Gulf War Diary: Text and photos

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

Not an official U.S. Army page

432nd Civil Affairs Company, 1990-1991

How Did I Get Into This?

This story actually begins in 1970, when I was drafted. After basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington and advanced training at Sandia Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was stationed in Turkey, not far from Istanbul. Because of the drawdown at the end of the Vietnam War, I was released from active duty five months early. It took the Army twenty years, but they got their five months back, with interest. (Then in Bosnia they started eating into my time, but that's another story.)

When I got out, I swore I was through with military "mickey mouse" forever. But as time went by, I realized a few things:

After mulling the idea over for a couple of years, I joined the Army Reserve in 1982. I was coming up on age 35, the cut-off for enlistment, and decided to give it a try. I joined the 432nd Civil Affairs Company (now Battalion) and have been a member ever since. I was too old when I re-entered service to get an officer commission, so I becamw an NCO (retired rank Master Sergeant). Civil Affairs requires a generalist approach, one well-suited to my temperament. My duties in the unit have little to do with my professional training as a geologist, although my map-reading skills are useful. Instead, I mostly assist with language training (languages are another of my interests). I consider myself fortunate to belong to a unit close to my home that fits my interests and intellectual style so well.

Diary and photo Journal

I have merged my diary and photo journal into a single account.

Other Items

What Is Civil Affairs?

Civil Affairs is a small military branch that even most military people know little about until they suddenly find that they need it. It deals with any civilian issues that impact military operations. The single most important role of civil affairs is keeping civilian problems from interfering with military operations. It also serves to help the U.S. military meet its moral and legal obligations under international law. During World War II, Civil Affairs (or Military Government as it was then called), actually ran the governments in occupied areas. In Kuwait, it monitored relief operations, in Kurdistan, it ran refugee camps, and in Bosnia, it was the interface between the U.S. military presence and civilians.

Civil Affairs is hard to train for. It requires a generalist approach, a wide-ranging knowledge base, and a flexible approach to solving problems rather than any specific skills. There are 32 Civil Affairs Battalions across the U.S. with about 3500 total personnel.

Return to Professor Dutch's home page
Bosnia Diary 1996
The 432d in Pictures

More information on the 432d in Kuwait (External Link)
From Green Bay to the Persian Gulf -- Updated January 29, 1997
The 432nd Civil Affairs Company in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey and Iraq (Nov'90 to June'91). Includes the official unit history; magazine articles; diaries of 432nd soldiers; letters, photos and more!

Created April 29, 1997; Last Update January 10, 2000

Not an official U.S. Army page