Skip to main content

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

U.S. Demolition Operation at The Khamisiyah Ammunition Storage Point, Follow-Up Report: Dec. 5, 2000

Many veterans of the Gulf War have expressed concern that their unexplained illnesses may result 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 for Gulf War Illnesses assumed responsibility for these investigations on Nov. 12, 1996, and has continued to investigate reports of chemical warfare agent incidents.

To inform the public about the progress of these efforts, the DOD is publishing on the Internet and elsewhere accounts that may contribute to the discussion of possible causes of unexplained illnesses among Gulf War veterans, along with documentary evidence or personal testimony used in compiling the accounts. The narrative that follows is an update to the first such account regarding the events at Khamisiyah.

 

I. Methodology

Read Methodology

 

II. Summary

The story of Khamisiyah has three parts: United States military operations (including demolitions) at Khamisiyah; United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) inspections of Khamisiyah, which brought to light the presence of chemical weapons at various locations on and around the site; and The US government response to mounting indications that US soldiers may have destroyed chemical munitions at Khamisiyah—the details of what the Department of Defense knew, when it knew them, and the actions it has taken.

A. United States Military Operations at Khamisiyah

 

B. United Nations Special Commission on Iraq Inspections at Khamisiyah

 

C. The United States Government Response Regarding Illnesses of Gulf War Veterans

 

III. Narrative

This narrative, like the first report, is a chronological description of  the destruction of enemy munitions by US soldiers at Khamisiyah in March and April 1991, UNSCOM inspections, and the US government response to concerns of veterans with undiagnosed illnesses. This version added pre-Desert Shield activities and expanded the government's response into major sections.  This version first provides some background information and, then, relates the Khamisiyah story in four general time periods (Figure 3). The Pre-Desert Shield period covers a general history of Khamisiyah beginning in May 1976 through August 1990 which was not in the first report. The Desert Shield/Desert Storm Period continues in August 1990 and extends into February 1991 and describes the military events conducted in the vicinity of Khamisiyah. The third time period, late February, March, and April 1991, covers, in detail, the demolition activities at Khamisiyah. The narrative concludes with a description of US government actions from May 1991 through March 2000 in response to the revelations of demolition of chemical munitions at Khamisiyah.

A. Background

 

B. Pre-Desert Shield Period: May 1976 - August 1990

 

C. Desert Shield/Desert Storm Period: August 1990-February 1991

 

D. Demolition Operations: March - April 1991

 

E. United Nations Special Commission on Iraq Inspections: 1991-1992

 

F. Heightened Government Interest and Congressional Action: 1993-1994

 

G. Intensive United States Government Efforts Commenced: 1995

 

H. Department of Defense Announced Possible Chemical Weapons at Khamisiyah: January - September 1996

 

I. Determining Possible Troop Exposure: October 1996 - December 1997

 

J. Remodeling Effort: January 1998 - March 2000

 

IV. Analysis

Analysis:

 

V. Assessment

Assessment:

 

VI. Lessons Learned

We have made several key observations during the three-year investigation into US demolition operations at Khamisiyah. We drew these observations from thoroughly reviewing thousands of pages of Gulf War documents and interviews with demolition participants, policy makers, and commanders at all levels. These observations supplement the lessons learned published by the Director of Central Intelligence’s Persian Gulf War Illnesses Task Force in the areas of intelligence-military cooperation and communication, analytical methodology and resources, and information management. [222] Additionally, these observations are intended to highlight Gulf War activities that DoD should ensure are properly addressed. These observations represent solely our own opinions and positions.

A. Limited Resources for Assigned Mission

 

B. Reporting on Iraqi Chemical Warfare Agent Munition Markings

 

C. Monitoring and Analyzing Post-War Events

 

D. Chemical Weapon and Chemical Warfare Agent Detection Equipment

 

Tab A: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and 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 and Abbreviations

 

Glossary

 

Tab B: Units Involved

The following identifies those units of the XVIII Airborne Corps and VII Corps which have been identified by investigators as being participants during the demolition operations at Khamisiyah:

Units Involved

 

Tab C: Bibliography

Bibliography