Case Narrative

US Marine Corps Minefield Breaching


Final Report

January 31, 2001


Many veterans of the Gulf War have expressed concern that their unexplained illnesses may result from their experiences in that war. In response to veterans’ concerns, the Department of Defense established a task force in June 1995 to investigate incidents and circumstances relating to possible causes. The Office of the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses assumed responsibility for these investigations on November 12, 1996.  Effective July 26, 2000, this office became the Office of the Special Assitant to the Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness, and Military Deployments, with continued responsibility for Gulf War issues.

Case Narratives are reports of what we know today about certain events of the 1990-1991 Gulf War. This case narrative focuses on US Marine Corps minefield breaching operations. Task Force Ripper in the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment in the 2d Marine Division reported the Fox incidents discussed in this narrative. We originally published the narrative on July 27, 1997, and, prompted by veterans' comments and a US General Accounting Office report, updated it on March 24, 2000. Since that time, we have not received any new information on the material presented, nor have any additional leads developed to change the narrative’s assessments. Additionally, the Presidential Special Oversight Board reviewed the narrative and recommended that we republish it as final. For this reason, this is a final report. However, if you believe you have information that may change this case narrative, please contact my office by calling:


Dale A. Vesser
Acting Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses,
Medical Readiness, and Military Deployements
Department of Defense
2000297-0000001 Ver 3.0



A.  Background
B.  Situation
C.  Iraq’s Chemical Weapons Threat at the Time of the Gulf War
D.  Fox Capabilities
E.  Breaching Details
F.   Operations of the 1st Marine Division
1.  Initial Report
2.  Additional Information
3.  Analysis
4.  Assessment of the Presence of Chemical Warfare Agents in the 1st Marine Division Breaching Lanes
G.   Operations of the 2d Marine Division
1.  Task Organization for Breaching Operations
2.  Breaching Lane Red 1 Chemical Warfare Agent Alert
3.  CAM and M9 Chemical Detection Paper Indications
4.  Analysis of the Breaching Lane Red 1 Chemical Warfare Agent Alert
5.  Possible Sources of a Chemical Warfare Agent in Breaching Lane Red 1
6.  Possible Chemical Warfare Agent Injuries
7.  Assessment of the Presence of Chemical Warfare Agents in Breaching Lane Red 1
A.  Fox MM-1 Tapes
B.  Documenting the Presence of Chemical Warfare Agents
C.  Treatment of Possible Chemical Warfare Injuries
D.   Communications Feedback
TAB A - Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary
TAB B - Units Involved
TAB C - Bibliography
TAB D - Methodology for Chemical Incident Investigation
TAB E - Other Chemical Warfare Issues
A.  Did Another Fox Confirm the Lane Red 1 Alert?
B.  Other 2d Marine Division Fox Operations
C.  Report of Decontamination Operations in the 2d Marine Division
D.  Report of Chemical Warfare Agent Contamination on 2d Marine Division Vehicles
E.  Report of a Possible Chemical Attack
TAB F - Did Iraq Have Chemical Mines?
TAB G - MM-1 Suitability as a Warning Device Using the Air/Hi Method of the Air Monitor Operating Mode
TAB H - General Accounting Office Comments
A.  Finding 1 - Iraq’s Artillery Fire in the First Minefield Breach
B.  Finding 2 - Chemical Agent Detector Paper Indications
C.  Finding 3 - Review of the Fox Vehicle Printout
D.  Finding 4 - Intelligence Evidence Not Included
E.  Finding 5 - Assessment Subject to Question
TAB I - Changes in this Report


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