Letter to the Editor — Remembering the First Gulf War 30 years on

Monday, February 22 2021

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

Dear Editor

Australia has a proud military history that spans more than a century and on 28 February we will commemorate 30 years since the official end of one of our more recent conflicts, the First Gulf War.

Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the international community responded quickly, with the United Nation’s Security Council imposing sanctions on Iraq, giving it until 15 January 1991 to withdraw from Kuwait.

When this date passed, the combat phase known as ‘Operation Desert Storm’ began, which lasted until 28 February 1991 when coalition victory was declared.

Australia deployed more than 1,800 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and the Royal Australian Air Force to the Gulf from August 1990 to September 1991.

Our ADF personnel provided escort and logistics support during combat operations and continued working after the ceasefire in February of 1991, as Australians remained in the region to assist with humanitarian efforts. The war also saw the first RAN women serve in combat-related roles in warlike service as part of the crew on the replenishment ship HMAS Westralia.

Our commitment demonstrated that Australia was able to make an effective international contribution to a distant conflict at short notice.

All Australians were fortunate enough to return home, however the same could not be said for our coalition partners who suffered losses.

As we approach the 30th anniversary, I encourage all Australians to remember those who served and thank them for their service, to reflect on our nation’s efforts, and to learn more about this conflict in our military history.

Lest we forget.

Darren Chester

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

Media contacts

Rachel Tharratt: 02 6277 7820

DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au