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Al Jaber Air Base, Final Report: Sept. 13, 2001

Many veterans of the Gulf War have expressed concern that their unexplained illnesses may have resulted from their experiences in that war. In response to veterans’ concerns, the Department of Defense established a task force in June 1995 to investigate incidents and circumstances relating to possible causes. The Office of the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses assumed responsibility for these investigations on Nov. 12, 1996. Effective April 5, 2001, this office became the Office of the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness, and Military Deployments, with continued responsibility for Gulf War issues.

Case narratives are reports of what we know today about specific events that took place during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm of 1990 and 1991. This particular case narrative focuses on several incidents during the 1st Marine Division’s efforts to capture Al Jaber air base, Kuwait. On Feb. 24 and 25, 1991, Marines near this base were advised several times to don chemical protective equipment due to possible chemical warfare agent presence. We published an interim narrative on Sep. 25, 1997, describing these events. Since then, the Office of the Special Assistant has received no new information that contradicts the material presented, nor have any additional leads developed to change the interim narrative’s assessments. The General Accounting Office and Presidential Special Oversight Board both reviewed the interim narrative and the Presidential Special Oversight Board recommended we republish it as a final report. However, if you believe you have information that may change this case narrative, please call: 1-800-497-6261


I. Methodology

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II. Summary

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III. Narrative

A. Background


B. Al Jaber Before Desert Storm (pre Jan. 16, 1991)


C. Coalition Planning and Actions


D. 1st Marine Division’s Desert Storm Organization


E. Initial Marine Ground Operations (February 24)


F. Five Chemical Alerts (Night of February 24-25)


G. Continued Attempts to Capture Al Jaber (February 25)


H. The 6:00 p.m. Alert (February 25)


I. The Fox Alert (February 25)


J. Cleaning up Al Jaber


K. Analysis of the Incidents


IV. Assessment

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V. Lessons Learned

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Tab A - Acronyms, Abbreviations & Glossary

This tab provides a listing of acronyms and abbreviations found in this report. Additionally, the glossary section provides definitions for selected technical terms that are not found in common usage.

Acronyms & Abbreviations:




Tab B. Units Involved

This list includes only units close to Al Jaber between the evenings of Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, 1991.

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Tab C. Bibliography

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Tab D. Methodology for Investigating Chemical Warfare Incidents

DOD common framework:


Tab E. Chronology Extracts

Most of the units near Al Jaber have recorded these alerts in their unit logs. However, the 3d Tank Battalion did not record the event.

View data:


Tab F. New Information

This narrative was initially published on Sept. 27, 1997. Since then we received no new information contradicting the material presented.

New information since original publication:


End Notes

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023