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Fred L. Hart, Jr.

Lt. Col. Fred L. Hart, Jr.
Advisor to the Kuwaiti Land Forces

The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait: An Eyewitness Account

President Bush meets with National Security Advisors regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in Aspen Lodge at Camp David. National Archives.

On 1 August 1989, my family and I arrived in Kuwait City. It was over 104 degrees outside at 2100hrs. Leaving the modern air-conditioned international terminal and walking outside was literally like walking into a blast furnace. I had arrived to begin serving a two year accompanied tour. My job was to be an advisor (logistics, maintenance, and training) to the Kuwait Land Forces and manage foreign military sales (FMS) cases.

I was assigned to a joint organization called United States Liaison Office Kuwait (USLOK) which was based out of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City. I worked Sunday through Thursday from an office at the Kuwait Land Forces, Director of Technical Affairs. Technical Affairs was essentially the Supply and Maintenance Directorate for the Kuwait Army. Our joint office at the embassy provided central management for all FMS cases, and International Military Education and Training (IMET). The total organization consisted of approximately 22 personnel, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and a few DoD civilians. The Army members made up a technical assistance field team (TAFT), and our Chief of USLOK was an Army O-6.

The entire organization worked for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) based at MacDill AFB, FL. The Chief was part of the embassy Country Team and worked for both CENTCOM and Ambassador Nathaniel Howell. The USLOK office interfaced almost daily with the CENTCOM J4/7 on matters concerning our mission of providing security assistance and FMS management to the Government of Kuwait.

The U.S. Army's security assistance program was focused on logistical support to the Kuwaiti Land Forces through several FMS cases, mainly for support of U.S. purchased equipment. We also worked several active International Military Education Training (IMET) cases. These programs were small in comparison to Saudi Arabia, primarily because Kuwait maintained only three active brigades, a small Air Force, and Navy. The Kuwaiti's were comfortable with this small force and felt they had no real cause to have a large or modernized Armed Forces. Many of us had often heard from Kuwaiti Army officers that the ruling family (Sabahs) realized that a small poorly trained and equipped force was less of a threat. Land Force officers also felt that the Air Force got more defense dollars because you can't occupy a palace with a fighter jet. I speculate that there might have been some truth in all this. The Kuwait Army also had a manpower problem and no true Kuwaiti would ever be a NCO or worst yet an enlisted man. Without exception all officers were genuine Kuwaiti's and almost all Colonels and above had ties to the royal family or members of prominent families. The Warrant officer and Non Commissioned Officer corps was non-full citizen Kuwaiti's or Bedouins.

Enlisted personnel were a mixed bag of Bedouins, and third world nationals. Interesting to note that many in the NCOs and enlisted ranks were also of Iraqi origin and assisted the Iraqi Army as it invaded Kuwait.

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