On February 28, 1991, an XM93 Fox Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (commonly called the Fox vehicle or the Fox) inspected an ammunition supply point located approximately eight miles west of Kuwait International Airport. Equipped with an MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer to analyze samples for chemical warfare agents, the Fox vehicle provided Army and Marine units with a sophisticated detection capability. While inspecting the ammunition supply point, one Fox commander, Gunnery Sergeant George Grass, reported that his MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer detected three chemical warfare agents within 100 meters of each other. Gunnery Sergeant Grass gave his MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer's tapes (paper printouts of the detections) to the Task Force Ripper nuclear, biological, and chemical officer. Reports of these detections traveled up the chain of command, through the 1st Marine Division to the United States Central Command. In response, an explosive ordnance disposal team arrived the next day, March 1, and thoroughly inspected the ammunition supply point. The team did not find any chemical weapons or evidence of chemical warfare agents. In addition, no one who entered the ammunition supply point reported any symptoms of chemical warfare agent exposure. Word that the ammunition supply point did not contain chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents traveled up the chain of command, through the 1st Marine Division to the United States Central Command, whose nuclear, biological, and chemical desk logs documented this information.
After the war, Kuwait's government contracted ordnance-clearing services to rid the country of munitions left by Iraq's occupying army. Teams of explosive ordnance experts dismantled the ammunition supply point during cleanup operations and found no chemical weapons or chemical warfare agents.
We assess it is unlikely that chemical weapons were stored in the ammunition supply point. Our assessment is based on an examination of the available evidence related to these events, interviews of key Marines and civilian personnel involved, and information from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq and the US intelligence community that they found no evidence that Iraq moved chemical warfare agents or chemical weapons into Kuwait. The MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer alerts most probably were caused by contaminants from the battlefield, the orchard, and/or a nearby industrial facility.
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