March 15-16, 1991: A Congressman and a Private Museum

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Fri 15 Mar

Another sunny day. We spent the morning taking LTC Ken Bukowski and others to the food sites in Sabah as Salem, Dhaher, Fintas and Riqqa. In the afternoon I mailed assorted things home and studied Arabic for a while. About 1700 we got a vist from Congressman Les Aspin, who is from Wisconsin and also chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

We had a mild thunderstorm in the evening. Today was a major mail day; I got five pieces. Late in the evening it rained heavily.

Congressman Les Aspin Visits

Left to right: Aspin, the commander LTC Jim Christopherson, and CSM Tom Gerlach.

Sat 16 Mar

Another clear day thanks to the rain last night and stiff northerly winds. We visited the food sites in Dhaher, Fintas, Hadiya and Sabahiya with some officers of the Kuwait Task Force. A plan to distribute radios at the food coops was instigated by Psychological Operations to disseminate news. The idea was to hand out radios to people who didn't have any. The plan fell through because the Kuwaitis won't distribute things unless there's enough for everyone. It goes against their cultural concepts of cooperation, and puts the distributors in an uncomfortable position. The same issue complicated food distribution in the early days; the directors at the food sites could not grasp the idea of handing out whatever was on hand and distributing more as it came in. It would take a week or more before we could finally convince Psychological Operations that the distribution scheme would not work.

In the afternoon we visited a private museum. The family that owns it is quite wealthy. They run the English language elementary school in Kuwait, which was thoroughly trashed by the Iraqis. In the basement they have a private museum of Islamic culture and folk art, which they hid from the Iraqis with a false wall. The Iraqis finally got in on February 20 and searched it for weapons. Undoubtedly, if the ground war had not begun a few days later, they would have come back and looted it. Our motor section set up a generator and finally got the lights on in the basement. A few of our people helped remove yet another false wall that concealed the gold collection, which was impressive. One of the most amusing incidents of the occupation was that the woman who owned the house had forgotten to hide the most valuable gold object in the collection. It was right out in plain sight when the Iraqis came through, but they ignored it when she told them it was brass.

Late in the day 17 senators visited the compound, but none were from Wisconsin. In the evening we had a party in the Administration building, with soda, music, and snacks.

Views of Camp Freedom

Taken from the water tower, March 16, 1991. Looking North, east, and southeast respectively.

Back to Work - On Patrol March 15-16, 1991

A Private Museum, March 16, 1991

This home housed a private museum of gold objects, which the owners hid behind a false wall during the occupation.

The American GI in His Native Habitat

Making friends with the local kids. For anyone looking for a safety violation, note that there is no magazine in the weapon.

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Created January 10, 2000; Last Update 11 June 2020

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