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Battle of Kuwait International Airport
Part of the Persian Gulf War
DateFebruary 27, 1991
LocationKuwait City Airport
29°14'15"N 47°58'26"E
Result Decisive American victory
 United States Iraq Ba'athist Iraq
Commanders and leaders
Maj. Gen. J.M. Myatt[1]
Colonel Carlton W. Fulford Jr[2]
Units involved
1st Marine Division
2nd Marine Division
2nd Armored Division
U.S. Army Special Forces[3]
3rd Armored Division[4]
Casualties and losses
5 killed
48 wounded[5]
Heavy casualties
Thousands captured
100 Iraqi tanks and armored personnel carriers destroyed[6]

The Battle of Kuwait International Airport occurred on 27 February 1991. Task Force Ripper under Colonel Carlton W. Fulford Jr led the 1st Marine Division straight into Kuwait City. Smashing through enemy armor and enemy delaying actions.[7] As the Marine 1st Division edged nearer the city, commanders heard reports of two developing counterattacks by Iraqi forces. "We fired on the two gathering points and it wasn't 30 minutes before we scattered them like rabbits out of the bush," said Myatt, the division commander. "The Cobras {helicopter gunships} and the LAVs {light armored vehicles} had a field day" as a "hunter-killer package" to search out and destroy Iraqi equipment.[8] On the way to their objective, the Kuwait International Airport, Task Force Ripper M-60A1 Patton tanks destroyed about 100 Iraqi tanks and armored personnel carriers, including about 50 top-of-the-line Soviet T-72 tanks, 1st Marine division commander Maj. Gen. J.M. Myatt said.[9]

The 2nd Marine Division entered from the other side of the city. Marine Reserve unit Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 4th Marine division Marine was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division. They were the only Marine unit equipped with M1A1 Abrams tanks. Bravo company went on to destroy 59 tanks, 32 APCs, 26 non armored vehicles, and a artillery gun.[10] Marine and Navy air power then inflicted heavy casualties on retreating Iraqi forces leading north out of Kuwait City.[11] Later that night, some of the battles intensified as Marine forces surrounded the heavily defended Kuwait International Airport. U.S. Navy battleships offshore in the Persian Gulf pounded the airport hangars, terminals and other buildings, leaving them a shambles of twisted metal and blackened concrete in an effort to rout Iraqi forces from the field. Marine commanders said that cameras in remotely piloted aircraft that monitored the bombings showed Iraqis "literally jumping out of the tanks." After the Marines commandeered the critical airfield, Special Forces teams arrived to counter snipers and other pockets of resistance that remained entrenched around the large airport complex.[12] Five Marines were killed and forty eight wounded in the three days of fighting, Marine officials said.[13]

Marines from Company D, 2nd Tank Battalion, drive their M60A1 main battle tank during a breach exercise in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The tank is fitted with reactive armor and an M-9 bulldozer kit.

Iraqi T-72 main battle tank destroyed in a Coalition attack during Operation Desert Storm. The 1st Marine Division destroyed approximately 50 T-72 tanks on its way to the Kuwait International Airport.


  1. Moore p.A01
  2. Moore p.A01
  3. Moore p.A01
  4. philly article
  5. Moore p.A01
  6. Moorep.A01
  7. Chenoweth pp.407-408
  8. Moore p.A01
  9. Moore p.A01
  10. Chenoweth p.408
  11. Chenoweth p.408
  12. Moore p.A01
  13. Moore p.A01

Works Consulted

  • Col H. Avery Chenoweth (2005) Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines

External links

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