V. LESSONS LEARNED
A. Fox MM-1 Tapes
In Operation Desert Storm, no procedures were established to collect and archive Fox MM-1 tapes. Unfortunately, the tapes for this incident were destroyed. If they had been available, the investigation would have benefited.
B. Documenting Chemical Warfare Agents Presence
In the Al Jaber chemical warfare agent alerts, the Fox crew responded exactly as they were trained: they alerted fellow Marines to possible contamination in the area and attempted to locate the source. Continuing combat in the area limited this search. The Fox crew took steps to mitigate the effects of possible chemical warfare agent presence. It was not their task to seek confirming evidence of a chemical warfare attack after they had moved through the area. In future conflicts, gathering strategic and operational evidence of an enemys chemical warfare agent use might be as important as taking proper tactical protective measures. The armed forces should establish procedures to send follow-on teams to areas suspected of chemical warfare agent contamination to either verify or disprove rumors of enemy chemical warfare agent use.
C. Organizational and Administrative Record-keeping
Some organizational and administrative records to corroborate interviews were unavailable in this case. Many Marine Corps Gulf War EOD records were routinely destroyed in compliance with Service directives. Instruction effective during the Gulf War dictated destroying most reports after two years. Current policy retains the two-year retention requirement. The Department of Defense should consider requiring maintaining unit operational records from contingency deployments on electronic media for 10 years.
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