Monday, July 12, 2010

Never Before Seen Photos of Khamisiyah Demolition

Gulf War veteran Jack Morgan served with the 82nd Airborne during the War

Written by Anthony Hardie

( – Nearly 20 years after the war, former Army military policeman Jack Morgan, of the Tampa Bay, Fla. area, has released previously unpublished photos of the Khamisiyah, Iraq demolition of conventional and chemical munitions just after the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

Morgan says these pictures are from the 10th and 11th of March 1991.

“We were to the east of the main body of the 37th engineers closing off this approach to the demo area.  The last picture is on the 11th and speaks for itself,” he said.

Morgan, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division  as a member of the 810th Military Police Company in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and was at Khamisiyah, Iraq providing security for the 37th Engineers when they “blew the dump.”

For the first several years following the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon adamantly denied that Iraqi chemical munitions had even been deployed by the Iraqi military during the military buildup leading to the war. 

However, through the work of Gulf War veterans, including through use of the Freedom of Information Act, the public later learned that the exploded munitions at Khamisiyah had included sarin and cyclosarin nerve agents and probably also included mustard gas, a vesicant known to cause cause lifelong lung, eye, and skin problems, sometimes severe.   

Sarin and cyclosarin have been shown in more recent years to cause long-term, subtle brain damage, even at levels lower than those known to cause recognizable immediate effects.

Gulf War veterans also learned, again primarily through the Freedom of Information Act, that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had known for years that chemical munitions were stored at the Khamisiyah depot and had informed the Pentagon of this intelligence.  However, the information never reached the Gulf War ground troops at or near Khamisiyah, leaving a scramble of finger pointing and buck shifting inside the federal government with at least tens of thousands of troops exposed.

Finally caving to overwhelming public pressure, the U.S. Department of Defense in  sent letters in July 1997 to veterans who the Pentagon estimated may have been exposed to the three-day plume and resultant fallout of low levels of Iraqi chemical warfare agents.  Predictably, the DoD letters denied any known health effects and downplayed any risks associated with the exposures. 

At the same time, the Pentagon consistently asserted that the growing health issues among Gulf War veterans was attributable solely to “stress.”

Through elaborate DoD modeling, the number of potentially exposed veterans later grew to 100,000, nearly one-fifth of Gulf War troops serving on the ground.

At the urging of Gulf War veterans, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the Pentagon’s methodology for modeling the plume and found it to be entirely unreliable, leaving the actual number and location of Gulf War troops exposed to the Khamisiyah plume unknown.

Demolitions of other Iraqi chemical warfare agent production and storage facilities were key targets during the Gulf War’s nearly six-week air campaign, with innumerable toxins blasted up into the prevailing winds that led directly over the Coalition troops massed along the northern Saudi Arabian border with Iraq and Kuwait.

Today, of the 696,842 veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, the Institute of Medicine estimates that 250,000 – more than one third – continue to suffer from chronic multi-symptom illness.  Chemical warfare agents, nerve agent protective pills (NAPPs), military strength pesticides, and other hazards are believed to be linked to these veterans’ enduring disabilities from the short, intense war.



PHOTO 1:  Demolition of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah munitions depot, March 10, 1991.  -Previously unpublished photo courtesy of Jack Morgan. 



PHOTO 2:  Demolition of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah munitions depot, March 1991.  -Previously unpublished photo courtesy of Jack Morgan. 



PHOTO : 3 Demolition of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah munitions depot, March 11, 1991.  -Previously unpublished photo courtesy of Jack Morgan.  Used with permission.



PHOTO:  Pre-demolition photo of Khamisiyah ammunition storage area showing Bunker 73 and pit area.  Courtesy U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.


PHOTO:  An Air Force Photo Of Khamisiyah Weapons Storage Complex
Note: Each Bunker Is The Size Of A Football Field.




Tracy Trobaugh said...

Hey Jack, I was in the 810th too, during the Gulf "Tracy Burgett" Feel free to contact me



Jeffrey Ford said...

The top two pictures are from March 4th, not march 10th

John Phillips said...

Photo #3 is not Khamisayah, it's Talil Airbase about 30 miles North.

Amara Broin said...

I was there on a 36th medevac crew. I have one or two very close up origional photos of the Khamisiyah Demolition.

David carter said...

My brother CWO-2 Herbert Carter passed away tonight from a brain tumor I believe created from exposure to a chemical agent from this incident. Does anyone know about other incidents

David carter said...

My brother passed away this evening from complications of a brain tumor I believe was the result of exposer to this incident. Has any else heard of this issue/

Matthew Mueller said...

Amara Broin

I was part of the 79th MP Co. who provided overwatch during the demolition. would it be possible for you to email me those two pictures to compare with my photo's ? Thanks. Matthew Mueller - email:

Matthew Mueller said...

Amara Broin,

I was attached to the 79th MP Co. who provided over watch during the demolition, could you please email me your 2 close up photo's, Currently in a battle with VA over exposure. Thanks, Matthew Mueller email:

Deborah Tilton said...

I would like to know more. Three people including myself had a rash. Mine was on my arms. There was a white fog like a cloud that settled on our encampment for about three days. We were part of 7th corps and we're on the neutral zone as part of the convoy as we went into Iraq.

Scott Wolf said...

The Explosion I saw was like an "A"bomb! Big Ring on the top
Attached to 2nd Armored 17th Engineer Bat. And still messed up.I have no idea where we were at the Big Boom!?

Dallas Dees said...

I was in A Co 37th Eng Bn, I was there from August 1990 to April 1991. I have probably the closest pics from inside bunkers and during detonation.

Arne Simonsen said...

I was attached to the 37th Eng Bn and have pics of the inside of bunkers as well as the detonations from a short distance.

Arne Simonsen said...

I was attached to the 37th Eng Bn for the same duration, also have pics from inside the bunkers as well as the detonations from a short distance.

Unknown said...

Anyone willing to send pictures to me? I would greatly appreciate it! I was with 156TH Maintenance company supporting an infantry unit. We thought we were being hit when the detonated was like a mushroom cloud and we jumped in our did look like an atomic bomb....I am fighting breast and lymph node cancer and all of my Dr's believe it is due to my email is you to all and good health

Unknown said...

I was in the OH-58 Helicopter flying near the explosion about 1000 feet. I was flying a Engineer Major and a SFC locating stockpiles of ammo, landing, and marking the location with a GPS. They were picking the ammo up and taking to one I know where. We were about one mile South/Southwest of the exploision. It scared the crap out of me. I was way too close to the blast to be safe. As the cloud grew we flew west along the edge of the cloud...not a good idea as I look back on it, but a spectacular site. The SFC said he was sick and I had to land and he vomited. I wrote my wife about the incident and did not hear anything else about the nerve gas since I left the sandbox and conducted a joint tour with the US Navy in San Diego on the USS Tripoli flying CH-46 Seaknight Helos for the next 3 years. I have multi systoms and the VA keeps blowing me off. If you have any further info, pls contact me at Thanks. Mark (Sorry for all you guys that were hurt after exposure and your losses...we will eventully get VA to own up to their obligations.

Joel Young said...

My name is joel young and i served with A btry 1/319th AFAR we were there to and i also have a few photos i having hell with my body and mind feel like there falling apart and All the VA does is hand me more and more drugs while at the same time will not give me more than 60% for 10 years on jump status that completely screwed my body up not to mention the constant unexplained pain i have through out my whole body this is like some jacobs ladder shit if any one can help like i said i have more photos from where we were email me at thanks guys i though it was just me and i was loosing it

Unknown said...

I got one of the letters they sent you. So far, I have survived two brain tumors.

Unknown said...

I was there with the 68th Chemical Company,1st Cavalry Division. I remember the plumes like an atomic bomb. I remember our M-8 chemical alarms going off. I was a 54B chemical operations specialist. Since then I've had many medical issues. No help from the VA. We also found chemicals in bunkers as we moved from the highway of death. A Polish decon unit that was attached to our unit was hit with chemicals. I also saw on 60 Minutes one of our LTs back in the 90's describing what happened and how it affected his physical health. He was with the 11th chem and were attached to us. We were all in 7th Corp. Something needs to be done by the VA.

Eric Kalashnikov said...

See 37th Engineers link, , “ATW!” Hey Jack, Eric Kalashnikov says hi...See 2nd plt vehicles in foreground at 1:45 to 2:00 minutes in the video going balls out going from Right to left..between the 37 Engineers and ASP.

Eric Kalashnikov said...

Hey Jack, it’s Eric . Please review link:

Please note on video; between 1:45 and 2:00 minutes, two, second platoon vehicles going balls out between the 37th Engineers and the ASP...ask Laz about that day.....”ATW!”...more evidence against the VA and their cheap ass shenanigans.