Operational Records Overview
Operational records displayed on GulfLINK include
those documents created or received by US military units in the
course of their planning and conduct of Operations DESERT SHIELD
and DESERT STORM which could help shed light on1990-1991 Persian Gulf War
veterans� illnesses. We call these health-related documents. Each
of the four military services as well as US Central Command (CENTCOM)
and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has provided health-related documents
from its holdings. Pertinent intelligence records are provided elsewhere
in GulfLINK by the producing intelligence agencies. In cases where
only part of a document may be considered to be health-related,
we have posted the entire document. Where one discrete chapter,
annex, or section of a larger document is health-related, we have
posted only that section. In each case we have attempted to provide
health-related information within the context of the overall document.
Non-Operational Information in Operational Documents
Many operational documents contain classified or sensitive
information provided by intelligence agencies, foreign governments,
or other organizations outside the Department of Defense. Operational
records declassifiers must obtain approval to release such information
from the organization which generated it. To speed the release of
pertinent information, we have referred only health-related information
to other organizations for their review. We have released or withheld
that information based on their determinations and applied the appropriate
exemption codes. We have withheld non-health-related information
generated by other organizations and applied no exemption codes.
We have also withheld personal information in accordance with Privacy
US CENTCOM and JCS Records
JCS records posted on GulfLINK include situation updates
and messages. CENTCOM records include briefings, planning documents,
and messages similar in format to materials submitted by subordinate
headquarters. Both collections address issues at a joint level rather
than the single service focus of the other materials displayed on
Most of the records maintained by the deployed units
consist of daily logs and supporting message files from the various
unit staff and headquarters elements. The commands recorded incoming
and outgoing message traffic in those logs, as well as significant
events reported to that headquarters. The corps or division operations
sections (G3) maintained separate logs in the Forward, Main, and
Rear Command Posts. Other staff sections such as Personnel (G1),
Logistics (G4), and Chemical/NBC may also have kept separate logs.
We have included supporting health-related situation reports, spot
reports, and messages when available. And some units simply kept
better records than others, while some units kept no permanent records
The operational records also include a wide variety
of planning documents from the units involved. Those are primarily
Operations Plans and Orders for the various phases of Operation
DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM--deployment, training, initiation of
hostilities, ground offensive, and redeployment. Most units also
generated after action reports, formal or informal, which we have
included in this collection when appropriate. U.S. Army units submitted
reports of lessons learned to The Center for Army Lessons Learned
(CALL) using a formatted report (JULLS-Joint Universal Lessons Learned
All military units require staff sections routinely
to submit status reports to higher headquarters. S-1/G-1 sections
submitted daily and weekly personnel status reports. The operations
sections (S-3/G-3) submitted a number of reports relating to the
operational status of equipment, training, and readiness. S-4/G-4
sections also submitted a number of reports related to equipment
availability, readiness and sustainment. In many cases, unit commanders
submitted a daily or weekly unit status or situation report summarizing
information across the entire unit.
Finally, many of the units submitted collections of
documents best described as functional files. Those files contain
a wide range of messages, information papers, and reference material
relating to particular subjects of interest.
The U.S. Navy 1990-1991 Gulf War Collection contains health-related
operational records from the diverse technical components of modern
naval warfare. Records from this period consist of: Operating Plans,
Command Histories, Message Traffic and General Operational Reports
such as Situation Reports, Operational Summaries, After Action Reports,
Mission Reports, and Patrol and Reconnaissance Reports.
Headquarters level staffs included: Commander, U.S.
Naval Forces Central Command, Commander Seventh Fleet, Cruiser-Destroyer
Groups, and Amphibious and Destroyer Squadrons. Other units consisted
of ships, aircraft squadrons, Seabee construction forces, and various
smaller units. Also daily situation reports were prepared at the
Chief of Naval Operations level.
Other miscellaneous records include: Watch Logs
Air Force Records
The U.S. Air Force 1990-1991 Gulf War collection includes Battle
Damage Assessment reports that contain pilot and imagery assessment
of target damage; medical documentation including reports, briefings,
reviews and summaries; commander and unit situation reports; unit
histories and contingency historical reports; point papers; policy
messages; operational advisories; chemical warfare defense equipment
status reports; duty logs; and personnel movement reports (Palace
Blitz) containing information concerning deployment of specific
individuals, units and equipment.
Marine Corps Records
The U.S. Marine Corps 1990-1991 Gulf War Collection contains health-related
operational records from this multi-faceted elite fighting force.
Some are recurring reports, which cover a finite period of time,
while others are submitted as events transpire, and at the conclusion
of an operation.
Operational records from this period include: log
books, situation reports, operational orders, frag orders, misc.
message traffic, and command chronologies, etc. The command chronologies
provide an excellent record of a unit's operations during a specific
period, providing tables of organization, a detailed narrative,
and a sequential timeline of significant events.
Otherwise, the records of the U.S. Marine Corps resemble
those of similar U.S. Army units, and the records of the air wings
approximate those submitted by corresponding U.S. Air Force and U.S.
Navy air wings.
How to Use the Collection
Many documents present raw information not yet verified,
analyzed, or corroborated. Often spot reports submitted to a unit
headquarters and recorded in the log were later determined to be
false or misleading. Verification, correction, or instructions to
disregard may not have been entered into the log or may appear in
other parts of the collection. Also, some duty logs contain exercise
message traffic that is not clearly labeled as such. We have tried
to identify such messages with the annotation �Exercise� entered
onto the attached textual index. Researchers must take care not
to accept individual entries at face value, but rather develop corroborating
evidence from the overall body of records.
Quality of Health-Related Records Collection
Most of the operational documents appearing on GulfLINK
were scanned from paper copies. Where available, we have scanned
the original copy. Some of those originals are torn, faded, or printed
on semi-transparent paper that produces a poor quality image when
scanned. In other cases only a photocopy, sometimes of poor quality,
was available for scanning. In all cases we have reproduced the
best copy readily available. Due to our use of image enhancement
hardware and software most images are actually of better quality
and are more readable than the original papers from which they were
We sent good quality typeset documents through an
optical character recognition (OCR) process to create a searchable
text file. The resultant text files allow researchers to search
or edit the text. While some lesser quality OCR texts may appear
to be gibberish, the �fuzzy logic� employed by many search engines
will still identify useful words or character strings within the
document. Veterans and researchers can then select the image to
view the document in its original format.
We did not OCR handwritten documents or those typeset
documents that are not clearly legible. Those documents can be viewed
as images. The Army, Navy, and Marines manually indexed these non-OCRed
documents according to a list of health-related keywords. Those
indexes may also respond to searches based upon unit identification,
folder headings, and document subject lines as entered on the accompanying
index field. The Air Force initially retyped all documents which
would not OCR. However, due to manpower and time constraints they
subsequently limited retyping to only health-related sections of
poor quality/non-OCRable documents. They did not correct original
misspellings or typographical errors.
Cross Reference Index
We have provided a cross
reference index of associated terms appearing in our records