Description of the ASP

The ASP GySgt Grass was sent to inspect was located outside the ring road around Kuwait City in an orchard or tree farm, southwest of Kuwait International Airport. (Figures 4 and 5)

Figure 4. Location of ASP

Figure 5. Location of ASP[4]

Several reports of an industrial area across the road were gathered from interviews.[5] Elements of the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marines (1/5) were camped around the area. GySgt Grass’s journal entry placed the ASP at map grid coordinates QT 766395,[6] but message traffic and log entries from February 28th placed it at QT 75393910. The driver of Grass’s Fox vehicle believes the disparity between the two map grid coordinates is the result of inherent inaccuracies in the Vehicle Orientation System used by the Fox vehicle during the Gulf War.[7]

The munitions stored in the ASP included small arms ammunition and artillery rounds. Visual inspections conducted by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel and Marines from the 1/5 determined the munitions were primarily manufactured in the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The writing on the sides of the ammunition boxes indicated some of these munitions may have entered Iraq through Jordan.[8] There are also conflicting reports of munitions manufactured in Holland and the United States.[9] Despite these reports, members of the EOD team have stated: "There is NO CHANCE that we missed U.S. ordnance or forgot seeing it. As for Dutch ordnance, that also would be very hard to forget seeing, as it would be quite a rare find."[10] (emphasis in original)

According to GySgt Grass, the ASP was divided into two sections: a larger area with hundreds of bunkers and a smaller area located across the road. The chemical agent alarms occurred in the smaller area. This area was bermed all around and there was a line of trees impeding the view of the main road. A small brick building and a dug-in Winnebago, or motor home, stood at the entrance of this smaller area. A road circled the inside of the smaller ASP and there were roads between each row of bunkers. (Figure 6) This smaller area was also configured differently than the larger ASP. GySgt Grass describes it this way in his testimony:

Completing the Army Technical Escort course seven months prior to deployment to SWA [Southwest Asia], being a former Ammunition Technician for 6 years and working as the NCOIC [Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge] of the Marine Corps Offensive Chemical Weapons unit, I observed several signs of possible chemical weapons storage. There were fire extinguishers colored in red, blue or green with each grouped in a specific area according to their color....Also this particular storage area had several ... open top 55 gallon drums that were painted all blue, red and blue, olive drab green and white and green. Each set of drums were grouped together according to its color and whether the color of the drum was solid or striped. No other area ... that my Fox vehicle checked was designed and set up like that area.[11]

GySgt Grass’s journal entry from the time ("What do blue, red & green fire exting[uishers] mean?"[12] ) indicates he was unsure of the meaning of this configuration while in the ASP. However, the leader of the EOD team inspecting the ASP the following day (who was also trained to look for visual cues indicating chemical weapons storage), does not recall concluding that the area was arranged in a manner indicating chemical weapons’ storage. He remembers the open 55-gallon drums and recalls that they were full of water —"standard for an ASP"—for fire fighting purposes. The EOD team leader also recalls the different colored fire extinguishers, but he does not consider them as evidence of a chemical weapons storage area.

After the war local merchants told stories of Iraqis using their ‘AK-47 Express Card’ to retrieve whatever the military needed. When stocking their field ASPs, the Iraqis took whatever fire extinguishers were available without regard to color.[13]

Figure 6. Diagram of Small ASP[14]


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