Operations officers gathering to fill gaps

in troop locations around Khamisiyah

WASHINGTON, April 24, 1997 (GulfLINK) — In a few days, a group of Desert Storm operations officers will gather near Washington in an effort to pin down just where all their units were located when chemical munitions were blown up at Iraq’s Khamisiyah ammunition storage site in early March 1991.

Army COL Larry Cereghino is overseeing a study to better determine unit locations in the Gulf. The Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses (OSAGWI) is trying to determine which U.S. troops were near Khamisiyah during the demolitions. For example, it has already notified about 20,000 individuals whose units were reportedly within fifty kilometers of Khamisiyah in early March 1991. COL Cereghino has been identifying the March 10th locations of units assigned to the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO) and placing them on a map.

Cereghino said there are "gaps" in the geographical analysis. "We can’t pinpoint the March 10th locations of 35 percent of the people who were in the KTO that day."

Now Cereghino is hoping to plug that hole. On April 28th, about 30 of the operations officers from the units assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps during the Gulf War will assemble in Washington where they will review stacks of their documents from the war. "They have been assigned here for as long as it takes to go over the records and try to ascertain the locations of as many units as possible," Cereghino said.

In succeeding months, the operations officers from other corps will be called in to go through the same exercise.