Lt. Col. Fred L.
Advisor to the Kuwaiti Land Forces
The Iraqi Invasion
of Kuwait: An Eyewitness Account
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
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.