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Shield and Sword: The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf War

By Edward J. Marolda

Shield and Sword

Since the UN coalition victory in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, journalists, generals, and historians have focused on the air blitz against Iraq and General Norman Schwarzkopf's Hail Mary maneuver around the desert flank of the Iraqi army, while the U.S. Navy has received relatively little attention. This book highlights the Navy vital contribution to winning the Gulf War. The work also emphasizes that the U.S. Navy presence and actions in the Persian Gulf in the years before the war helped the Bush administration persuade the Arab nations of the region and American traditional allies to join the international effort against Iraq. Similarly, the navy has been an essential instrument of U.S. foreign policy since the end of Desert Storm. As we can go to press in fall 1998, U.S. naval forces stand ready once again to carry out their political-military mission of compelling Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions against the development of weapons of mass destruction. The work stresses the Navy involvement in joint and multinational operations. Ironically, the U.S. Navy worked long and hard during the Cold War preparing for armageddon at sea against the Soviet navy, a confrontation that navy envisioned fighting virtually alone. Actual operations were quite different. In the wars in Korea and Vietnam and the hostilities in Lebanon, Grenada, the Persian Gulf (1987-1988), and Panama, the navy routinely operated with U.S. ground and air forces and those of its global allies. Since this was also true of the Gulf War. We have elaborated on the Navy interaction with the other U.S. armed services and with the navies of America coalition partners.

Originally published: Wednesday, March 16, 2011; most-recently modified: Wednesday, June 05, 2019