The Desert Storm Historical Group

Schedule of events

Right now, we're working on the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm. All events will be added as soon as we commit to them.

 

November 5, 2016: Veteran's Day Parade, Auburn, WA (tentative)

 

 

What is our purpose?

 

At the Veteran's Day Parade in Auburn, WA

This site is a work in progress that was originally created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the victory in the gulf in 1991. We intend to maintain doing events for appropriate anniversaries or commemorations of the Gulf War (as interest in a conflict like this is generally limited to specific anniversaries).

We're an informal group of living historians and veterans, dedicated to the memory of all American war veterans. Some of us have served in the military and we all have substantial experience with public living history events. Few people portray soldiers from the Desert Shield/Storm era, and that is something we intend to change. We will be doing a few events in Washington state throughout the year. We're also available singly or collectively for events with prior notice, subject to approval. Please contact us if you would like a Desert Shield/Storm display with people outfitted for your historical or military event.

 We have the standard weapons, some vehicles and much of the equipment the ground forces had when crossing into Kuwait in February of 1991. Our mission is not for re-enacting or spectator "battles" (who'd want to be the Iraqis anyway?). Our goal is to display some of the equipment, uniforms, weapons and vehicles used in the campaign of 1991 at public events, and to show appreciation for the veterans of a seriously misunderstood campaign, showing it wasn't easy, fun or safe.

More info soon! 

"Are we shooting people or what?"  - Films on Desert Storm

There have been a few movies about the Desert Storm timeframe. Some were downright awful. For example, "The Heroes of Desert Storm," had some the worst hack writing of any war movie ever.

But, a few stand out in the public eye. I thought I'd devote some bandwidth to the most commonly known:

Courage Under Fire (1996): Director Ed Zwick did a phenomenal job with "Glory," but fell somewhat flat on this movie which could almost be called a murder-mystery. Chopper Jock Meg Ryan is killed after getting shot down and each survivor from her crew tells a different story to Denzel Washington, who is investigating her actions for a possible Medal of Honor. He too is fighting his own demons from the war, having been involved in a "blue on blue" friendly-fire incident where he destroyed his best friend's M-1 tank, killing him in the process. Having served in a Army Mechanized unit after this time period and having worked with M-1 tanks, I won't go into all the technical errors they made (there's not enough room here, but you can find it listed at length online), but they made a genuine effort to try to get things to look correct. The biggest problems I had were the way people talked with their superior officers. No Company Commander talks to their Battalion CO that informally, even in wartime. Almost all the radio traffic was an utter joke. Oh, and how come I was never issued an M-16A2 that fires full-auto like in the movie? Still, it’s a deep movie and you can get a good message out of it. Just don’t think DS or the Army in any timeframe was really like this.

Three Kings (1999): If you’re a fan of the classic WW2 dark comedy, “Kelly’s Heroes,” you get the idea early on as to what this movie could have been. Many expected this to be the same film taking place in Desert Storm. If director David Russell had gone down that path, this film might be a similar classic today. Instead what starts off as a dark comedy turns into a preachy condemnation of the allied effort (or lack thereof) near the end of the war, leaving Iraqis doomed to death in the hands of Saddam Hussein. Much like, “Full Metal jacket,” this film is best enjoyed by stopping the film once weapons are drawn and people start heading off for combat. This film has one of the best opening lines for a war movie ever: "Are we shooting people, or what?"

Bravo Two Zero (1999): Sean Bean plays an SAS trooper in this BBC production. The 8-man patrol goes out into the wilds of Iraq looking for SCUD missiles, with everything they’ll ever need on their 200-pound+ Bergen rucksacks (no, I can’t imagine carrying that much that far, either). Murphy’s Law comes into effect and they get cut off and it’s every man for himself. Sergeant Andy McNab (Bean’s character) is captured and you can imagine what happens next. This film is a frightening true story. The movie has the normal British cinematic pacing (somewhat slow for some US audiences) but the reality of the story makes it compelling anyway. If for no reason, watch what happens when a SAS unit in the open gets jumped by a squad with a BMP tracked vehicle. Turn and run? No way. Airstrike? No air cover. Turn and run at them guns blazing? Roger that, move out! Yes, they really did this. That’s why the SAS have the reputation they have today. Rent this movie if you can find it, it’s worth seeing at least once.

Jarhead (2005): How much you appreciate this movie will be directly proportionate to if you were in Desert Storm or were in the Marines. If you were a Marine, you’ll probably hate it as it paints a very unflattering picture of the Marines in general. If you were in DS, you might find it an honest portrayal at least of life during the buildup before the ground war started. It gets dark, moody, and some will say whiny. Still, it visually is by far the most authentic re-creation of the time period on film. At the least, it shows how men can be when alone in the field, and that transcends branch and timeframe. I served with people exactly like this. By the end, the viewer gets a feel for what it must have been like to get ready for a war that went by too fast to take part.

"I swear, Swoff, I won't try to steal any more of your scenes, man!"

-Reviews By Lee Bishop (former Captain, US Army)