J. David Rogers'
Military Service
Operation Desert Storm

Our P-3s played a lead role in monitoring seaborne commerce entering the Middle East during Operation Desert Shield.  This is one of the more colorful jacket patches that was typical of those produced by various units.

Stern view of the Missouri firing at Iraqi targets in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm

By mid-February 1991 we had four carriers serving together in the Persian Gulf, with two more operating from the Red Sea.  This shows the Midway, Ranger, America and Roosevelt steaming in a “photo formation” for sake of this picture.  In actual operations the carriers would be many miles apart.

Navy EA-6B electronics countermeasures aircraft refueling from an Air Force KC-135 tanker overt Saudi Arabia. Another EA-6B is taking on fuel from a Navy KA-6 tanker in the background.

Navy A-7E Corsair II passing an old Ottoman castle built by the Turks in the mid-Eighteenth Century, when they sought to maintain control over the Wahhabi Islamic sect.

Texas Instruments’ APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) antenna replaced APS-115 surface search on selected Update III aircraft beginning in 1989.  It is a Doppler radar system that focuses on detecting anything on the ocean that is in motion, such as a swaying vessel.

During Desert Storm the P-3C Update IIIs with AN/APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) were dispatched as over-the-horizon (OTHT) patrol and targeting platforms with the code name Outlaw Hunter. On one occasion they detected a gaggle of Iraqi patrol boats dashing between Umm Qsar and Basra. They directed A-6 and F/A-18 strike aircraft to interdict the craft near Bubiyan Island. Of the 108 Iraqi vessels destroyed during Desert Storm, 55 were attributed to Outlaw Hunter targeting.

Kill markings on a P-3C Outlaw Hunter aircraft, which directed strike aircraft for maritime targets.  Outlaw Hunter proved itself as a valuable OTHT platform, capable of staying aloft longer than anything other aircraft in the conflict. Our only limitations were allowable crew flight hours per month. Aircrews from VP-MAU and VP-91 helped shoulder the load, the only Naval Reserve aviators to fly combat missions in the Gulf War. I was responsible for briefing these crews.

The helicopter carrier USS Tripoli (LPH-10) was operating in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where she served as flagship of the minesweeping activities in the northern Gulf.

On February 18, 1991 the Tripoli struck a mine near her starboard bow, injuring several sailors.  The ship’s company undertook damage control and within 20 hours, the Tripoli resumed normal operations and remained on station another four days before suitable relief could be engaged.  We were all impressed!

The Tripoli was taken into dry dock at the Arabian Ship Repair Yard in Bahrain.  After draining, a 20 x 30 feet hole was revealed!

A month and $5 million later, the Triploi was repaired and able to return to her assigned tasks.  It was the first time since the Civil War that a warship remained on station and actively functioning after a mine detonation.  She was subsequently decommissioned in Sept. 1995.

Questions or comments on this page?
E-mail Dr. J David Rogers at rogersda@mst.edu.