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Vilseck, Germany. (November 15, 2022): In this photo by Sergeant William A. Tanner, Troopers assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, talk with each other before the start of the squadron's Battle of 73 Easting commemoration ceremony held at Rose Barracks, Germany. The event celebrates the unit's historic Operation Desert Storm victory over the elite Iraqi Republican Guard in the Battle of 73 Easting in the Gulf War.

Vilseck, Germany. (November 15, 2022): Operation Desert Storm, the war ordered by President H.W. Bush to oust invading Iraqi forces from Kuwait, had begun in earnest.

On the night of February 23, 1991, American General Norman Schwarzkopf executed his  ground assault against entrenched Iraqi Divisions by sending the U.S. VII Corps sweeping into Iraq in a wide hooking maneuver. Later described by Schwarzkopf as a "Hail Mary”, the lead U.S. unit in the battle would be the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, a 4,500 soldier armor and reconnaissance team whose mission was to locate and fix enemy positions ahead of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division.

American forces were equipped with the world’s most advanced tank, the M1A1 Abrams, backed up by the powerful Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Despite being equipped with a much smaller 25mm “Bushmaster” cannon, the Bradley was outfitted with tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missiles capable of destroying armor.

The Iraqi Republican Guard and its Tawakalna Division were dug in, taking defensive positions near grid coordinate  “73 easting ”, a  GPS line used as a location as there are no geographic landmarks in the desert.  These were Saddam Hussein’s crack troops equipped with aging Soviet T-72s and T-62s and they were ready for a fight.

Although greatly outnumbered, the American units had major technological advantages over the older, less advanced  Iraqis tanks.

First, the A1 Abrams has such greater range that it could kill enemy tanks 3,500 meters before the T-72 even knew they were there. Using sophisticated night vision, the Abrams could kill at 2500 meters, even in pitch darkness. Even worse for the Iraqis, the Abrams sports a 120 mm smooth bore cannon that fires a variety of devastating rounds, from armor piercing (HEAT) shells to depleted uranium high explosives. Not only that, its sloped design caused enemy rounds to be deflected harmlessly as they maneuvered in the desert sand as nimble as a cat.

The Iraqi forces were no match for these highly trained American Tankers who, according to Army estimates, destroyed 160 tanks, 180 personnel carriers, and twelve artillery pieces. Although no exact number will ever be known, it is estimated over 1,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed or wounded in the battle and the Americans took over 1000 prisoner.

The Americans, in short order, had defeated the finest troops the Iraqi’s had which must have been a demoralizing defeat for Saddam Hussein.

There is a sense of pride in reading about these brave servicemembers fighting it out in the desert so we may live in peace. At Support Our Troops, our mission is to sustain these heroes, particularly servicemembers who are deployed overseas. We are issuing a national call to all good Americans to show their love and support for our deployed troops this holiday season by joining Support Our Troops' efforts to ship Yellow Ribbon Thanksgiving and Christmas Care Packages to our troops overseas.