February 27, This day during the Gulf War

February 27, 1991 – The Battle for Jalibah Airfield took place when the U.S. 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division attacked the heavily defended Jalibah Southeast Air Base military airfield in Iraq on February 27, 1991, during the Gulf War. Satellite and aircraft reconnaissance indicated the presence of 20 enemy tanks and more than 1,000 dug-in Iraqi soldiers at the airfield, 80 miles east of Basra. At 6 a.m. the morning of 27 February, following an intensive artillery barrage, about 200 vehicles of the 1st Brigade, under the command of General Paul J. Kern, charged into the airfield and secured it after four hours of fighting. According to 2nd Lieutenant Neal Creighton, Iraqi soldiers “tried to hide in shallow bunkers and some tried to surrender. Most that moved were quickly cut down under a swath of machine gun fire. The burning helicopters, jets and dead soldiers seemed almost unreal. … My soldiers were alive. It was the happiest moment of my life.” Major David S. Pierson, who served as a task-force intelligence captain in the 1st Brigade, said he eventually felt “guilty that we had slaughtered them so; guilty that we had performed so well and they so poorly; guilty that we were running up the score. … They were like children fleeing before us, unorganized, scared, wishing it all would end. We continued to pour it on.” Only one U.S. soldier was wounded by enemy fire during the battle. In the confusion, however, three U.S. M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment were accidentally hit with depleted uranium rounds allegedly fired by the tanks of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment. This friendly fire incident resulted in the 10 additional American casualties: two deaths and eight injuries.

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