70th Armor Regiment (United States) - Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm

After Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqi forces into Kuwait in August 1990, the 1st Armored Division was alerted for deployment from Germany to Saudi Arabia to participate in Operation Desert Shield. Assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, both 2-70 Armor and 4-70 Armor shipped their equipment by sea from Bremerhaven, with most personnel deployed in late December 1990. Collecting their equipment at the port of Dammam, the battalions deployed along the Saudi-Iraq border near Hafar Al-Batin by mid-February 1991.

Both battalions crossed the border into Iraq when the ground campaign of Operation Desert Storm began on 24 February 1991 and participated in several sharp engagements. As part of the heaviest brigade in the war, consisting of three armor battalions and a mechanized infantry battalion, the two battalions were in the leading force of the 1st Armored Division. The brigade overran the major logistics center at Al Bussayah, then destroyed a brigade of the Adnan Republican Guards Division near the Ar Rumaylah airport. Finally, in what has been described as the largest tank battle of the war, the brigade led the division in attacking the Republican Guards Forces Command.

After Desert Storm, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division remained in southern Iraq to guard the Kuwaiti border through March 1991. Its battalions redeployed to Erlangen in April and May, with their equipment arriving over the summer.

On 16 August 1991, 2-70 Armor was reassigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, although it remained in Erlangen. As part of the "peace dividend" after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the battalion was inactivated on 15 December 1993 as U.S. forces in Germany were substantially reduced and the 3rd Infantry Division brought back from Germany. 2-70 Armor was later reactivated on 15 February 1996 at Ft. Riley, Kansas and assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.

The 5th Infantry Division did not deploy to Southwest Asia for Desert Storm, nor did either of the 70th Armor battalions assigned to it. In the event the division was inactivated in November 1992. 3-70 Armor was inactivated with the rest of the division, while 1-70 Armor’s colors were briefly transferred to Fort Knox, Kentucky as an element of the 194th Armored Brigade. While there, the battalion served as the vehicle for an Advanced Warfighter Exercise to test new digitized command and control equipment in a realistic operational environment. The battalion deployed to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California with the 24th Infantry Division in April 1994 to conduct the exercise, but 1-70 Armor was inactivated within the year when the 194th Armored Brigade was inactivated in 1995.

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