Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm were the first true tests of the Army’s Total Force Policy since Vietnam.

This mobilization marked the beginning of the Army Reserve’s transition from a strategic to an operational force. The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait led to the largest call-up of reserve forces since the Korean War.More than 35,000 Army Reserve Soldiers from 626 units helped liberate Kuwait by providing combat support and combat service support. The Army Reserve was among the first to fight and last to leave.

Sacrifice in Service:The 14th Quartermaster Detachment The 14th Quartermaster Detachment, a water purification unit from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, was mobilized in January 1991.

On Feb. 25, 1991,an Iraqi SCUD missile exploded its half-ton warhead inside the Dhahran barracks where the 14th Quartermaster Detachment and other U.S. Soldiers were located.

One hundred twenty-eight Soldiers were killed or wounded; nearly half of those casualties occurred in the 14th Quartermaster Detachment.

This was the greatest combat loss taken by any single Army unit since Vietnam. The 475th Quartermaster Group and the 477th Transportation Company, both Army Reserve units, also suffered casualties in the attack.
Above Right: The SCUD missile attack on the temporary U.S. military barracks at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, resulted in the greatest combat loss taken by any single Army unit since Vietnam.

Army Reserve Gulf War Capabilities

Army Reserve Terminal Transfer Units loaded dozens of ships at various seaports with the equipment and personnel of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 2ndArmored Division, III Corps Artillery and many other Army units deploying to the Gulf.

Army Reserve logistics units played a major role in relocating 230,000Soldiers, 95,000 trucks, and 12,000 tanks and armored vehicles on a 400-mile shift in support of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s battle plan.

The 316th Quartermaster Company, a highly specialized unit based at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego County, distributed 8.4 million gallons of water during the Persian Gulf War. During Desert Storm, Army Reserve Soldiers provided the bulk of water purification and distribution, Civil Affairs support,enemy prisoner-of-war handling, postal work, petroleum handling, military history support, and psychological operations.

Other Army Reserve units served in chemical decontamination,transportation, military police,maintenance and engineer roles.
Above: Two U.S. Soldiers walk past a pile of duffel bags decorated with small American flags following a SCUD missile attack on the U.S. military barracks at Dhahran,Saudi Arabia, Feb. 25, 1991.


The Quartermaster Corps is the U.S. Army’s oldest logistics branch, established in 1775. Currently, 65 percent of all Army Quartermaster Soldiers are in the Army Reserve. The Quartermaster Corps arranges for or provides supplies;materiel management, distribution, procurement and field services to support and sustain Soldiers, units and their equipment in peace and war.

Without such essentials as fuel,water, food and shelter, the Army cannot succeed on the battlefield. Petroleum supply specialists not only deliver fuel that combat units need to maneuver on the battlefield, they are also trained to test the quality of petroleum-based products.