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NEWS | Jan. 17, 2024

U.S. Army Reserve officer served alongside Lighting Soldiers in Desert Storm

By 1st Lt. Katherine Sibilla 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater)

When David Kasten and his fellow squad members saw Iraqi forces approaching their hideout, they called their higher command and got no response.

Kasten knew they had to make a run for it.

Two days prior, his team was tasked to provide surveillance of potential Iraqi Army movements before the coalition ground force invasion in the war we know as Desert Storm. It began Jan. 16, 1991.

His unit, Company F, 51st Infantry Regiment, Long Range Surveillance, was working with the 511th Military Intelligence Battalion and under the operational control of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade. They found themselves forward of other friendly forces – sitting in a three-foot hole in the Iraqi desert. That’s when they spotted two Soviet-era eight-wheeled armored vehicles, known as BTR-60s.

“The more activity we saw, the more we reported and transmitted. No reply,” Kasten explained. "The more (the Iraqis) did, the more we reported. They kept getting closer."

The threat was imminent. Kasten knew their position was compromised. They detonated Claymore anti-personnel mines and made a tactical retreat. For three days, they moved through the desert until they reached their extraction point.

During Desert Storm, Kasten wore the 207th unit patch on his left shoulder. Now, he wears it on his right.

Back then, the 207th sent their Soldiers to Saudi Arabia as a part of the VII Corps. Brigade Soldiers conducted counterintelligence operations, interrogations, and analyzed information to offer insights into the Iraqi troop disposition, morale, and equipment.

Few Desert Storm stories from the brigade were told because intelligence Soldiers –
due to the nature of their profession – are guarded with information. Often, their efforts remain unheard and unrecognized.

Kasten, now a colonel, serves as commander of the 2500th Digital Liason Detachment a U.S. Army Reserve unit in Vicenza, Italy, shared his Desert Storm story to commemorate the anniversary of the battle, that liberated Kuwait and drove back Iraqi forces.

While 33 years have passed, Kasten remembers it like yesterday. He proudly wears the 207th combat patch and hopes to share his wisdom with the current Lightning Soldiers.

“The 207th has a distinguished history, so be proud of this and your time in the unit. Learn all that you can while in the unit and master your craft,” Kasten said. “If you happen to have a desire to contribute more, then seek out greater opportunities in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence community. You won't be disappointed."