The 1990s began for the US Marine Corps with a total of 196,956 Marines. The total included 176,857 enlisted and 20,099 Officers. The decade ended with 171,154 Marines of which 153,302 were enlisted and 17,852 were Officers.
The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has a WWII Gallery dedicated to the Marines in the South Pacific. This room along with additional USMC memorabilia throughout the museum awakens a sense of honor and pride, as you experience the true heart and soul of these brave warriors.
Operation Desert Storm
In 1990 following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the UN issued a stern warning to Iraq mandating their withdrawal from the area; and if they did not comply, the UN and the US would take the necessary steps to force them out. Iraq did not adhere to the demands of the United Nations and Operation Desert Storm was launched.
During this operation, Marine pilots flew several missions in an effort to destroy Iraq’s air and naval forces and also their air defenses and ballistic missile launchers. On the ground, an estimated 8,000 Marines managed to distract the Iraqi Army in the northern region. The 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions proceeded to break through Iraq’s southern border. While on Iraqi soil, the Marines faced a number of obstacles including minefields, barbed-wire areas, booby traps and fire trenches, while encountering attacks from Iraqi artillery.
With precise air operations, continued amphibious assaults and resourceful land tactics, the US Marine Corps managed one of the most effective assaults in modern day warfare.
African Humanitarian Missions
From 1992-1997, the US Marine Corps was involved in African Humanitarian Missions which required peacekeeping in what was normally a volatile area. Somalia, Rwanda and Zaire were all experiencing warring factions during the 1990s and the US Marine Corps provided them with vital humanitarian aid. As violence escalated in these regions, and humanitarian assistance became vital the Corps headed the way providing relief to a number of affected areas. Occasionally, even on these peacekeeping missions, the Marine Corps would be subjected to enemy fire. The humanitarian efforts of the Corps reaffirmed their status as defenders who are willing to take action even in the face of injustice.
Relief for Bosnia
In 1995, after the Dayton Agreement was signed ending the war in Bosnia, NATO troops were sent into the region. Once again, among the first to arrive providing much needed security was the US Marine Corps.
Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, had collapsed after years of violence and genocide and the troops found other areas in ruin. The Marine Corps took on the task of re-establishing peace in this war-torn country.
Chemical and Biological Response
In 1996, the US Marine Corps organized the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force in response to the growing concern of possible chemical and/or biological threats. Though the organization is relatively young, it already has accumulated an impressive track record for a number of responses. They remain the leaders in assisting the United States in responding to any chemical or biological attack threat.