On 28 February 1991, the US declared a ceasefire and victory to end the First Iraq/Gulf War after most Iraqi forces had either fled Kuwait or surrendered to the International Coalition, of which Australian forces played an important part throughout.
After 43 days, the multinational force of 40,000 troops from more than 30 countries, led by the US, had defeated Saddam Hussein’s forces and liberated Kuwait – which Saddam invaded and annexed on 2 August 1990.
From August 1990 to September 1991, over 1,800 Australian Defence personnel were deployed in the war. Whilst centred on key naval duties in the Persian Gulf, our force also comprised Army and RAAF units (in operations named Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Farewell).
Thankfully, none of our personnel were killed or injured although many did (and still) suffer from Gulf War illness. (Although estimates vary, around 300 International Coalition troops were killed in the conflict compared with over 20,000 Iraqi troops.)
A welcome home march in Sydney for Gulf War veterans was held in August 1991.
Commemorate the end of the First Iraq/Gulf War by:
- if you’re in the Canberra area, visiting the Australian War Memorial and its display on the Gulf War conflict(s)
- watching these documentaries on the First Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm
- reading further about the conflict and its context
- having a meal and/or a drink down at your local Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL Club) and paying respects to our men and women who have served our country and are doing so now
- following the Royal Australian Army, Air Force and/or Navy on Facebook to show your support for our own land, air and sea defences, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, veterans and fellow patriotic Aussies.
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