Desert Shield and Desert Storm

The UN Security Council passed 12 resolutions in 1990 condemning the aggression of Iraq against Kuwait. These were the basis for the formation of a US-led 28-country military coalition that sent units to the region of the Persian Gulf.

Liberation Operation of Kuwait in 1990 and 1991

200 service members of the Czechoslovak Army participated

The former Federal Assembly of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic passed a resolution on September 23, 1990, allowing the Czechoslovak Chemical Unit to join the multinational anti-Iraqi coalition in Operation Desert Shield.

Under the command of Colonel Ján Való the unit, during December 11 – 14, 1990, was transported by 13 flights of US Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On Christmas Eve (December 24) 1990, the unit was deployed in the northern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia close to the City of Hafr El Batin.

The Czechoslovak Chemical Unit was divided into four parts:

  • Part 1 - base camp including medical facility;
  • Part 2 - 1st Chemical Detachment – assigned to protect 4th Brigade of Saudi Arabia;
  • Part 3 - 2nd Chemical Detachment – assigned to protect 20th Brigade of Saudi Arabia;
  • Part 4 - 3rd Chemical Detachment – assigned to protect King Khalid Military City.

As Iraq did not meet the requirements set by UN Security Council Resolution No. 673 to leave Kuwait by January 15, 1991, Coalition Operation Desert Storm was launched two days later, shortly after midnight on January 17, 1991.

The Czechoslovak Chemical Unit was among the first units to enter the territory of the State of Kuwait together with Saudi Arabian units, for which Czech soldiers provided chemical protection and special medical care.

During first days of the Operation, Chemical Detachments gauged low concentrations of chemical poisonous agents several times during their advance together with Saudi troops.

During its engagement, the Chemical Unit lost one man – sergeant Petr Šimonka – who was promoted in memoriam to the rank of Second Lieutenant. Moreover, four soldiers were wounded in action.

The Czechoslovak Chemical Unit accomplished with honour all its tasks in both operations and their members were awarded a number of medals and decorations marking their contribution to liberation of Kuwait. Colonel Ján Való received the Royal Saudi Arabia Award of ”King Abdul Aziz, Grade III”, as a tribute to the whole unit.

    Posted: April 13, 2005