This narrative reports the events and investigation surrounding the reported detection of a chemical agent in Camp Monterey, Kuwait. The Camp Monterey detection was investigated based on information provided by a contractor employee responsible for maintaining the mobile mass spectrometry chemical analysis equipment on Fox reconnaissance vehicles under US Central Commands control during Operations Desert Shield/Storm.
On September 16, 1991, two Fox reconnaissance vehicles were called in response to two soldiers becoming sick after spilling the contents of a small metal can at Camp Monterey, Kuwait. The detection equipment in the Fox reconnaissance vehicles sounded alarms for the possible presence of Sarin (GB), a nerve agent. Both Fox reconnaissance vehicles then performed complete spectrum analyses, and both vehicles identified the compound in question as o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), a riot control agent. Later, copies of tape print-outs of both readings were submitted to the Persian Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Investigation Team (PGIIT). In order to obtain conclusive and objective analyses of the tapes, the PGIIT forwarded them to three expert laboratories: the Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), Bruker Analytical Systems, Inc., and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for independent analyses. All three reviews confirmed that the Fox spectra readings detected the presence of CS, not Sarin. The reviews also explained why the initial Sarin alarms were consistent with the design of the chemical detection system in Fox reconnaissance vehicles. Additionally, one of the Fox reconnaissance vehicle operators reported that cans moved from the detection site contained a white powder, which is consistent with the physical properties of CS and not consistent with those of Sarin (which is a colorless liquid or vapor).
nerve agent present; although, there was CS - a riot control agent - present.