The numbers are staggering.

More than 500,000 U.S. troops participated in Desert Storm 25 years ago.

An estimated 2,000 American Abrams battle tanks, and thousands of Bradley Fighting Vehicles, trucks and other equipment rolled across the desert from Saudi Arabia into Iraq and Kuwait.

The ground attack began on Feb. 24, 1991, and lasted about 100 hours, far quicker than many thought it would.

The estimated Iraqi losses reported by U.S. Central Command after the battle:

3,700 of 4,280 battle tanks

2,400 of 2,870 assorted other armored vehicles

2,600 of 3,110 assorted artillery pieces

19 naval ships sunk, 6 damaged

42 divisions made combat-ineffective

36 fixed-wing aircraft in air-to-air engagements

6 helicopters in air-to-air engagements

68 fixed- and 13 rotary-wing aircraft destroyed on the ground

137 Iraqi aircraft flown to Iran

Casualties for the Iraqis are estimated to be more than 20,000 killed, 75,000 wounded and more than 300,000 who were captured or deserted.

On the American side, there were 148 battlefield deaths, 98 of them from the Army and 15 of them women. There were about 470 U.S. troops wounded in action.

By all accounts, it was an overwhelming victory for the American side, which was aided by allied divisions from England, France, Saudi Arabia, Syria and others.

The Iraqi army, what was left of it, was forced to withdraw out of Kuwait. Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, had invaded the smaller country months earlier, igniting the conflict.

I was in high school during Desert Storm, but I still remember watching it vividly on CNN.

The conflict had been building for months, and its relatively short ground war demonstrated how a ready force with overpowering technology can win a war in a short time.

I deployed to Kuwait about four years later with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade. While much of the carnage had been cleaned up by that time, there were still knocked-out Iraqi tanks scattered around the desert that we used for target practice.

Twenty-five years later, Desert Storm remains a solid example of how to win a war with maximum effectiveness and few casualties.

Contact Jacob Brooks jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468

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