Jan. 16, 1991: Operation Desert Storm begins

On Jan. 16, 1991, former President George H. W. Bush announced the beginning of Operation Desert Storm.

His address to the nation:

“Just two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in Iraq and Kuwait. These attacks continue as I speak…

The dictator of Iraq invaded a small and helpless neighbor. Kuwait … was crushed; its people, brutalized. Five months ago, Saddam Hussein started this cruel war against Kuwait. Tonight, the battle has been joined…

We will not fail.”

An article in the next day’s issue of The Herald detailed the struggle for families of five young Snohomish County soldiers:

“Rebecca Thielen, Greg W. Chiaravalle, Tyrell Goodrich, Monte J. Schleiff, Jay Enders.

While those young soldiers spent the first day of Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf, their families and friends back home in Snohomish County watched nervously as the war began to unfold here in plenty of time for the 5 o’clock news.

By early evening Wednesday, many were still trying to understand the sudden shock of war and what it could mean for their families.

‘My heart is sinking wondering what’s going to happen,’ said Mary Jo Randall of Bothell. Her niece, Sgt. Rebecca Thielen, a 1985 graduate of Snohomish High School, is in an Army reserve unit trained to unload cargo planes in the Saudi Arabian desert.

Randall was stationed in front of her television Tuesday evening and not likely to move.”

Read more from the Jan. 17, 1991, copy of The Herald and others and our collection of historic front pages.

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