January 17th, 1991; the day Operation Desert Storm began. Commonly referred to as the Gulf War now-a-days, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm are sometimes used when talking about the war. There are some fine differences between them, since Desert Shield and Desert Storm both go together with the Gulf War term.
Desert Shield was the preparation phase (as I will call it), which took place during August 2nd 1990 until January 17th 1991. Desert Storm (combat phase) began on January 17th 1991 and lasted until February 28th 1991. US led Coalition forces from 35 nations took part in the operations, which were triggered by Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait on August 2nd 1990. For more about the history and other important things behind the history of the conflict, I recommend you consult history books and internet searches, as a detailed history lesson is outside the scope of this post.
What I would instead want to talk about is the Delta Force operations of that time and especially the kit that they used. Since we are Airsofters/re-enactors/impressionists or something in between, we are interested in the kit of the specific units that operated during that time. My representation of the Delta Force SCUD hunter kit is a work in progress, which is moving slowly for a few reasons. First, while the cool factor is high, we do not have desert environments in Finland. This makes this kit a lower priority for me, but I work on it on-and-off while I have the time. I love the look of the kit, however. Second, acquiring some of the pieces that are needed have been quite difficult. Most of the items have been tracked down now, so I felt that doing a post about it is in order. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that there is still work to be done. Without further ado, lets dive right into it!
The beauty of 6 Color Deserts
One of my personal favorites when talking about photos of this specific operation is the one above. It is probably one of the most widespread photos of Delta operators during Desert Storm. In the image we can see a variety of gear, which I will not go through in depth. Instead, I will concentrate on a few specific items that I have used as reference for building my own impression of the kit used.
During Desert Storm, Delta Force was using both the 653 and 723 carbines. The 723 was the new kid in the block, so to speak, but not all were using it. Delta operators had these already in Panama, and we can see Rangers using the same carbine during that operation as well. The Rangers opted for the 727 carbine later on in the early 1990s. In the images of me wearing the kit, I am using the 723 carbine instead of my 653. In the gear layout images, you can see the 653 carbine.
As for the actual gear, lets take a closer look on that. The BDU I am wearing is the classic chocolate chip pattern, or the 6 Color Deserts. They have been slightly modified, with pockets added to the arms and the pocket flaps have velcro on them. This can be seen done during the era, which is interesting. Consider the RAID modded BDUs and the current ACU style cuts. Delta Force was doing this already in late 1980s and early 1990s, before it was commonplace with other units. This is not the only aspect where Delta Force and other Special Operations units were on the forefront of new innovation regarding military gear.
As for the gloves, they are aviator gloves, which I use for just about all my impressions. Love them!
Headgear consists of a classic knitted wool cap, Oakley Razor Blades (early model, not ANSI rated so not safe for Airsoft) and a shemagh (or a keffiyeh) scarf around the neck. According to the reference image I posted, the one operator I got the idea from, is wearing a similar scarf around his neck. Hard to make out, but it looks the part. A friend of mine got this for me from the area, while he was visiting there.
The black shirt the operator is wearing is a mystery to me, but most likely it is some sort of lightweight snivel gear shirt, with long sleeves. Not 100% sure on that. It seems that the operator on the far right in the group image, with his jacket open, is also wearing the same black shirt. He also has some style of green jacket/shirt under his BDU jacket. Interesting things, of which I am not sure who the manufacturer is or what they are.
Some other operators are wearing other style shirts, and one at the top right corner seems to be wearing a ECWCS shirt with a half zipper. Another operator on the left hand side seems to be wearing one as well under his BDU. If anyone has any information on these, drop a comment below!
Boots are US Jungle Boots, but there are other options as well. In the image I posted above, you can see a few different boots being used. Jungle boots, ICW (Intermediate, Cold Weather) boots or Danner Acadia boots (not 100% sure about the last two, but I would use either personally). I am using jungle boots, just because I love them and they are the most correct of what I currently own.
My LBE is the LBV-88, with some slight modifications. I have raised the magazine pouches closest to my armpits a bit higher and removed the snap-straps on the shoulders. The reason for this was to make the LBV look more like the early models that were used in Panama and Desert Storm. Have not found (or looked for that matter) a real-deal one yet. I know that it will surface at some point.
The pouches I am using on the belt attached to the LBV are 1 ALICE M16 ammo pouch, custom made black radio pouch (can be seen used during Eagle Claw and Panama by Delta Force) 2 ALICE canteen pouches with a compass/FA pouch attached to one, a IFAK pouch with insert on the back and one FA pouch on the front. I opted for the black radio pouch instead of a ALICE M16 ammo pouch just because I used this same setup for Panama impressions as well. I already need to remove the pistol ammo pouches from the belt, so shuffling more pouches around is something I do not want to do. I am going with the “could have been” -aspect with it.
Since we are talking about pistols, the reason I am not using a pistol with this kit is the nature of the operation Delta was doing during that time and the fact that my primary is legit or close quarters at my field when using semi. According to my information, the reason Delta was not using sidearms or rarely carried them, was the fact that once the enemy got close enough for pistol range, it was already too late.
That just about covers it for this time. If you have any comments or questions, drop a comment below or at my Facebook page. You can also try Instagram, but I cannot guarantee a fast reply on that platform.