Iraq's Scud Ballistic Missiles, an information paper, was released today by the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses. The new Department of Defense report examines Iraq's Scud ballistic missile program and the use of the Scuds against coalition forces in the Kuwait theater of operations and Israel.
"The report contains background data on the Scud, how it was used during the war and how coalition forces responded," said Bernard Rostker, the special assistant. "It's an aid to understanding incidents involving Iraq's Scuds and dispels some of the misconceptions that arose during and after the war."
During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq launched more than 90 of the short-range ballistic missiles. A Scud missile struck a warehouse used as a temporary barracks for U.S. soldiers and was responsible for the largest single American casualty event of the war: 28 people died and more than 100 were injured.
Although Iraq had produced both chemical and biological warheads for their Scuds, they did not employ them during the war. According to the information paper, the threat of massive U.S. retaliation and technical difficulties encountered in testing chemical/biological warheads deterred Saddam Hussein from taking this course. No chemical or biological agent warheads were found in the debris of Scud missiles.
Some veterans thought that Iraq launched more Scuds at coalition forces than actually occurred. Scuds broke up on re-entry or after Patriot missile intercepts and debris hit the ground in separate areas. This, together with numerous false alarms, and Patriot missile fire on false targets, contributed to this impression.
Information papers are reports of what DoD knows today about military equipment and/or procedures used in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. They are part of the Defense Department's effort to inform the public of its investigations into the nature and possible causes for the illnesses experienced by some Gulf War veterans.
This paper and all other reports published by the special assistant's office are posted on the GulfLINK website at http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/scud_info/ .