From the Foreword
Desert Storm was much like a television mini-series in the eyes of many onlookers. It attracted the World’s attention, drew a large viewing audience, and was over quickly after which people got on with their normal lives. The reality is that after Desert Storm, there was no return to normalcy. As Yogi Berra said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
The 100-hour battle was a classic that could have annihilated the entire Iraqi Army if constraint was not used by United States and allied forces in the final hours. To those viewers, it was a “piece of cake” or “no contest.” However, to the soldiers who participated in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, it was a challenging and often traumatic experience that rippled throughout the entire United States Army, affecting soldiers and families alike. While Desert Storm was short-lived, Desert Shield lasted a prolonged period of time. It was obvious that Saddam Hussein was not going to withdraw from Kuwait. Early on, there was the anticipation that his Army might invade Saudi Arabia. This anticipation took its toll on the families of the deployed soldiers. The delay in the start of Desert Storm was necessary to build up combat power in the area and worked to our advantage.
Desert Storm was not just about Kuwait and Iraq, it was about the challenges of the Total Army which included the United States Army Reserve and the National Guard. Certainly all services and some allies played a key role in the fight; however, this book is about the Army’s role in that war. The entire Seventh Corps deployed into the battle area from Europe leaving behind family members who were targets of terrorist threats and who heard estimates of thousands of U. S. casualties caused by Iraqi chemical weapons.
Desert Shield/Desert Storm was instrumental in changing the way we fight wars. It changed the threat. Embedded reporters, cell phones, contractors all over the battlefield, and the anticipation of the first chemical strike set the tone. As Yogi Berra said, the future changed. It was not like it used to be in warfare. The focus was no longer on stopping the communist hordes as they attempted to pour through the Fulda Gap or standing guard along the Demilitarized Zone in Korea ready to defeat an attacking North Korean Army. It was the beginning of a War on Terrorism although few people realized it at that time, a war that our Army was not prepared to fight. Desert Storm demonstrated that our military could mass great combat power and win decisively. However, it also showed that securing the peace was an even greater challenge.
This book is also about the experience of one soldier, Bill Cain, his family, and the 42nd Field Artillery Brigade. Bill and his wife, Renée, were among those affected greatly by this historic event. His book, Crossing the Line, is based on their experiences, fears, and concerns during that time. Renée was eight months pregnant when Bill deployed to Saudi Arabia as the Brigade Intelligence Officer for the 42nd Field Artillery Brigade (attached to Seventh Corps). Soldiers of the 42nd played a key role in winning the fight in Kuwait, giving the Corps Commander the flexibility to mass fires all across the fight.
With the subsequent events of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Desert Storm has dropped from view. In this book, Bill Cain resurrects the story of Desert Shield/Desert Storm and demonstrates the significance that it played in the changing and dangerous World in which we live and how it helped create the conditions that exist in the world today. This book will bring back memories, arouse emotions, and reinforce the patriotism and valor of our soldiers and their families.
Lieutenant General Carmen Cavezza
United States Army (Retired)