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DoD Releases Final Reports on Two Gulf War Incidents

By Staff Sgt. Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 18, 2000 – DoD released two "final reports" Jan. 13 on investigations into the possible detection of chemical or biological warfare agents during the Gulf War.

The reports deal with the reported detection of chemical warfare agents at Camp Monterey, Kuwait, and at An Nasiriyah Southwest Ammunition Storage Point in Iraq.

The Camp Monterey report states unequivocally that no chemical agent was present at the site while U.S. troops were present in 1991. The investigation stemmed from an incident Sept. 14, 1991, in which several soldiers reportedly became ill after spilling the contents of a metal can at the bivouac site, roughly 15 miles north of Kuwait City. The original report released in May 1997 said the effects quickly subsided and the soldiers returned to duty.

The contents of the can had been assessed two days earlier as chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, commonly called CS gas and often used as a riot control agent. However, samples of the substance were taken to a Fox chemical reconnaissance vehicle as a precaution, said Bernard Rostker, special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense for Gulf War illnesses.

"The detection equipment in the Fox vehicle sounded alarms for the possible presence of cyclosarin, a nerve agent," Rostker said in a DoD news release. "Further testing done by spectrum analysis, however, confirmed that the substance was, in fact, CS." Three independent laboratories also confirmed that finding, he added.

This report includes new information from veterans that validates the original case narrative and further states that M-256 detection kits found no evidence of chemical agents at the site.

The second "final report" states it's "unlikely" U.S. troops were exposed to chemical warfare agents at the Iraqis' An Nasiriyah munitions depot.

DoD officials said mustard-filled artillery rounds likely were present at the site during the Allied air campaign, but not in any bunkers struck by U.S.-delivered ordnance in early 1991. The report states the chemical agents were likely moved before U.S. forces occupied the site in March and April 1991. Chemical and munitions experts at the site found no sign of contamination.

The full reports are available to the public at www.gulflink.osd.mil.

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