWs are transferred to USNS MERCY for medical treatment.

DOD announces cease-fire is holding, no incidents. Information exchange on location of land and sea mines continues. Mine clearing and equipment-collecting sweeps continue. To-date. 3.700 Iragi tanks. 2.400+ armored personnel carriers. and 2.600+ artillery pieces have been destroyed. damaged or captured.

Elements of 1st Marine Division withdraw from Kuwait to defensive positions in Saudi Arabia, 2d Marine Division shifts into 1st Marine Division's former positions.

Naval forces continue to conduct defensive counter-air operations to protect U.S. fleet, combat air patrols, maritime interceptions and minesweeping to clear A1 Ashwaba and other mined Kuwaiti ports. USS NEW ORLEANS (LPH 11), an embarked mine countermeasures squadron and four mine countermeasures ships, are leading minesweeping activities, aided by ships from UK, Holland and Belgium.

USS WISCONSIN redeploys for home.

Marine AH-NJ Cobra helo is lost in a non-combat mishap. Both crewmembers were injured. U.S. aircraft losses to-date: 57 (35 fixed-wing-27 in combat, 8 in non-combat-and 22 helos-5 in combat, 17 in non-combat). To-date, 116,000+ sorties have been flown.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 115 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds), 78 Non-combat fatalities. 338 WIA, 26 MIA (5 Navy. 2 USMC). 0 POW.

President Bush addresses joint session of Congress: "I can report to the nation: Aggression is defeated. The war is over."

DOD announces list of units in initial redeployment to home stations:

U. S. NAVY Medical staff (USNS MERCY, USNS COMFORT, Fleet Hospital Five (1,742 pers) - to arrive in CONUS 8 March at various destinations via Norfolk, Travis/Andrews AFB. Naval Special Warfare Trng Grp 1 (115 pers) - to NAB Coronado. Naval Beach Group ONE (210 pers) - to NAS North Island. Amphibious Medical Support Unit (95 pers) - to Philadelphia. 303 Security Unit (15 pers) - to Andrews AFB.

U.S. MARINE CORPS 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (100 pers) - MCB, 29 Palms. 1st Battalion, 5th Marines (900 pers) - MCB, Camp Pendleton. Regimental Combat Team 7 Det B (750 pers) - MCB, 29 Palms. Surveillance, Recon Intell Grp 7 (150 pers) - MCB, Camp Pendleton. Marine Air Grp 70 (150 pers) - MCB, Camp Pendleton. Brigade Svc Support Grp7 Det A (200 pers) - MCB, Camp Pendleton. Brigade Svc Support Grp 7 Det B (50 pers) - MCB, Camp Pendleton. 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines (600 pers) - MCAS, Kaneohe Bay.

7 March
Naval forces execute on-going defensive counter-air and other operations. Navy ships in the region: Six aircraft carriers (SARATOGA, JOHN . F. KENNEDY, THEODORE ROOSEVELT, MIDWAY, RANGER and AMERICA; two battleships (WISCONSIN - deploying enroute home - and MISSOURI); two command ships (BLUE RIDGE AND LASALLE); twelve cruisers; eleven destroyers; ten frigates; four mine warfare ships; thirty-one amphibious ships; thirty-two auxiliaries. Additionally, two hospital ships (MERCY and COMFORT) are in the region and other military sealift ships. USS FORRESTAL Battle Group is enroute to the region.

Maritime interception operations continue with 7,766 merchants challenged, 945 ships boarded, 48 diverted. The Navy has conducted 547 of the boardings. USS MOOSBRUGGER diverts freighter in N. Red Sea.

Navy ships are also assisting commercial vessels navigate through northern Arabian Gulf waters made potentially dangerous by mines.

8 March
Naval forces continue conducting defensive counter-air, surface surveillance, maritime interceptions and minesweeping operations. After two weeks of non-stop minesweeping operations, the port of Kuwait City is safe enough to reopen. The Federal Republic of Germany is sending minesweepers to the Arabian Gulf to assist the Navy in clearing Iraqi mines from Kuwaiti waters. Marine ground forces continue to redeploy to defensive positions. Two Marine F/A-18 jets collided in mid-air over Saudi Arabia without inJuly to either pilot. Both pilots ejected and landed safely by parachute. First Navy personnel from Arabian Gulf theater arrive in CONUS. Due to changes in operational requirements, the activation of 321 Marine Reservists has been cancelled.

9 March
Naval forces continue defensive counter-air, surface surveillance, maritime interceptions and minesweeping operations.

Marine ground forces continue retrograde to defensive positions. First USMC personnel from Arabian Gulf theater arrive in CONUS.

10 March
COMUSNAVCENT declares it-Day, the initial surge force reduction of naval forces commencing in accordance with the CINCCENT redeployment plan. Naval forces continue defensive counter-air, surface surveillance, maritime interceptions and minesweeping operations. Marine ground forces continue retrograde to defensive positions. 21 repatriated American POWs, including LT Jeffrey Zaun, LT Robert Wetzel, LT Randolph Slade (Navy), LTCOL Cliff Acree, Captain Michael Berryman, CWO Guy Hunter, Jr., Captain Russell Sanborn, and Major Joseph Small (USMC), arrive in CONUS.

11 March
USS SARATOGA and USS MIDWAY Carrier Battle Groups commence redeployments to their respective homeports USS SARATOGA . transits the Suez Canal enroute Mayport, Florida; USS MIDWAY departs the Arabian Gulf enroute Yokosuka, Japan. Naval forces continue defensive counter-air, combat air patrols, surface surveillance, maritime interceptions and minesweeping operations.

With helo from USS BIDDLE providing air cover, the 1.000th boarding of a freighter is completed in the N. Red Sea. The Cypriot-flagged DIMIS is allowed to proceed after inspection of cargo.

Marine ground forces continue retrograde to defensive positions.

Status of Marine Captain Reginald C. Underwood, missing since 24 February combat downing of his AV-8B, changed to Killed In Action.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 121 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds). 81 Non-combat fatalities 23 MIA (5 Navy. 1 USMC). 0 POW.

USNS MERCY (T-AH 19) ordered to stand down. At end of 210-day deployment, hospital ship with crew of 1,200, including 265 Naval Reservists, has treated 6,050+ outpatients from sea and land-based units, admitted 650+ patients, performed 290+ surgeries, created 900 pairs of glasses, filled 16,000 prescriptions, took 5,500+ x-rays, and conducted 21,000 laboratory procedures. Dental staff treated 2,000 + patients; physical therapy department treated 2,000 patients. 1,300+ helos landed on the ship.

USNS COMFORT (T-AH 20) ordered to stand down. At end of seven month deployment, hospital ship with crew of 1,200, admitted 700+ patients and treated 8,000+ patients. With 750 personnel redeployed to CONUS, skelton crew of 380 got underway from Bahrain anchorage at 1314 (EST) as part of the 15-ship Atlantic Amphibious Task Force led by USS NASSAU (LHA 4).

Fleet Hospitals Five and Six ordered to stand down. At end of deployment, Fleet Hospital Five has treated more than 32,000 patients, including all coalition forces, ex-patriots, EPWs and refugees, admitted 4,250 patients, performed 600 surgeries, treated 3,100+ dental patients, and filled 22,000 perscriptions.

12 March
DOD announces cease fire is holding, troop demobilization continues. Todate, 16,000 troops have returned home (approximately 4,000 Navy, 4,000 USMC). USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67), accompanied by USS SAN JACINTO, USS MISSISSIPPI. USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS USS PREBLE. USS MOOSBRUGGER and USS THOMAS S. GATES, transits the Suez Canal enroute to the Mediterranean. There are 73 Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Northern Arabian Sea, 19 Navy ships in the Red Sea, and 15 Navy ships in the Mediterranean. Command ship USS LASALLE, HMS CATTISTOCK and two tankers reopen major Kuwaiti port of Ash Shuaybah, steamed through a channel cleared of mines by a hundred U.S. and coalition divers, bringing in potable water and supplies to assist the reconstruction of Kuwait. First U.S. Navy warship to make port visit to newly- liberated Kuwait. Naval forces continue on-going counter air-defensive and other operations. Marine ground forces continue retrograde to defensive positions. DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 126 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds!. 82 Non-combat fatalities. 357 WIA. 22 MIA (5 Navv. 0 USMC!. O POW).

Status of Marine Captain David M. Spellacy, missing since 25 February combat downing of his OV-10, changed to Killed in Action.

President Bush proclaims 5-7 April as "National Days of Thanksgiving" for victory over Iraq.

13 March
Naval forces continue on-going counter air-defensive and other operations. Marine ground forces continue holding defensive positions. DOD reports over 514,000 U.S. personnel are in the theater (74,000+ Navy, 89,500+ Marines). To-date, 26,000 personnel have redeployed to the U.S. (11,000 Navy, 4,500 Marines). DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 125 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds). 93 Non-combat fatalities. 357 WIA. 21 MIA (4 Navy. 0 USMC). O POW. Iraq returns the remains of 12 coalition dead (4 U.S., 8 UK). Status of Navy LT William T. Costen, missing since 18 January combat downing of his A-6E, changed to Killed in Action. President Bush signs Executive Order establishing a Southwest Asia Service Medal for outstanding performance of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who deployed to Southwest Asia or in surrounding contiguous waters or air space on or after 2 August 1990 and participated in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.

14 March
At D + 56, Naval forces continue on-going counter air-defensive and other operations. Marine ground forces maintain defensive positions. DOO announces 37,000+ U.S. troops (18,000 Navy, 5,500 USMC) have redeployed. 503,000 + (67,000 + Navy, 88,500 + USMC) remain in theater. There are 64 Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Northern Arabian Sea, 9 Navy ships in the Red Sea, and 22 Navy ships in the Mediterranean. USS MOOSBRUGGER (DD-980) detaches from redeploying USS JOHN F. KENNEDY battle group to undergo required maintenance in the Mediterranean. To-date, 7,954 merchants have been intercepted, 1,003 boardings, and 51 diversions. The Navy has conducted 555 boardings. The Emir of Kuwait returns from exile.

15 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrol and minesweeping operations. 166 mines destroyed to-date. Marine forces redeploy and maintain defensive positions. DOD announces 51,000+ U.S. personnel (27,000 Navy, 6,500 USMC) have redeployed. 489,000+ (58,000+ Navy, 87,500+ USMC) remain in theater. Total coalition forces in theater total 694,000 +. Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 30 departs USS JOHN F. KENNEDY. DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 125 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds). 95 Non-combat fatalities. 357 WIA. 21 MIA (4 Navy. 0 USMC). 0 POW.

16 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols and minesweeping operations. Marine forces maintain defensive positions. 81 crewmembers of USS LEADER (MSO 490), whose minesweeping efforts enabled the battleships USS MISSOURI and USS WISCONSIN to safely transit mine-infested waters for close-in gunfire support, return from six-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf to NAVBASE Charleston SC. Ship remains overseas, manned by crew of USS EXULTANT, as part of crew rotation policy for minesweepers.

17 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols and minesweeping operations. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. U.S./coalition military officials meet with 10 Iraqi military officers at Safwan Airfield, rejects Iraqi request to move aircraft around the country. Iraq warned that any Iraqi warplanes that fly would be shot down.

Crew of USS TRIPOLI (LPH-10) awarded Combat Action Ribbon for being endangered by enemy mine attack on 18 February. USS TRIPOLI remains in Bahrain port undergoing repairs.

18 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols and minesweeping operations. USS NORMANDY (CG-60) diverts a freighter in the N. Red Sea, and assists USS WILLIAM V. PRATT (DDG-44) with diversion of a second freighter in the North Red Sea.

Marine ground forces hold defensive positions.

DOD reports over 468,000 U.S. personnel are in the theater (56,000+ Navy, 74,500 USMC). To-date, 71,500 + personnel have redeployed to the U.S. (29,000 Navy, 19,500 USMC).

USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2) arrives in Norfolk VA homeport, the first return of a ship supporting OPERATION DESERT STORM. During seven-month deployment, the combat stores ship delivered 19,000+ pallets of cargo (equaling 20,500 tons of supplies), answered 30,000+ requisitions, and delivered spare parts and food sustaining 35,000+ sailors aboard 150 ships. Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Six (HC 6) Det. Four, embarked on USS SYLVANIA, provided vertical replenishment service, logging 700 + accident-free hours, transferring 5,000 tons of supplies, 915 passengers, 31,000 pounds of mail, and 10 emergency medevacs.

19 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols and minesweeping operations.

Elements of 2d Marine Division hold defensive positions in Kuwait. DOD reports majority of 1st Marine Division is preparing to redeploy.

DOD reports over 461,500 U.S. personnel are in the theater (56,000+ Navy, 72,500+ USMC). To-date, 78,500+ personnel have rededployed to the U.S. (29,000 Navy, 21,500 USMC).

DOD announces remains of 4 U.S. personnel returned 13 March by Iraq have been identified. They include Navy LT W. Thompson Costen and LT Charles J. Turner.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 124 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds!. 97 Non-combat fatalities. 357 WIA. 21 MIA (4 Navy. 0 USMC). 0 POW.

A USMC AV-8B conducting night training operations from the USS NASSAU (LHA-4) crashed into the Red Sea. The uninjured pilot was rescued by a small boat from the USS MANITOWOC (LST-1180).

20 March
One of a flight of two Iraqi SU-22 Fitter jets was shot down, near Takrit, Iraq. The other aircraft landed on its own after the engagement. DOD states the Iraqi attempt to fly these two fighter aircraft is a violation of terms agreed upon with Iraqi military officials during the 3 March military-to-military talks at Safwan.

Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols and minesweeping operations.

Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. DOD reports over 454,500 U.S. personnel are in the theater (55,500+ Navy, 70,500+ USMC). To-date, 85,500+ personnel have redeployed to the U.S. (29,500 Navy, 23,500 USMC). Navy modifies "stop loss" policy allowing medical personnel and CTI Arabic linguists involuntarily retained to be separated or retired on 1 April 1991, but not later than 1 June 1991. U.S. Marine Corps demobilizes 1,424 Reservists.

21 March
At D + 63, Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping and maritime interception operations. 8,122 intercepts, 1,032 boardings and 52 ships diverted to-date. There are 51 Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Northern Arabian Sea, 22 Navy ships in the Red Sea, and 13 Navy ships in the Mediterranean.

USNS MERCY departs Arabian Gulf, enroute Oakland homeport.

Marine ground forces hold defensive positions.

DOD reports over 450,000 U.S. personnel are in the theater (55,500+ Navy, 70,000+ USMC). To-date, 90,000+ personnel have redeployed to the U.S. (29,500 Navy, 24,000 USMC). Approximately 200 Naval Reservists have been demobilized to-date.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 124 KIA. 2 (Died from combat wounds). 102 Non-combat fatalities: 357 WIA. 21 MIA (4 Navy. 0 USMC/. 0 POW. Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group and Naval Reserve Cargo Training Battalion arrives at Naval Supply Center, Williamsburg VA. During seven month deployment, the cargo handlers offloaded and backloaded over 75 Maritime Prepostioning Ships and breakbulk ships with supplies ranging from ammunition to heavy vehicles. The "combat stevedores" offloaded one ship every three days.

22 March
An Iraqi SU-22 Fitter, one of a flight of two aircraft, was shot down near Kirkuk. The second aircraft, a PC-7 propeller-driven, single engine trainer was not engaged, but the pilot ejected after the Fitter was shot down. This is the second breach of agreed terms. Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping and maritime interception operations. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions.

DOD reports over 445,000 U.S. personnel are in the theater (55,500 + Navy, 67,500+ USMC). To-date, 95,000+ personnel have redeployed to the U.S. (29,500 Navy, 26,500 USMC). Fast Sealift Ship USNS BELIATRIX departs Saudi Arabia enroute to Savannah GA with first cargo on-load of equipment returning to CONUS. Load consists primarily of equipment from U.S. Army's 24th (Mechanized) Infantry Division. Eight other MSC ships are loaded out, scheduled to depart. USS MACDONOUGH (DDG-39) and USS NICHOLS (FFG-47) arrives at NAVBASE Charleston SC homeport, the first Navy surface combatants to return to CONUS. During six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf, both ships enforced United Nations resolutions by challenging over 600 commercial ships and boarding many ships in search of contraband; escorted and protected numerous ships and planes returning from raids in Iraq and Kuwait; and conducted at- sea rescues of downed pilots. As the northern-most ship in the coalition task force, USS NICHOLAS and embarked helos conducted the first surface attack on Iraqi anti-aircraft sites and captured the first enemy prisoners of war. Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) 44, Detachment Eight, arrives at NAVSTA Mayport FL homeport. During six-month embark aboard USS NICHOLAS, squadron saw considerable action against Iraqi forces and executed the first helicopter missile attack, captured the first enemy prisoners of war, rescued a downed pilot in the Arabian Gulf, discovered/destroyed mines, and conducted hundreds of merchant vessel identifications and/or challenges enforcing United Nations trade sanctions.

23 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping and maritime interception operations. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions.

USS YELLOWSTONE (AD-41) arrives at NAVBASE Pearl Harbor homeport. During eight-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the destroyer tender provided repair, supply, logistics and personnel support including the completion of over 10,000 repair jobs on 30 U.S. and coalition ships, as well as the first time transportation of aircraft and transferring missiles.

24 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping and maritime interceptions operations. USS MISSOURI, USS SACRAMENTO, and USS FORD redeploy. Navy's Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Task Force -- USS NASSAU, USS IWO JIMA, USS GUAM, USS SHREVEPORT, USS TRENTON, USS RALEIGH, USS SAGINAW, USS LA MOURE COUNTY, USS MANITOWOC, USS SPARTANBURG, USS PORTLAND, USS PENSACOLA and USS GUNSTON HALL -- transits the Suez Canal enroute CONUS. USS COMFORT accompanies task force. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions.

LT Mark D. Jackson, NR MSCO Mideast 106 Norfolk, dies of injuries sustained in an autombile accident in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. First death of a Naval Resernst recalled to active duty in OPERATION DESERT STORM.

Elements of Reserve Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 23 return to CONUS. During a four-month deployment, battalion detachments were assigned to sites in Guam, Okinawa, Korea, Japan, Midway Island, and Adak, Alaska and continued and completed construction projects started by active duty Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 7 and 40, who had been redeployed to then OPERATION DESERT SHIELD. The remainder of the battalion remains deployed in Guam and outlying areas to continue work on critical projects.

25 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, maritime interception and minesweeping operations. While actively sweeping for mines in the Arabian Gulf, USS LEADER (MSO-490) deployed its magnetic acoustic influence combination sweep which detonated a suspected mine approximately 600 yards behind the ship. No injuries, crankshaft cracked in the #1 main propulsion unit. Ship continued mission, then proceeded to Bahrain shipyard under its own power for scheduled maintenance. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. USS WORDEN (CG-18) arrives at NAVBASE Pearl Harbor homeport. During a one-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf, the guided missile cruiser provided air defense coverage for three carrier battle groups and coalition ships, identifying over 15,000 aircraft returning from strike missions and challenging and identifying over 50 vessels transiting the Iranian coast.

26 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping, and maritime interceptions operations. To date, 8,379 merchants have been challenged, 1,055 boarded, and 53 diverted. The Navy has conducted 571 boardings. There are 48 Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and Northern Arabian Sea, 8 Navy ships in the Red Sea, and 28 Navy ships in the Mediterranean. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions.

DOD reports over 411,500 U.S. personnel are in the theater (43,000+ Navy, 60,500 + USMC). To-date, 128,500 personnel have redeployed to the U.S. (42,000 Navy, 33,500 USMC)

To-date, 393 Naval Reservists have been demobilized.

DOD revises U.S. casualty data: 124 KIA 2 (Died from combat wounds!. 107 Non-combat fatalities. 357 WIA. 21 MIA (4 Navy. 0 USMC!. 0 POW.

27 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, mine sweeping, and maritime interceptions operations. USS HALYBURTON (FFG-40) diverts a freighter in the N. Red Sea. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. Fast Sealift Ship USNS ALTAIR departs Saudi Arabia for CONUS with equipment. 23 other MSC ships are loaded out and underway. The first Navy air combatants to return to CONUS, Carrier Air W~'ng 3 and Carrier Air VV~'ng 17, embarked on USS KENNEDY and USS SARATOGA (respectively), arrive at homeports:

NAS, Oceana VA Attack Squadron 75 Fighter Squadron 14 Fighter Squadron 32 NAS, Norfolk VA Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 NAS, Cecil Field FL Attack Squadron 46 Attack Squadron 72

Carrier Air Wing 3 flew more than 11,000 sorties, totalling nearly 33,000 flight hours, during the seven and a half-month deployment. Squadrons flew nearly 3,000 combat missions totalling 11,000 + combat hours, and delivered 3.5 million pounds of ordnance on enemy targets in Ir-aq and Kuwait. The air wing had no aircraft or personnel losses during combat operations.

NAS, Oceana VA Attack Squadron 35 - Fighter Squadron 74

Fighter Squadron 103 NAS, Norfolk VA Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 NAS, Cecil Field FL Strike Fighter Squadron 81 Strike Fighter Squadron 83

Carrier Air Wing 17 flew 12,500 sorties and 33,500 flight hours during the nearly eight-month deployment. Squadrons flew 2,694 combat missions and delivered 4,047,000 pounds of ordnance on enemy targets. The air wing scored the Navy's only air-to-air enemy aircraft kills of the conflict, but had three of its aircraft shot down.

28 March
At D + 70, naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping, and maritime interception operations.

USS WILLIAM V. PRATT (DDG-44) diverts a freighter in the N. Red Sea. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. The first Navy carrier battle groups to return to CONUS, USS JOHN F. KENNEDY and USS SARATOGA, arrive at homeports:

Norfolk VA:

USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67), the 4th carrier deployed, departed with just five days notice, leading a seven-and-a-half month battle group deployment that maintained a close watch on shipping in the Red Sea and launched 11,000+ combat sorties against Iraq. Aircraft from USS JOHN F. KENNEDY conducted the first war-time use of the Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM), and battle group ship USS SAN JACINTO fired the first TOMAHAWK cruise missile against Iraq. During the 226 day deployment, USS JOHN F. KENNEDY was underway for 196 days, travelled 50,000 miles, and made the first-ever aircraft carrier Red Sea port visits to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Hurghada, Egypt.

USS MISSISSIPPI (CGN-40) conducted operations as part of the Maritime Intercept Force Red Sea escort unit. During a seven-and-a-half month deployment, the cruiser's crew boarded 73 merchant ships to enforce U.N. sanctions and fired TOMAHAWK cruise missiles on Iraqi targets.

USS SAN JACINTO (CG-56) conducted maritime intercept operations preventing cargo shipments to or from Iraq and served as the antiwarfare commander protecting the Red Sea battle force from preemptive Iraqi or terrorist attacks. On 16 January, USS SAN JACINTO made naval history by firing the first TOMAHAWK cruise missile in combat to support air strikes by USS JOHN F. KENNEDY and USS SARATOGA. The AEGIS cruiser completed its seven-and-a-half month deployment protecting the battle force from any Iraqi air strikes.

USS THOMAS S. GATES (CG-51) conducted operations in the Maritime Intercept Force, and under the command of Destroyer Squadron 36, the Red Sea escort cruiser played a decisive role in maritime interceptions during OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.

Newport RI:

USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG-58) conducted operations with the Red Sea Maritime Interception Force working cooperatively with an international force of ships to enforce U.N. sanctions against Iraq. The frigate alone conducted over 100 boardings of merchant ships to prevent cargo shipments to or from Iraq.

Colts Neck NJ:

USS SEATTLE (AOE-3), a fast combat support ship, provided the ships of the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY Battle Group with fuel, ammunition and stores during the seven-and-a-half month deployment.

Mayport FL:

USS SARATOGA (CV-60), the 3rd carrier deployed, led a high-speed transit of the Atlantic to the gulf region, making the normally ten-day voyage in seven days -- the fastest Atlantic crossing since World War II. On station, the battle group units were strategically positioned to guard the northern and southern Red Sea entrances, then conducted the most successful maritime interdiction operation ever undertaken by the U.S., challenging 1,500+ merchants ships, intercepting and boarding 242, and diverting 13 from delivering contraband cargo. Following the tragic drownings of 21 crewmembers during a holiday port visit to Haifa, Israel, the carrier launched around-the-clock strikes on targets in Iraq and occupied Kuwait, registering 12,664 sorties, 11,700 launchings, 217 days underway, and only 20 days in port.

USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CG-58) escorted the USS SARATOGA across the Atlantic and through the Suez Canal - eventually becoming the first Navy ship to ever transit the Suez Canal six times -- to join the Maritime Interception Force in the Gulf of Aqaba. On two occasions while enforcing U.N. sanctions, USS PHILLIPINE SEA fired warning shots from its five- inch batteries and .50 caliber machine guns to stop vessels seeking to elude the quarantine. With the onset of hostilities, the guided missile cruiser, fired its TOMAHAWK cruise missiles at targets in Iraq before assuming operational duties.

USS SPRUANCE (DD-963) conducted assignments ranging from good-will visits to submarine hunting to firing its TOMAHAWK cruise missiles against targets in northern Iraq to assisting in the evacuation of the American Embassy in Beirut. In addition the destroyer operated as a member of the Maritime Interception Force, boarding three merchants and diverting one before completing its nearly eight-month deployment.

USS SAMPSON (DDG-10) performed the final Adams class guided missile destroyer deployment as a unit of the Maritime Interception Force, conducting the first boarding and search of a merchant during OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and the first diversion of a ship with prohibited cargo. After conducting the first-ever exercise ASROC shot in the Red Sea, USS SAMPSON operated with ships of various NATO navies conducting surveillance and protection of shipping in the approaches to the Suez Canal.

USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF-1082) fired the first warning shots by U.S. forces during an interception and was the first ship in theater to conduct 100 boardings. The fast frigate also diverted 6 merchants with prohibited cargo, supported by embarked Helicopter Squadron (Light) 36, Detachment 9, before assuming anti-air warfare defense of the Suez Canal and Mediterranean. Norfolk VA:

USS BIDDLE (CG-34) conducted 36 boardings and diverted 8 merchant ships--the highest percentage of the Navy's maritime interceptions force--assisted by embarked Helicopter Detachment One's 375 antisub and anti-surface warfare sorties. The guided missile cruiser then assumed anti-aircraft defenses for the combined battle force in the Red Sea, coordinating 850 + aircraft interceptions with carrier-based combat air patrols.

USS THOMAS C. HART (FF-1092) conducted 43 boardings and over 300 interrogations of merchant vessels near the Gulf of Aqaba, in the Northern Red Sea. Her 131 days in the Red Sea made the ground offensive easier by choking off supplies to Saddam Hussein's war machine.

USS SOUTH CAROLINA (CON-37) spearheaded maritime interceptions in the Red Sea, boarding 26 merchant vessels before shifting to anti-air warfare commander for the Mediterranean Sea, protecting and identifying hundreds of coalition aircraft transiting to and from air strikes.

Colts Neck NJ:

USS DETROIT (AOE-4), a fast combat support ship, replenished 250+ ships, including USS JOHN F. KENNEDY, USS SARATOGA and USS AMERICA battle groups and 52 coalition ships, with 70 million gallons of diesel and jet fuel, and thousands of tons of ammunition and general stores by the end of deployment.

USS WISCONSIN (BB-64), the first battleship to return to CONUS, arrived at Norfolk VA homeport. Braving mine fields and enemy fire in the Arabian Gulf, USS WISCONSIN fired her 16-inch guns 324 times during 34 naval gunfire support missions, accounting for some 874,800 pounds of high explosives on enemy targets including command posts, infantry bunkers, missile and artillery sites and communication bunkers in occupied Kuwait. The battleship's barrages were so deadly, hundreds of Iraqis surrendered to the Remotely Piloted Vehicle -- the unmanned drone aircraft -- that was the spotter for the guns, a first in history.

Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 130 of Carrier Air Wing 3 (embarked on USS JOHN F. KENNEDY) arrives at Whidbey Island WA homeport.

Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 132 of Carrier Air Wing 17 (embarked on USS SARATOGA) arrives at Whidbey Island WA homeport.

29 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping and maritime interception operations. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. USS FRANCIS HAMMOND (FF-1867), USS SHASTA (AE-33), USS NIAGRA FALLS (AFS-3) and coalition ships, assists burning Sri Lankan merchant vessel MERCS-HORANA in Arabian Gulf. Status of LT Charles J. Turner, missing since 18 January downing of his A6, was changed to Killed in Action.

30 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, minesweeping and maritime interception operations. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. USS PRINCETON (CG-59) and crew awarded Combat Action Ribbon in recognition of the superior and arduous work the crew put in to keep the ship in war-fighting status following the 18 February mining of the ship. USS PRINCETON continues to undergo repairs.

31 March
Naval forces continue counter air-defensive, combat air patrols, rninesweeping and maritime interception operations. Marine ground forces hold defensive positions. USS KALAMAZOO (AOR-6) transits Suez Canal enroute CONUS.




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