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Southwest Asia War (Gulf War) Aerial Victory Credits
The United States Air Force awarded a campaign streamer for the "Liberation and Defense of Kuwait" to its units participating in the Persian Gulf War. The streamer covered the period from January 17 through April 11, 1991, the chronological limits of Desert Storm.
On March 25, 1991, the USCENTAF Deputy Commander for Operations Aircraft Engagement Review Board drafted a list of American flyers who earned aerial victory credits during the war. Two days later, on March 27, HQ USCCAF issued special order (SO) GA-1 to award the credits officially. This order was not completely accurate. On September 6, 1995, HQ USCCAF issued SO# GA-32, which corrected the mistakes of the previous order. On the same day, HQ USCCAF also issued SO# GA-33, which added aerial victory credits for flyers not covered by the first order. That order was based on a COMUSCENTAF message dated May 30, 1991, subject: Confirmation of USAF Operations Desert Storm Air-to-Air Kills. The three orders together are the sources for all but one of the Persian Gulf War aerial victory credits list given here.
During an American-led air offensive against Iraq in January 1991 to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions for the liberation of Kuwait, the Iraqi Air Force rarely responded with fighters. Iraq's leaders depended more on antiaircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles to intercept the Allied aircraft, probably realizing that their air force suffered technological if not numerical inferiority in comparison to the coalition air forces. Iraq might have also been saving its airplanes for a coalition ground invasion of Kuwait that it expected in the near future. The USAF destroyed more Iraqi aircraft on the ground than in the air. When Iraqi hardened hangers proved unable to protect the aircraft inside, large numbers of Iraqi pilots then flew their airplanes to Iran to escape destruction on the ground. American pilots destroyed 39 Iraqi aircraft in the air during the Gulf War, 35 with F-15s and two each with F-16s and A-10s.
After the conclusion of Desert Storm, American aircraft continued to patrol areas along the borders of Iraq to enforce United Nations sanctioned no-fly zones for the protection of Kurds in the north and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the south. On December 27, 1992, Lt Col Gary L. North, flying an F-16D, shot down a MIG-25. His victory was confirmed by USCCAF special order GA-1, 1 May 1993. On January 17, 1993, Lt Craig D. Stevenson, flying an F-16C, shot down a MIG-23 that strayed over the no-fly zone in northern Iraq. This victory was confirmed by Department of the Air Force special order GB-386 dated 16 July 1993. Southwest Asia campaigns ended on 30 November 1995.